1902 Encyclopedia > Geography > Dutch Enterprise. Cape Horn Rounded. Exploration of Australia.

(Part 28)

Dutch Enterprise. Cape Horn Rounded. Exploration of Australia.

The Dutch nation, as soon as it was emancipated form Spanish tyranny, displayed an account of enterprise which, for a long time, was fully equal to that of England. The memorable Arctic voyages of Barents were quickly followed by the establishment of a Dutch East India Company; and Holland, ousting the Portuguese, not only established factories on the mankind of India and in Japan, but acquired a preponderating influence throughout the Eastern Archipelago. In 1583 Jan Hugen can Linschoten made a voyage to India with a Portuguese fleet, and his full and graphic descriptions of India, Africa, China and the Eastern Archipelago must been of no small use to his countrymen in the commencement of their distant voyages. The first of their Indian voyages was performed by ships which sailed from Holland in April 1595, and rounded the Cape of Good Hope. A second large Dutch fleet sailed in 1598; and, so eager was the young republic to extend her commerce over the world that another fleet, consisting of five ships of Rotterdam, was sent in the same year by way of Magellan’s Straits, under Jacob Mahu as admiral, with William Adams as pilot. Mahu died on the passage out, and was succeeded by Simon de Cordes, who was killed on the coast of Chili. In September 1599 the fleet had Pacific. The ships were then steered direct for Japan, and anchored off Bungo in April 1600. In the very same year, 1598, a third expedition was dispatched under Oliver van Noort, a natove of Utrecht. The fleet left Holland in September 1598, and entered the South Sea, through the Straits of Magellan, in February 1600, after a tedious, and in truth unskillful, navigation of nearly a year and a half from the time of leaving Holland. After keeping along the west coast of America nearly as far as the line, Van Noort shaped a course for the Ladrone Islands, and arrived off Manila. In August 1601 he anchored in front of Rotterdam, after an absence of three years, but the voyage contributed nothing to geography. The Dutch Company in 1614 again resolved to send a fleet to the Moluccas by the westward route, and Joris Spilbergen was appointed to the command as admiral, with a commission from the States-General. He was furnished with 4 ships of Amsterdam, 2 of Rotterdam, and 1 from Zeeland. On May 6, 1615, Spilbergen entered the Pacific Ocean, and touched at several places on the coast of Chili and Peru, defeating the Spanish fleet in a naval engagement off Chilca. After plundering Payta and making requisitions at Acapuleo, the Dutch fleet crossed the Pacific and reached the Moluccas in March 1616. At that time the Dutch Company had 37 sail of European shipping and 3000 troops in the East Indies.

The Dutch now resolved to discover a passage into the Pacific to the south of Tierra del Fuego, the existence of which was ascertained by Sir Francis Drake. The vessels fitted out for this purpose were the "Eerdracht," of 360 tons, commanded by Jacob le Maire, and the "Horn," of 110 tons, under Jan Schouten. They sailed form the Texel on June 14, 1615, and by the 20th of January 1616 they were south of the entrance of Magellan’s Straits. Passing through the strait of Le Maire they came to the southern extremity of Tierra del Fuego, which was named Cape Horn, in honour of the town of Horn in West Friesland, of which Schouten was a native. They passed the cape on the 31st of January, encountering the usual westerly winds. The great merit of this discovery of a second passage into the South Sea lies in the fact that it was not accidental or unforeseen, but was due to the sagacity of those who designed the voyage. On March 1 the Dutch fleet sighted the island of Juan Fernandez; and, having crossed the Pacific, the explorers sailed along the north coast of New Guinea, and arrived at the Moluccas on September 17, 1616. In 1623 the Dutch sent expeditions against Brazil and Peru, which, however, did little to advance geographical knowledge, except that the Brazilian invasion resulted in the valuable work of Nieuhof.

There were several early indications of the existence of the great Australian continent, which have been very ably discussed by Mr Major; and the Hollanders endeavoured to obtain further knowledge concerning the country and its extent; but only its northern and western coasts had been visited before the time of Governor Van Diemen. Dirk Hartog had been on the west coast in latitude 26º30´ S. in 1616. Pelsert struck on a reef called "Houtman’s Abrolhos" on June 4, 1629. In 1697 the Dutch captain Vlamingh landed on the west coast of Australia in 31º43´ S., and named the Swan River, where he saw some black swans. In 1642 The governor and council of Batavia fitted out two ships to prosecute the discovery of the south land, and entrusted the command to Captain Abel Jansen Tasman. This voyage proved to be the most important to geography that had been undertaken since the first circumnavigation of the globe. Tasman sailed from Batavia in the yacht "Heemskirk" on the 14th August 1642, and from Mauritius on the 8th of October. On Noverber 24 high land was sighted in 42º30´S., which was named Van Diemen’s Land, and, after landing there, sail was again made, and New Zealand (at first called Staten Land) was discovered on the 14th of December. Tasman communicated with the natives and anchored in what he called Murderer’s Bay. From New Zealand it was resolved to steer eastward to longitude 220º, and then north. On this course the ships arrived at Tongatabu, one of the Friendly Islands of Cook; in April 1643 they were off the north coast of New Guines; and on June 15 Tasman returned to Batavia. In 1644 Tasman made a second voyage to effect a more full discovery of New Guinea.

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