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The Spanish expedition to Easter Island, 1770: Original documents and their rendition by Bolton Glanvill Corney
Abstract: In the year 1770, a Spanish captain named Felipe González de Haedo visited Easter Island and claimed it for the Spanish Crown. This act, meant as a strategic measure against other European nations, did not carry with it any serious consequences, because Spain was not really interested in this remote territory. Nevertheless, several journals and reports of the voyage were produced, containing valuable knowledge of the island, its people and culture, and some of them were subsequently translated into English (1903, B. C. Corney); at that moment the island was already a Chilean colony. In the present paper I discuss two subjects: 1) the cultural encounter as presented in the original Spanish texts, 2) differences and distortions that can be found in their English translation. When examining this type of documents, we can clearly see an example of double translation and the interpretation process: primo, the European image of an unknown Pacific culture, and secundo, the rendition of this image as seen by an English-speaking author. It is of a high interest if not also value to examine how distant is the last mentioned vision of the culture of Easter Island from its original.
Keywords: Easter Island, 18th c. expeditions, Juan Hervé, Francisco Antonio Aguera e Infanzón, Bolton Glanvill Corney, travel texts, translation, erroneous interpretation
Easter Island, in the local native tongue known as Rapa Nui39, is a volcanic island situated in the Pacific Ocean, some 3600 km off the coast...
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