Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 8 >> Curzon to Danbury >> Dampier

Dampier

voyage and world

DAMPIER, William, English navigator: b. East Coker Somerset, June 1652; d. Lon don, March 1715. In 1673 he served in the Dutch War and subsequently engaged in a band of privateers, as they called themselves, although in reality pirates, with whom he roved on the Peruvian coasts. Dampier, wishing to obtain some knowledge of the northern coast of Mex ico, joined the crew of Captain Swan, who cruised in the hopes of meeting the annual royal Manila ship, which, however, escaped them. Swan and Dampier were resolved to steer for the East Indies and they accordingly crossed the Pacific and after various adventures Dampier and others were left ashore on Nicobar Island. After making several 'trading voyages in the Eastern seas he entered as a gunner in the fort at Bencoolen. Upon this coast he remained until 1691, when he -found means to return home. In 1697 he published an account of his voyage round the world, which had a great success and was supplemented by a second volume in 1699. He now obtained command

of a ship in the king's service fitted out for a voyage of discovery. In this he made import ant explorations on the coasts of Australia and Neu; Guinea, giving his name to Dampier Archipelago and Strait. His last two trips around the world 1703-07 and 1708-11 were commercial enterprises. Dampier's writings in clude 'A Voyage Round the World) (1697) ; 'A Discourse of Winds) (1609) , 'Vindication of the Voyage to the South (1707); (Voy ages to the Bay of Campeachy' (1729). They bear all the marks of fidelity; and the nautical remarks display much professional and even philosophical knowledge. His observations on natural objects are also extremely dear and particular.