Funafuti; Or Three Months on a Coral Island: An Unscientific Account of a Scientific Expedition


Funafuti is a coral atoll that is part of Tuvalu, a sovereign nation located in the west-central Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia. This book is an account of a scientific expedition in 1897 to Funafuti, which at the time was part of the British protectorate of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. The author, Janet William Edgeworth David, the wife of Professor T. W. E. David of Sydney University in Australia, accompanied her husband on the expedition. The object of the expedition was to take deep borings of coral reefs in order to advance the state of scientific knowledge about the reefs and their origins, and specifically to test the theories advanced by Charles Darwin in his Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs (1842). David’s book, subtitled An Unscientific Account of a Scientific Expedition, includes many wry remarks on the expedition and its participants. But it also contains detailed information about the atoll and people of Tuvalu, including chapters on King Tupu and his sub-chief, language, law, nursing of the sick, tattoos, food and cooking, clothes and plants, and animals. Also included are nine traditional tales and stories and the texts of 31 songs in Tuvaluan and English.

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John Murray, London

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xiii pages, 318 pages, including frontispiece, illustated plates, map. 22 centimeters

Last updated: September 18, 2015