Frank Vorpahl tells the story of the Polynesians Tupaia, Maheine and Mai, without whom James Cook would have failed miserably on his Pacific voyages.
Discovery is a term that has a special ring to it in European history: it evokes voyages out to sea to find and explore Atlantis, India or the South Seas. But most of the time it meant that the “discovered” areas were taken over for their own rulers, the respective natives were subjected and exploited according to the Erlkönig principle “And if you’re not willing, I’ll use force”. Those who pay attention to the actual circumstances will find blood and tears, slavery, deportation and annihilation above all in the history of the great expeditions and discoveries. And the crimes were committed by those who talked about their discoveries as if they were all paradises that no human shadow had ever fallen on.