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The Pacific Ocean was the setting for the last great chapter in the convergence of humankind from across the globe. Driven by Enlightenment ideals, Europeans sought to extend control to all quarters of the earth through the spread of beliefs, the promotion of trade and the acquisition of new knowledge. This book surveys the consequent encounters between European expansionism and the peoples of the Pacific. John Gascoigne weaves together the stories of British, French, Spanish, Dutch and Russian voyages to destinations throughout the Pacific region. In a lively and lucid style, he brings to life the idealism, adventures and frustrations of a colourful cast of historical figures. Drawing upon a range of fields, he explores the complexities of the relationships between European and Pacific peoples. Richly illustrated with historical images and maps, this seminal work provides new perspectives on the significance of European contact with the Pacific in the Enlightenment.