Willem Cornelis Schouten

Birth: 1567


Willem Cornelis Schouten (1567-1625) (shoo'-ten) was a Dutch navigator, b. in Hoorn in 1567; d. in Antongil bay, Madagascar, in 1625. He had been for years in the employ of the Dutch East India company, when he quarrelled with one of the directors and resigned in 1610. From that time he resolved to find a new route to the Indies, eluding the charter of the East India company. He interested in his scheme Hoorn's richest citizen, Isaac Lemaire, and they formed a company with a capital of 200,000 florins, one half being furnished by Isaac Lemaire and an eighth by Schouten.

The expedition left the Texel, 14 June, 1615, Schouten being the commander, and a son of Isaac, James Lemaire, acting as his deputy and director-general. The details of the discoveries are to be found in the article Lemaire, James. The navigators were arrested in Batavia by George Spielbergen for infringing upon the privileges of the East India company, but, on Schouten's arrival in Holland, he secured an acquittal, and even compelled the company to pay him heavy damages. He resumed the exercise of his profession, and was returning to Europe after a successful voyage to the Indies, when stress of weather forced him to enter the Bay of Antongil, and he died there.

A narrative of Schouten's expedition was written by Aris Classen, the clerk of the admiral, and published under the title "Scheeps-Journal en Beschrijving van de bewonderensvaardige Reis gemaakt door Willem Cornelis Schouten, geboren te Hoorn, toen hy heeft outdekt ten Zuiden van de zee-engte van Magellan een nieuwe doorgang in de groote Zuidzee" (Amsterdam, 1617). It was translated into French (Amsterdam, 1617), into German (Arnheim, 1618), and into Latin (Amsterdam, 1619). The name of Schouten has been given to an island that he discovered on the northern coast of New Guinea.


Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography (1900) pg. 427

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