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Omai, the 'Noble Savage'

Omai, the 'Noble Savage'

H415/0064

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Credit

GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Omai, the 'Noble Savage'. On his second voyage, from 1772 to 1775, Captain James Cook visited the Pacific island of Tahiti and brought back Omai, one of the indigenous peoples, to show to society in Britain. There was a prevailing view at the time that non- Europeans, particularly those from the other side of the world, would be savage, wild and bestial. But equally there was a view that maybe they would have a natural morality from which a decadent society could learn. Omai proved to be closer to the latter than the former. He was accepted into society; dining with royalty and aristocracy. He, and Captain Cook, died on the return trip to Tahiti. Taken from a book of 1777.

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