Samuel Wallis was born in 1728 at Lanteglos-by-Camelford. He served as flag lieutenant under Admiral Boscawen, and was given command of H.M.S. Dolphin in 1766 to explore the Pacific. In 1768, he completed a voyage of circumnavigation through the Straits of Magellan. It was believed at the time that another continent existed to the south of South America, and Wallis spent twenty months sailing round the world looking for signs of it. He found the islands of Tahiti and Easter Island, and his reports inspired Captain Cook’s later voyages.
In 1767, shortly after discovering Tahiti, he came across another island which he named Uvea Wallis, and this name stuck. Wallis & Futuna is now the most isolated French Pacific colony and the name of the Cornish explorer is recorded for posterity.