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Dampier, and the mission with which he was associated was the first to land on the continent and make significant observations.

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Dampier, and the mission with which he was associated was the first to land on the continent and make significant observations. In January 1688, with Dampier as crew, the English pirate ship Cygnet was beached on the northwest Australian coast, somewhere in the vicinity of King Sound in WA. Dampier returned to London, with virtually nothing, except the journals he had kept. Dampier published his work in 1697, titled New Voyage Round the World and it became very popular. As a result the Admiralty outfitted Dampier with a ship, HMS Roebuck, and commissioned him to carry out a plan of exploration from the east coast, then northward toward the known regions of New Guinea. Dampier brought the crew safely to Hartog Island but was unable to find good water in the region of the large bay behind the island. Dampier, William (1652-1715), English navigator, explorer, and buccaneer, who, despite his controversial career, has gained a reputation as a brilliant pioneer hydrographer whose expedition logs are of lasting importance. William Dampier The English sailor William Dampier made several voyages to the Pacific, but the most famous was his circumnavigation of the world, which took eight years to complete (1683-1691). On a later voyage he visited and named the site of the modern town of Dampier in Western Australia.Corbis II EARLY LIFE Dampier was born in May 1652 in East Coker, Somersetshire, the son of a tenant farmer. A seaman at the age of 16, Dampier was assistant manager of a plantation in Jamaica in the West Indies at the age of 22, then foremast hand on a ketch carrying timber from Jamaica to Campeche in New Spain (Mexico), and from 1675 to 1678 alternated between transporting timber in Central America and buccaneering in the Caribbean Sea. In 1679, after a brief return to England, he crossed the Isthmus of Panama in the course of a piratical expedition along the Pacific coast of South America from present-day Mexico to Chile. ...read more.


The maintenance of his careful journal records served as testament to Dampier's ability as a Pacific sea captain in the British tradition. The journals established his credibility within the Admiralty in London. That Dampier was a dedicated buccaneer is of some dispute, and it has been reasonably expressed that he merely found pirate ships and company a convenient way to travel. On departure from the coast of New Holland (by mutual agreement) Dampier was separated from his shipmates in the Nicobar Islands. From there he made his way in a small craft, crowded with seven shipmates, through a hurricane and to Sumatra. After further ramblings in the vicinity and accounts added to his journals, Dampier returned to London. He arrived with virtually nothing, except the journals he had kept. Dampier decided to publish his work and did so in 1697. He titled the work New Voyage Round the World and it was very quickly popular. Tasman's journals had been published three years earlier and England began to take interest in exploring for Terra Australis incognita. In short order the Admiralty outfitted Dampier with a ship, HMS Roebuck, and commissioned him to carry out a plan of exploration. The original plan called for a transit of Cape Horn and an approach to Nova Hollandia from the east coast side, then northward toward the known regions of New Guinea. However, delays in departure pushed the schedule back to make for a winter rounding of the Horn. Dampier knew this was not a good judgement, so plans were redrawn to use the traditional Dutch route around Africa and across the Indian Ocean to the western side of the continent. Dampier had additional problems. His crew was short on experience and inclined toward disobedience, particularly as their captain had a buccaneer background and his ship, the Roebuck, was a leaky castoff of the Admiralty, with suspect timber structure. ...read more.


Dampier intended sailing south along the eastern coast of Nova Hollandia and finding the eastern entrance to the channel which would reach northwestward to Dampier Archipelago and the Roebuck Bay area. However, the condition of his ship was such that serious consideration of the voyage not plausible. He continued west, across the top of New Guinea, on to Batavia. A wide southern loop prior to reaching Batavia tracks a search of the Roebuck for Trial Rocks. However, due to his own incapacitation due to an illness and the crew's inability to navigate well, the Roebuck went into Batavia without a significant search for the rocks. Once readied for the journey back to England, the Roebuck departed. The state of the ship could not be solidly counted as seaworthy and off the island of Ascension in the Atlantic critical planks gave way and the ship was lost. Amazingly, the crew made it to shore with an amount of food and water and survived until they were retrieved by four English ships. Many of Dampier's papers were lost in the Roebuck. [Roebuck is found] In the early stages of the voyage, Dampier had great difficulty with his subordinate officer (a man named Fisher). Fisher was early on removed from the vessel and Dampier had him placed into a Brazilian jail. On his release, Fisher returned to England and began sowing seeds of Dampier's censorship within the Admiralty. [Indications are that Dampier was justified in his management of Fisher.] On Fisher's groundwork and the loss of the Roebuck, Dampier was court martialled and fined all of his pay and banned from future command of any of Her Majesty's ships. Dampier did return to sailing. He was hired as a privateer to harass the Spaniards and at one point did circumnavigate the globe (with a stop in Batavia) again. Even so, it was Dampier's writing which was his legacy into the future. His journals were competently constructed and gave vivid impressions of the world of the Indo-Pacific, and the writings stirred the public and carried his reputation through these years of discovery. ...read more.

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