In late 1683, the British privateer Ambrose Cowley was sailing the South Atlantic when he came across a hitherto unknown island, which he wrote in his log book was “a good place for fresh water and timber”. He named the place Pepys Island in honour of Samuel Pepys, then well known as the secretary to the Admiralty, now more famous as a diarist. For the next century dozens of explorers, including Captain Cook, tried unsuccessfully to find Pepys Island. It was finally decided that Cowley had made a huge navigational error and had unknowingly described one of the Falkland Islands, although as late as 1839, one Spanish naval authority was still stoutly maintaining that Pepys Island must exist.
Answered by: Nick Rennison