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How an English pirate became the first person to make three trips around the world and saved Robinson
How an English pirate became the first person to make three trips around the world and saved Robinson

Become a pirate or become a scientist? It turns out that sometimes it is not necessary to choose - in any case, William Dampier, privateer of Her Majesty Queen Anne, became famous in both fields. A follower of Francis Drake, not only in capturing alien ships, but also in exploring new lands, Dampier studied unfamiliar southern shores, exotic flora and fauna with great interest. And, like all scientists, he was not very good at dealing with the financial side of life.

William Dampier of Somerset

What brought William to the sea? By and large, the same thing that led many other young sailors - the disorder of life in their native lands and the desire to get money for a piece of bread. He was born in 1651 in the village of East Cocker, Somerset County, in a poor family of a small tenant and farmer George Dampier. It is known that the future navigator had brothers. His father died when William was seven, his mother died seven years later, and Dampir was under the care of a local landowner, Colonel Hilyar, who sent the teenager to school.

That was the time of privateers - seafarers who, with the sanction of their ruler, robbed enemy ships

Having received any education, William, at the age of 16, went by sea to France, devoting himself to the fishing business. Then, with the beginning of the next Anglo-Dutch war, Dampir had a chance to take part in naval battles, even get wounded, after which for some time the future traveler returned to his homeland. In 1678 in London, he acquired land and married, but did not stay in England for long. In 1679, his first long journey began, which turned out to be around the world and lasted twelve years.

Engraving by K. Luiken. Dhampir fights the storm

This chapter of William Dampier's biography is "pirate". Once in the Caribbean and off the coast of both Americas, he participated in attacks on ships, and gold, the ships themselves, and the slaves who were transported from the mainland to the mainland became trophies. Repeatedly Dampir changed his marine lifestyle to "land": he was hired for sugar plantations, for logging, but still returned to the ships and the sea.

Geographer and naturalist

The remarkable habit of William Dampier, the one that, perhaps, determined his fate, was the keeping of diaries, he did it from the age of 23. Even in very difficult conditions, Dampir managed to keep his notes, and, returning once again to England, he brought them to publication. In 1697 the book “A New Journey Around the World” was published. Even then, the author attracted attention, and after writing the second book - "Discourse on the trade winds, breezes, storms, seasons, tides and currents of the hot belt of the whole world" - Dampir was already perceived as a scientist. He was invited to become a member of the Royal Society for the Development of the Knowledge of Nature.

During the voyage, Dhampir made maps and sketches

In January 1699, 47-year-old Dampier, on behalf of the British Admiralty, led an expedition to the shores of Australia (then this continent was still called New Holland and, in fact, did not have the status of a continent). On the 26-gun warship Roebuck, he set off. Long before the ship approached the shores of New Holland, Captain Dampier had serious disagreements with the first mate, Lieutenant George Fischer, and, in order not to risk his safety, Dampier simply shackled him in shackles, locked him in a cabin, and reached the shores of Brazil. handed Fischer over to the local authorities. He himself went to explore Australia.

Portrait of William Dampier

Dhampir did it conscientiously and thoroughly, and in general, in the line of researchers of this continent, he occupies a quite worthy place.Looking ahead, it should be noted that the sailor had a lot of work to keep his records about the archipelagos near Australia, plants and animals discovered during the expedition. Dampier even recorded on paper a description of the tastes of various products and dishes outlandish for Europeans. The fact is that the Roebuck ship discovered a serious leak - it was not possible to fix it, and the ship still sank. Dampiru and the crew had to disembark on an uninhabited island, where a month later they were picked up by an English ship passing nearby. By the way, the sunken "Roebuck" was discovered not so long ago - it happened in 2001.

Current view of the island where Selkirk was landed

This journey formed the basis for a new book on New Holland - it was published in 1703. Dampir, who returned from the expedition, was awaiting a trial, initiated by the same Fischer. Dampir was denied the right to serve in the Royal Navy by a court decision for the cruel treatment of the mate, in addition, he was fined.

Rescue of Alexander Selkirk

The next page of Dampir's biography is associated with the craft of a privateer - that is, a navigator who, with the sanction of the supreme power of a belligerent state, seizes the enemy's merchant ships. For this kind of activity, a special certificate was needed - Dampir received it. This time two ships set off on the way - "St. George" and "Sink Port". This expedition is interesting in that it turned into the story of a real Robinson - that is, a man, according to whose adventures, it is believed, and then Daniel Defoe will write his novel.

A lot of Selkirk's story ended up in the famous book about Robinson Crusoe

Alexander Selkirk, while on the Sink Port vessel, drew the attention of Captain Stradling to the unsatisfactory condition of the vessel. The ship, Selkirk argued, was at risk of sinking - and this happened after a while. However, in the heat of the conflict, the captain decided to land the obstinate sailor on the uninhabited island of Mas a Tierra, leaving him with a set of food and essentials. By that time, the captain had quarreled with Dhampir, which caused the ship to move further outside the expedition. Stradling's ship, as predicted by the Selkirk landed on the deserted coast, sank with a large number of victims.

Privateers received a special document, the same was practiced by the French

The expedition did not live up to expectations - this time it was planned to capture the treasure galleon, this did not happen. Dampir had to explain himself to those who had invested money in the expedition and lost it. And in 1708, a privateer and explorer of the southern seas set off on his third round the world voyage and his last long voyage. This time, they managed to capture a lot of loot, and also Dampier's ship "Duke", under the leadership of Captain Woods Rogers, came to the rescue of Alexander Selkirk. For more than four years in isolation, he grew very much, almost forgot how to speak English, but he was distinguished by extraordinary strength and speed.

Captain Woods Rogers searches Spanish women in search of jewelry

The new expedition turned out to be profitable, but everything went to pay off the debts. William Dampier lived three years after his return and died at the age of 63. The merits of the navigator include not only the development of navigation, but also a contribution to other areas of English and European life: for example, in the Oxford Dictionary his name is mentioned more than 80 times - as a person who first used a particular term - for example, "barbecue" or " avocado".

It would be a mistake to say that there are no more uninhabited islands in the modern world: on the contrary, there are many of them: here history and secrets of paradise for modern Robinsons.

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