Joris van Spilbergen

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Joris van Spilbergen
Spilbergen meeting King Vimaladharmasuriya in 1602
Born 1568
Died 1629 (age 51-52)
Bergen op Zoom
Nationality Dutch
Occupation Naval Officer

Joris van Spilbergen (1568 in Antwerp – 1620 in Bergen op Zoom) was a Dutch naval officer.

Joris van Spilbergen was born in Antwerp in 1568.[1]

His first major expedition was in 1596, when he sailed to Africa.

He then left for Asia on 5 May 1601, from Vere, a seaport on the island of Walcheren in Zealand, in command of the fleet of the company of the Moucheron (a trading company before the esablishement of the VOC). His ships were the Ram, Schaap, and Lam.[2] Spilbergen met the king of Kandy (Sri Lanka) Vimala Dharma Suriya in 1602, and discussed the possibility of trade in cinnamon.

In 1607, Spilbergen, onboard Aeolus, was with Jacob van Heemskerk at the Battle of Gibraltar.

In 1614, he sailed beyond the Strait of Magellan[1] and raided the Spanish settlements on the coast of Mexico. On October 26, he captured the pearl fishing ship San Francisco at Zacatula.[3]

From 1578, El Quisco together with the neighbor Algarrobo and El Canelo were a hiding place of pirates such as the Englishmen Francis Drake, Thomas Cavendish, Richard Hawkins and the Dutchmen Olivier van Noort and Joris van Spilbergen. He had some fights with Sebastián Vizcaíno and Nicolás de Cardona. He circumnavigated the earth, and returned to the Dutch Republic in 1617.

He died a poor man in Bergen op Zoom in 1620.


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