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Published on May 27, 2011
The first attempt at exploring the island was in 1857 by the crew of the Amethyst. They tried to reach the summit of the island, but found the cliffs impassable.
During the 1872--76 Challenger expedition to Indonesia, naturalist Dr John Murray carried out extensive surveys.
In 1887, Captain Maclear of HMS Flying Fish, having discovered an anchorage in a bay that he named Flying Fish Cove, landed a party and made a small but interesting collection of the flora and fauna. In the next year, Pelham Aldrich, on board HMS Egeria, visited it for ten days, accompanied by J. J. Lister, who gathered a larger biological and mineralogical collection.
Among the rocks then obtained and submitted to Sir John Murray for examination were many of nearly pure phosphate of lime, a discovery which led to annexation of the island by the British Crown on 6 June 1888.