William Dampier

British pirate and explorer (1651-1715)

William Dampier (baptised 5 September 1651; died March 1715) was an English explorer, pirate, privateer, navigator, and naturalist who became the first Englishman to explore parts of what is today Australia, and the first person to circumnavigate the world three times. He has also been described as Australia's first natural historian, as well as one of the most important British explorers of the period between Sir Francis Drake (16th century) and Captain James Cook (18th century); according to Diana and Michael Preston, he "bridged those two eras" with a mix of piratical derring-do of the former and scientific inquiry of the latter. His expeditions were among the first to identify and name a number of plants, animals, foods, and cooking techniques for a European audience, being among the first English writers to use words such as avocado, barbecue, and chopsticks. In describing the preparation of avocados, he was the first European to describe the making of guacamole, named the breadfruit plant, and made frequent documentation of the taste of numerous foods foreign to the European palate at the time, such as flamingo and manatee.

Portrait of Dampier with his book by Thomas Murray, c. 1697–8
The second leg of the Roebuck expedition, 1699–1701

Quotes edit

  • New Holland is a very large tract of land. It is not yet determined whether it is an island or a main continent; but I am certain that it joyns neither to Africa, Asia, or America.
  • After we had been here a little while, the Men began to be familiar, and we cloathed some of them, designing to have had some service from them for it: for we found some Wells of Water here, and intended to carry 2 or 3 barrels of it aboard. But it being somewhat troublesome to carry to the Canaos, we thought to have made these men to have carry'd it for us, and therefore we gave them some Cloathes; to one an old pair of Breeches, to another a ragged Shirt, to a third a Jacket that was scarce worth owning; which yet would have been very acceptable at some places where we had been, and so we thought they might have been with these People. We put them on, thinking that this finery would have brought them to work heartily for us; and our Water being filled in small long Barrels, about 6 gallons in each, which were made purposely to carry Water in, we brought these our new Servants to the Wells, and put a Barrel on each of their Shoulders for them to carry to the Canao. But all the signs we could make were to no purpose, for they stood like Statues, without motion, but grinned like so many monkeys, staring one upon another: For these poor Creatures seem'd not accustomed to carry Burdens: and I believe that one of our Ship Boys of 10 Years old, would carry as much as one of them. So we were forced to carry our Water ourselves; and they very fairly put the Cloaths off again, and laid them down, as if the Cloaths were only to work in. I did not perceive that they had any liking to them at first; neither did they seem to admire anything that we had.

Bibliography edit

Early English Books Online
  1. Two Voyages to Campeachy
  2. A Discourse of Trade Winds
  • Voyage to New Holland in the Year 1699 (2 parts: 1703, 1709)

External links edit

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