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On November the 29th, 1791, Lieutenant William Broughton (in command of the Chatham)’discovered’ the island group now commonly known as the Chatham Islands.

HMS Chatham

There is some speculation around whether he was naming them after his ship or after William Pitt, the Earl of Chatham.

While Lieutenant Broughton was officially in charge of the voyage, it was actually a crewman that sighted land first.

Ironically, the Chatham Islands didn’t need “discovering” as the population at that time, some 2-2500 people did not consider themselves or their island home ‘lost.’

This discovery was by pure accident. The Chatham had left Fiordland some days earlier, along with the leader of the expedition, Captain Vancouver, in the H.M.S. Discovery.

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