On 10 February 1606 Portuguese navigator Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, serving the Spanish Crown in an expedition to Terra Australis, was perhaps the first European to set eyes on the island of Tahiti.
On 18 June 1767 lieutenant Samuel Wallis, who was circumnavigating the globe, was the first European to have visited Tahiti. Captain James Cook was commissioned by the Royal Society to observe the transit of Venus across the sun, a phenomenon that would be visible from Tahiti on 3 June 1769.
On 26 October 1788, HMS Bounty, under the command of Captain William Bligh, landed in Tahiti. The crew remained in Tahiti for about five months. Three weeks after leaving Tahiti, on 28 April 1789, the crew mutinied on the initiative of Fletcher Christian. The mutineers seized the ship and set the captain and most of those members of the crew who remained loyal to him adrift in a ship’s boat. A group of mutineers then went back to settle in Tahiti.
On 1 April 1891 French artist Paul Gauguin set sail for Tahiti, promising to return a rich man. He spent the first three months in Papeete and many of his finest paintings date from this time. In August 1893, Gauguin returned to France, only to set out for Tahiti again on 28 June 1895. He became very weak and was in great pain using morphine. He died suddenly on the morning of 8 May 1903 at the age of 55.
In 1967 Marlon Brando found a way to own this piece of paradise. Marlon Brando first came to Tetiaroa while filming Mutiny on the Bounty and was immediately enchanted by the island’s rare beauty and the sense it gave him of being closer to paradise. He was enthralled by the Polynesian way of life – and the leading lady Tarita, the love of his life.
Marlon Brando was known for his tumultuous personal life and his large number of wives, girlfriends and children. He was the father to sixteen known children, three of whom were adopted. He claimed numerous romances, but did not discuss his marriages, his wives, or his children in his autobiography. Brando earned a reputation as a ‘bad boy’ for his public outbursts and his behavior during the filming of Mutiny on the Bounty in Tahiti.
On 31 December 2020 I will be in French Polynesia. I will celebrate; whatever, whatever, I will celebrate the day, celebrate the moment, celebrate all there is, simply following my personal dream to live on each continent.