|Birth: ||1651, England|
|Death: ||Mar., 1715, England|
Portrait of Dampier holding his book, a painting by Thomas Murray (c. 1697–1698)
Baptised 5 September 1651
East Coker, Somerset, England
March 1715 (aged 63)
Sea captain and explorer
Exploring and mapping Australia, Circumnavigation
William Dampier (baptised 5 September 1651 – March 1715) was 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 Walter Raleigh and James Cook.
After impressing the British Admiralty with his book A New Voyage Round the World, Dampier was given command of a Royal Navy ship and made important discoveries in western Australia, but was court-martialled for cruelty. On a later voyage, he was able to rescue Alexander Selkirk, who may have inspired Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. Others influenced by Dampier include James Cook, Lord Nelson, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.
In 1708 Dampier was engaged to serve on the privateer Duke, not as captain but as sailing master. The Duke beat its way into the South Pacific Ocean round Cape Horn in consort with a second ship, the Duchess. Commanded by Woodes Rogers, this voyage was more successful: Selkirk was rescued on 2 February 1709, and the expedition amassed £147,975 (equivalent to £18.7 million today) worth of plundered goods. Most of that came from the capture of a Spanish galleon, the Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación y Desengaño, along the coast of Mexico in December 1709.
Dampier completed his third circumnavigation by way of the East Indies and the Cape of Good Hope as the sailing master of the Encarnación, dropping anchor at the Thames in London on 14 October 1711. He may not have lived to receive all of his share of the expedition's gains. He died in the Parish of St Stephen Coleman Street, London. The exact date and circumstances of his death, and his final resting place, are all unknown. His will was proven on 23 March 1715, and it is generally assumed he died earlier that month, but this is not known with any certainty. His estate was £2,000 in debt.
Body lost or destroyed
Created by: Joan Donnelly Ellis
Record added: Dec 23, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 122092154