William Keeling

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Captain William Keeling (1578–1620), of the East India Company, was a British sea captain. He commanded the Susanna on the second East India Company voyage in 1604, and he commanded the Red Dragon on the third voyage of 1607. He discovered the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in 1609 as he was going home from Java to England. The islands were later named after him. Keeling was put in command of Cowes Castle c. 1618; he died on the Isle of Wight.

A fragment of Keeling's diary survives, in which he details his crew's performances of Shakespeare's Hamlet and Richard II on shipboard in 1607 and 1608. For a time after its discovery, the fragment was suspected of being a forgery, but is now generally accepted as genuine.[1]


  1. ^ Halliday, F. E. A Shakespeare Companion 1564–1964. Baltimore, Penguin, 1964; pp. 262, 426-7.

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