Olivier van Noort

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Olivier van Noort
Olivier van Noort.png
Born 1558
Utrecht, Netherlands
Died 22 February 1627
Known for First Dutchman to circumnavigate the world.

Olivier van Noort (1558 – 22 February 1627) was a Dutch merchant captain and the first Dutchman to circumnavigate the world.[1]

Olivier van Noort was born in 1558 in Utrecht. He left Rotterdam on 2 July 1598 with four ships and a plan to attack Spanish possessions in the Pacific and to trade with China and the Spice Islands during the Eighty Years' War between the Netherlands and Spain. His ships were poorly equipped, especially in the way of armament and the crews were unruly.

Nonetheless, Van Noort sailed through the Magellan Strait, and captured a number of ships (Spanish and otherwise) along the Pacific coast of South America.[1] He lost two ships on the way due to a storm, including his largest ship, the Hendrick Frederick, which was wrecked on Ternate in the Maluku Islands.[1] In November and December 1600, he established a berth for his two remaining sailboats, Mauritius and Eendracht, in the surroundings of Corregidor Island at Manila Bay in the Philippines. From there he engaged in what were perceived by the Spanish as pirate activities, targeting the sailing route to and from Manila. This situation was ended after the naval combat of Fortune Island on December 14, 1600. The Spanish lost their flagship, the galleon San Antonio (its wreck would be found in 1992 and yield a treasure in porcelain and gold pieces) but the Spanish captured the Dutch Eendracht, making van Noort's position untenable and forcing him to retire from the Philippines.

Van Noort returned to Rotterdam via what would become the Dutch East Indies and the Cape of Good Hope on 26 August 1601 with his last ship, the Mauritius, and 45 of originally 248 men. The venture barely broke even, but was the inspiration for more such expeditions. The united Dutch East India Company was formed a few months later.

Van Noort's voyage is also told in the book, The Golden Keys[2] (Doubleday 1956, 1970) by Hans Koning, a fictionalized retelling of the voyage of van Noort, and a previous well known voyage of Gerrit de Veer.


  1. ^ a b c Quanchi, Historical Dictionary of the Discovery and Exploration of the Pacific Islands, page 246
  2. ^ Hans Koning#Children.27s books>

Further reading[edit]

  • Gerhard, Peter. Pirates of the Pacific 1575-1742. Glendale, Ca: A.H. Clark Co., 1990. ISBN 0-8032-7030-5
  • Gerhard, Peter. Pirates of New Spain, 1575-1742. Mineola, Ny: Courier Dover Publications, 2003. ISBN 0-486-42611-4
  • Lane, Kris E. Pillaging the Empire: Piracy in the Americas, 1500-1750. Armunk, New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1998. ISBN 0-7656-0257-1
  • Quanchi, Max (2005). Historical Dictionary of the Discovery and Exploration of the Pacific Islands. The Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810853957. 
  • Schmidt, Benjamin. Innocence Abroad: The Dutch Imagination and the New World, 1570-1670. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-521-80408-6
  • Silverberg, Robert. The Longest Voyage: Circumnavigation in the Age Of Discovery (1972) 1997 Ohio University Press, ISBN 0-8214-1192-6

Bennett, R.S. "Australia and its neighbours 1494-1799 Western powers reach out to the East and Pacific Ocean" Auckland, New Zealand RSB Publications 2014 ISBN 978-0-473-27659-1. Also available as an Amazon ebook. In the last Appendix the author presents a case for the probable circumnavigation of New Zealand in late 1600 or early 1601 by the cargo ship 'Hendrick Frederick' of the van Noort expedition under Vice-Admiral Pieter Esaiaszoon de Lint while en route to the Molucca Sea after being separated from the others, which would explain why the vessel took about seven months to arrive there after leaving Central America. Its log book is missing but it seems the ship was diverted to search for the unknown southern land shown on contemporary Dutch maps, in view of a find in Spanish archives that the ship had reached a mainland in 36-40 degrees South latitude, Maori oral history and other sources. The 1642 expedition under Abel Tasman, that found New Zealand, may have had a map derived from the 'Hendrick Frederick' voyage that showed the East Cape of the North Island, which may explain why Tasman did not account for his failure to comply with his instructions to 'sail eastward along the coast or islands discovered.'

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