William Dampier: the adventurer who made history

William Dampier, a pirate, and hydrographer left behind many publications about his amazing adventures. Dampier traveled around the world three times, inspiring Jonathan Swift to write Gulliver and saving the sailor who would later become the model for Robinson Crusoe.

In pursuit of new adventures

William was born in the English town of East Coker in the year 1651. Colonel Heylar cared for him when he was just 14 years old when he became an orphan. The colonel sent the young man to a nearby city to study without hesitation.

Life in the English wilderness was boring and unappealing to William. He wanted to go throughout the world. As a result, at the age of 16, he dropped out of school and embarked on his first journey as a cabin boy aboard a ship. The merchant ship only sailed one route: from Great Britain to France. That, of course, did not sit well with Dampier. And before long, he was vegetating in the cold North Atlantic aboard a fishing boat dealing off the coast of Newfoundland. However, the youthful explorer did not like the local temperature, so he traveled to “observe” the warmer coastlines of Java. The man did not linger here either.

He was depressed by the anxious atmosphere created by the possibility of a military clash between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. He enrolled in the Royal Navy owing to a lack of other possibilities. And, according to other reports, he still got the opportunity to fight in a few engagements. And he came close to dying at the battle of Texel in 1673.

After his health was restored, William decided he’d had enough of adventure and returned to his hometown of East Coker. Dampier changed his mind and moved to Jamaica after realizing that desire and sadness would be his constant companions for the rest of his days. On a sugar plantation, he became a trade agent. On the other hand, the man found a measured existence, although far away from home, to be a hardship. And he became involved in another adventure.

Dampier worked aboard a merchant ship for a while before joining the lumberjacks who hunted along the Yucatan coast. He liked the local people (runaway slaves, criminals, and pirates). And William stayed for a long time. Simultaneously, he carefully recorded all of his experiences in a diary.

On the journey to criminality

Dampier spoke about nature, local traditions, and pirate assaults on Spanish villages in the pages of his diary. William, of course, was one of the brigands. He occurred to plunder the Spanish city of Alvarado while working for that corporation. After that, he decided that you may now return to his calm existence in the heat of the moment.

Dampier returned to England and resided in London after passing through Jamaica. The pirate’s share was sufficient to purchase a residence in the capital. After then, William married. For some months, the explorer assumed the role of a family man. And he escaped to Jamaica. He was unlikely to see his wife again.

William encountered the pirate John Coxon at the Jamaican port of Port Morant and went to his service. Dampier and his “colleagues” raided Porto Bello in 1680. The pirates passed the Panama Canal and started robbing ships bound for Panama and Peru following this victory.

Dampier preferred a happy, carefree pirate lifestyle. He enjoyed the sensation of “walking on the edge.” He engaged in attacks against commercial ships and coastal towns for numerous years. He fought with the French for a period, crossed the Atlantic, explored the Cape Verde Islands and Africa, crossed the Pacific Ocean, and spent time in the Philippines. He didn’t return to England until the fall of 1689.

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Victory and heavy debt New Voyage

It took over ten years for the pirate wanderer to revise all of his many entries. Dampier’s first work, A New Voyage Round the World, was published in 1697 and was dedicated to the president of the Royal Scientific Society. William made the correct option, as he was quickly accepted into the Council on Trade and Enterprise, where he was appointed as a maritime criminal expert.

Dampier’s second book, Voyage and Discoveries was released shortly after. And she created such an impact that King William III personally greeted the explorer, and the traveler’s photograph was displayed in the National Gallery. After reading this book, Jonathan Swift was inspired to create a novel about Gulliver’s travels.

Dampier himself sailed again at the first chance. The ship “Roebuck” was heading towards Australia. The voyage, however, did not start so well. Captain Dampier and his skipper, George Fisher, did not get along. Quarrels between the males erupted now and then, culminating in mutual insults. After a while, William had had enough of it and got into a confrontation with the captain. The ex-pirate overpowered his foe and imprisoned him in the cabin. Fischer remained seated until the ship arrived in Brazil. Dampier then continued his voyage after handing over the rebellious skipper to the local authorities.

While traveling off the coast of Australia, William found the Dampier archipelago, a series of islands that would eventually be named after him. Overall, that journey yielded a plethora of new discoveries. A sailor, for example, an adventurer, was the first to discover the strait between New Britain and New Guinea.

In 1701, William returned to England but immediately got to a meeting of the admiralty court. Fisher, released from prison, pressed charges against his captain. The case was pending for almost a year. And the court found Dampier guilty of mistreating Fischer. William was dismissed and fined heavily. But the adventurer would betray himself if he lost heart.

Piracy again

He didn’t fail the test; instead, he passed it and replied to it with a new book. He then embarked on a Pacific Ocean expedition. Dampier had a selfish motive this time, and he intended to participate in piracy to better his financial situation.

St. George and Cinque Ports were the two ships that took part in the expedition. And you can’t claim they were having a good time. The pirates’ luck ran out time and time again. Thomas Stradling was the captain of one of the ships. And one day, he had a big fight with his assistant – Alexander Selkirk. The conflict was resolved: the captain landed Selkirk on the nearest island. The usual thing, no one paid attention to this, considering that Alexander was dead in advance.

St. George and Cinque Ports eventually broke off. The commanders came to the idea that obtaining enormous prey would be easier if they were alone. However, that “quest” was in vain. William returned to England towards the end of 1707, having completed his second round-the-world expedition.

On the other hand, Dampier was burdened by massive debts and dull, peaceful existence. He shortly started on his third round-the-world journey. The ship on which William was serving as navigator went through the Juan Fernandez Islands in February 1709. The sailors also saw the smoke. Captain Rogers sent a boat to do an investigation. The sailors returned with Alexander Selkirk, who had been thought to be dead for a long time. Alexander’s remarkable narrative was the inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s book Robinson Crusoe, published in 1719.

In 1712, Dampier returned to England. William died in 1715; therefore, he was no longer destined to embark on a journey. Several books and significant debts were left behind by a pirate, explorer, and adventurer. And he had to sell all he had to pay off his debts.

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