Item #2754 L’océanie française. Journal de Tahiti. Dimanche 8 7bre 1844. No. 19. Edmond de Ginoux.
First French Newspaper in the South Pacific

L’océanie française. Journal de Tahiti. Dimanche 8 7bre 1844. No. 19.

Papeete (Tahiti): Cie Ricar Imp.-Lith. du gouvernemmente[!], September 1844. First edition. Folio. Lithographed entirely. [4] p. Folded twice. Torn at foldings, small hole at the center. Chipped, dented. First page upper half tanned.

Extremely scarce journal, single number of the first newspaper published in French Polynesia.

L’océanie française was the first French newspaper to be published in the South Pacific. It was a four-sheet, weekly newspaper published (except for a few numbers) on Sundays, edited by Edmond de Ginoux. The handwritten journal was printed entirely lithographically by the government's lithographic printing press in about a hundred copies, in Papeete, Tahiti.

Altogether sixty numbers appeared between May 5, 1844, and June 28, 1845, dealing mainly with the political and military situation of the Islands, besides publishing administrative news, decrees, and proclamations of the Governor (sometimes translated into Tahitian), local, French and international news, translations of and editorial opinions on English newspaper articles on Tahiti’s affairs, weather reports, arrivals and departures of ships, and bilingual (French-English) sale advertisements. (Pardon, 2019)

The present issue builds up virtually the same way. After some local news related to the movements of the steamer Phaeton, it reports about the voyage of the French ship, Lion, which started her journey from Monterrey on June 11, 1844, under the command of Captain Bonnet, and carried a cargo of jerked beef and cattle for supplying the Society and the Marquesas Islands, from Sausalito (see: Thomas Oliver Larkin to John Caldwell Calhoun. Off. Corr. No. 7 [II:7])., and headed back to California, San Francisco, via Hawaii (see: Hawaiian Postal History from the Steven C. Walske Collection, no. 1). It also contains a lengthy account on the Ross expedition, James Clark Ross’ resent voyage of scientific exploration of the Antarctic, compares it with Jules Dumont d’Urville explorations and the discovery of Adélie Land. The last page is with for sale and other advertisements for J. J. Bischoff watchmaker in Tahiti, A. W. Hort’s general store, Jean Baptiste Laharrague’s refreshment shop, and M. Lucas’ grocery store. Edmond de Ginoux de la Coche (1811–1870) was a French political journalist, with an interest in the effects of colonialism and ethnology. After the French takeover of Tahiti in 1842 Ginoux sailed to the islands, where he took under judicial tasks and soon founded L’océanie française, the first French newspaper of the South Pacific. In 1845 the journal was banned probably for publishing classified information on the Battle of Mahaena and Ginoux left Tahiti. During his journey and also on his much shorter second mission in 1847, he collected artifacts from all over the region, the Society Islands, the Marquesas Islands, and more distant sites like Fiji, Samoa, and Australia. His collection is kept today at the Musée des explorations du monde, Cannes.

Extremely scarce, in the related article on the website of SPAA-TPFT (the archive of French Polynesia) the archive claims that they are not aware of the existence of a complete collection of all sixty numbers (SPAA-TPFT, 2016); during our research we could not trace such either. Sporadic numbers kept at the BnF (1844: 19 numbers (no. 19 not included); 1845: 25 numbers [complete]), National Library of Australia (1844: 16 numbers (no. 19 not included); 1845: 8 numbers), University of Otago, Hocken Collections (seems to be numbers only from the first year), and SPAA (nothing from 1844, and 19 numbers from 1845). No records on RBH.

Literature: Larkin, T. O.; Hammon, G. P. (ed.) (1952). The Larkin Papers. […]. Volume II. 1843–1844. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. p. 140.; Pardon, D. (2019, September 5). 1844 : De Ginoux, premier Mais éphémère journaliste de Tahiti. TAHITI INFOS, les informations de Tahiti. Retrieved August 16, 2022, from; R. A. Siegel Auction Galleries. (2013). Hawaiian Postal History from the Steven C. Walske Collection. New York, N.Y: Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries. p. 11.; SPAA-TPFT (2016, October 17). L’Océanie Française – Journal de Tahiti. Service du Patrimoine Archivistique et Audiovisuel - Te Piha Faufa'a Tupuna / Livres Rares et Documents Inédits. Retrieved August 16, 2022, from

Price: €4,000.00

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