III.2 Ships, Crews, Voyages and Wrecks

European ships and crews usually anchored in the roads of well-known ports like Surat, Colombo, Negapatnam, Melaka, Johor, Batavia, Macau, Canton and Nagasaki. Meanwhile, the explorations and search for unknown territories and peoples continued. Both the English and Dutch sent out exploratory expeditions to the Australian continent, like the Batavia in 1629 or the frigate the Geelvink in 1696. The English explorer William Dampier (1651-1715) was met in Batavia with great suspicion and every intelligence report detailing his whereabouts was carefully studied. Several reports reveal a still unknown world, like the report of the survivors of Dampier’s ship HMS Roebuck which foundered at Ascension Island on 21 February 1701.

As voyages were at the mercy of sudden wind changes and therefore of unpredictable duration and direction, crews often had to cope with starvation. Indeed, in extremity,  some survived the wreck or foundering of their ships. Several reports on conditions on board, the causes of disease and  accounts of shipwreckings can be found in this section.

Brief account of the principal events on the voyage of the frigate the Geelvink to the Southland (Australia), 20 March 1697

Introduced: Roelof van Gelder
Release Date: Sept. 2, 2013