An Introduction to Polynesian Anthropology
The first expedition into the South Pacific was planned by Pedro Sarmiento, but the new viceroy of Peru, Lopez Garcia de Castro, gave the command to his nephew, Alvaro de Mendaña. Mendaña, with two ships, sailed from Callao on November 19, 1567 in a general westerly direction. He passed between the Marquesas and the Tuamotus without sighting either. He did sight what may have been one of the Ellice Islands, but his main discovery was the Solomon page 18Islands in Melanesia. He thus performed the astonishing feat of sailing across the Polynesian triangle without encountering an island in that area. The two ships, on their return voyage, reached Callao on September 11, 1569 without having added anything to the knowledge about Polynesia. However, the first voyage had been made south of the equator and the discovery of the Solomon Islands was destined to lead to discovery in Polynesia.