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A Buccaneer More Interested
in Nature than Gold
By Cindy Vallar

William Dampier portrait by Thomas Murray
Portrait by Thomas Murray

William Dampier wanted one thing--to make his fortune--but his quest for knowledge often collided with that goal.  While he eventually succeeded in his endeavor, it wasn’t in the manner he expected.  But fame and fortune were fleeting.  He died in obscurity and became a relatively forgotten man, except for those who achieved their fame because of what he learned and wrote about during his unprecedented three voyages around the world.

Born in 1651 in East Coker, England, Dampier was the second son of a tenant farmer.  He received a good education for the time period, and his studies in arithmetic and Latin proved helpful in later life.  He had an older brother named George, and two younger siblings.  When William was seven, his father died.  His mother succumbed to plague seven years later.

Wanderlust characterized much of Dampier’s life.  With the assistance of his guardian, William became a shipmaster’s apprentice.  At twenty-one he enlisted in the Royal Navy, but illness eventually curtailed that career.  After he recovered, he went to Jamaica to help run an estate.  The manager wrote that Dampier was “given to rambling and could not settle himself to stay long in any place.”(Preston, page 31)  Within six months after quitting his job, William found himself aboard a boat bound for the Bay of Campeachy to acquire logwood to take to London.  Many logwood cutters were former buccaneers who found they could amass significant wealth supplying textile manufacturers with logwood.  From the heart of this wood, the makers of ink and furniture extracted a rich, dark dye highly prized in Europe.

Upon his arrival, William found over 250 men either cutting wood or hunting wild cattle.  In his journal, he wrote, “Some fell the trees, others saw and cut them into convenient logs, and one chips off the sap; and when a tree is so thick, that after it is logg’d, it remains still to great a burthen for one man, we blow it up with gun-powder…every man is left to his choice to carry what he pleaseth, and commonly they agree very well about it: For they are contented to work very hard.”  He joined the logwood cutters for wages of one ton of wood for each month he worked.  His bed, like those of the other cutters, was raised three and a half feet off the ground.  “During the wet Season, the Land where the Logwood grows is so overflowed, that they step from their Beds into the Water perhaps two Feet deep, and continue standing in the wet all Day, till they go to bed again.”

He spent much of his non-working hours touring the surrounding land and studying the animals and plants.  Of the crocodiles, he wrote, “I have heard of many of their Tricks; as that they have followed a Canoa, and put their Noses in over the Gunnal, with their Jaws wide open, as if ready to devour the Men in it: and that when they have been ashore in the Night near the Sea, the Crocodiles have bodly [boldly] come in among them, and made them run from their Fire, and taken away their Meat from them.”

Dampier thought he had found an ideal way to make his fortune, but a hurricane struck in June of 1676.  His account was one of the first to accurately describe such a storm.  “[T]he wind whiffled about to the South, and back again to the East, and blew very faintly.”  The water in the creek was sucked back into the bay.  The sky grew black.  Gale force winds blew.  Then the rain came.  In less than two hours only one hut remained and the creek had flooded.  “[T]he trees were torn up by the roots, and tumbled down so strangely a-cross each other, that it was almost impossible to pass through them.”  They found one boat anchored in the bay in the forest.  The cut logwood was gone as were their tools, so Dampier decided “to seek a subsistence in company of some privateers.”

Throughout his journal entries, Dampier always referred to these comrades as privateers, but in reality they were pirates.  Although he spent twelve months in their company, he only provided details of one raid.  Sixty pirates in two boats attacked the fort guarding the town of Alvarado near Vera Cruz.  The assault lasted for some time, and about a dozen buccaneers died before they captured the fort.  On entering the town, they found the citizens had fled with their valuables.  Dampier didn’t consider the venture a total loss because he discovered several tame yellow and red parrots.  The pirates’ bad luck followed their departure from town, for as they exited the river, they encountered seven Spanish ships.  The buccaneers managed to elude capture though.

Dampier eventually returned to England after an absence of four and a half years.  In 1678 he married Judith, who held a position within the Duchess of Grafton’s household.  All we know of her comes from Dampier, and he wrote little of his wife.  They apparently had no children.  Soon after the wedding, Dampier returned to Jamaica, this time to trade.

When he arrived at Negril Bay, however, he encountered a host of buccaneers with about twelve ships.  Their captains included Bartholomew Sharp and John Coxon.  Dampier joined Sharp’s crew and in January 1680, the fleet set sail for the Isle of Pines off the coast of Panama.  With the aid of local natives, the pirates decided to attack Portobello.  Two hundred fifty men set off toward the city in canoes, while the rest remained behind to rendezvous with the raiders and to load their plunder aboard the ships.  On the way to Portobello, the pirates encountered eighty Frenchmen, who joined them.  They easily took the town.  Two days later they returned to their ships; Dampier received 100 pieces of eight as his share of the take.

About this time Captain Edmund Cook and his crew joined the pirate fleet.  Among these new recruits was Lionel Wafer, a surgeon who became Dampier’s friend.  Like William, Lionel would later publish an account of his adventures.  Not long afterward two more groups arrived under the leadership of Richard Sawkins and Peter Harris.

In April 1680, the 330 pirates divided into seven companies and walked through the rainforest, across the mountains to Santa Maria where they expected to obtain a hefty ransom from its inhabitants.  Basil Ringrose, who also chronicled their journey, often in more detail than Dampier, accompanied them.  When the buccaneers rushed the fort, the Spaniards surrendered.  In all the pirates captured 260 prisoners, but not the governor, priest, or gentlemen who would have brought hefty ransoms.  They had fled before the fort surrendered.

The pirates then headed for Panama Bay, where they encountered five ships and three barques.  The pirates decided it was better to fight than be taken, and so attacked the smaller vessels.  The fierce battle lasted for three hours.  The pirates managed to jam the rudder of one barque, then fired several volleys of muskets, killing two-thirds of the crew, before they took possession.  Captain Sawkins captured the second barque when he exploded barrels of powder.  The third vessel escaped.  Still craving more plunder, the pirates turned their attention on the anchored ships.  They boarded the four-hundred-ton La Santissima Trinidad, and after that crew surrendered, they burned two other ships and took command of the remainder.  Only eighteen pirates died and twenty-two were wounded.  Among the casualties was Captain Peter Harris, who was shot in both legs as he attempted to board.  He died two days later.

Once the pirates regrouped, they argued over their next move and their next leaders.  John Coxon opted to recross the isthmus, taking seventy of his men with them.  Dampier remained with the main group under the leadership of Sawkins.  In the ensuing days they captured fifty thousand pieces of eight, over a thousand jars of wine and brandy, and replenished their powder and shot.  They also raided the coastal town of Pueblo Nuevo for fresh meat; Captain Sawkins was slain.  Bartholomew Sharp became the next leader, although sixty-three pirates left the fleet.  Among those that remained were Dampier, Wafer, and Ringrose.

Off the Isla de Plata, they took a ship loaded with 3,276 pieces of eight.  They threw the Spanish priest overboard after shooting him.  Dampier omitted this detail from his journal, but Ringrose condemned “such cruelties,” but kept his silence.

Arguments again broke out.   Sharp often gambled with his men, winning their profits from the voyage.  Some of the crew wished to return to the Caribbean.  They convened a council, deposed Sharp as captain, and put him in the brig.  They elected John Watling captain, who decided to attack another fort.  This proved an unsuccessful venture, and the pirates retreated in disorganized fashion, allowing the Spanish to crush some with boulders and fire upon those still standing.  Only half the pirates returned to their ships, but Watling wasn’t with them.  He died; the Spanish paraded his impaled head around the town.  Also left behind were three surgeons, leaving Wafer the only one to tend the pirates.

Since most men wouldn’t accept Sharp as captain, the pirates split up again.  Ringrose went with Sharp aboard the Trinity.  Dampier and Wafer followed John Cook, a “very intelligent person,” “a sensible man.”  On 17 April 1681, they sailed north in canoes with forty-one others to trudge back over the isthmus.  Unfortunately, they began their six-hundred-mile trek at the start of the rainy season, when violent and relentless rain made the tangled jungle almost impossible to cross on foot.  According to Dampier, they decided that if anyone faltered, he would be shot to prevent him from divulging their location should he fall into the hands of the Spaniards.

While they rested at an Indian plantation, disaster struck.  Lionel Wafer sat “on the ground near one of our men, who was drying off gun powder in a silver plate, but not managing it as he should, it blew up, and scorched my knee to that degree, that the bone was left bare, the flesh being torn away, and my thigh burnt for a great way above it.” (Preston, 85)  Even though in great pain, Wafer refused to remain behind.  Dampier wrote, “…he was not able to march; wherefore we allowed him a Slave to carry his things, being all the more concern’d at the Accident because liable our selves every Moment to Misfortune, and none to look after us but” Wafer, a surgeon.

The trek took a heavy toll on the pirates.  Fear of capture.  Not trusting their guides.  Flash floods.  Rolling thunder claps.  Swollen rivers.  Leeches.  Oozing mud.  Stinging rain.  When they reached a Kuna village, they left Wafer and two others behind.  On 24 May they finally reached the Caribbean coast, where they met up with Coxon and resumed raiding Spanish vessels and settlements.

At one point Dampier transferred to a French pirate ship that lacked sufficient crew to sail her.  Since he believed in hard work, his new shipmates appalled him.  “[They were] they saddest creatures that ever I was among; for though we had bad weather that required many hands aloft, yet the biggest part of them never stirred out of their hammocks but to eat or ease themselves.”  Before long he insisted on another transfer, which was his right since pirates “are not obliged to any ship, but free to go ashore where they please, or to go into any other ship that will entertain them, only paying for their provision.”

In August 1681, a canoe approached the fleet.  Dampier recognized four of the five men as two left in the village and two cut off by rising waters and presumed dead.  The other appeared to be a tattooed Indian.  “Mr. Wafer wore a Clout about him, and was painted like an Indian; and he was some time aboard before I knew him.”

By July of the following year, Dampier was in Virginia.  He kept no record of his activities there, although he mentioned “troubles,” which may mean he spent at least part of time in jail.  When John Cook and Lionel Wafer arrived in April 1683 aboard the Revenge, Dampier was eager to seek new adventures.  “They went for Virginia with their prizes; where they arrived the April after my coming thither.  The best of their prizes carried eight guns; this they fitted up there with sails, and everything necessary for so long a voyage; selling the wines they had taken for such provisions as they wanted.  Myself, and those of our fellow-travellers over the Isthmus of America, who came with me to Virginia the year before this…resolved to join ourselves to these new adventurers…So having furnished ourselves with necessary materials, and agreed upon some particular rules, especially of temperance and sobriety, by reason of the length of our intended voyage, we all went aboard our ship."

This time the pirates would cruise the South Sea along the coast of Chile and Peru.  On 23 August they set sail for the Cape Verde Islands.  Off the coast of Africa they seized a forty-gun ship from the Danes and renamed her Bachelor’s Delight.  Mid-November found them sailing across the Atlantic for the Strait of Magellan.  The weather was stifling, and the only relief came from tornadoes.  They lacked fresh food; the men fell ill.  They finally sighted the Falkland Islands in late January 1684.

One of their land bases was the Galapagos Islands, located about six hundred miles west of Ecuador.  Fresh water and meat was abundant, as were “salading vegetables.”  Dampier investigated the flora and fauna and recorded what he saw, which eventually provided readers with the first detailed English account of the islands.  When he journeyed to the island about 150 years later, Charles Darwin used Dampier’s books.

When Captain Cook died, Edward Davis assumed command, and in September the pirates sailed for Peru.  Near Plata they met up with Captain Charles Swan of the Cygnet.  On board was Dampier’s former comrade, Basil Ringrose.  In May they encountered the Lima treasure fleet.  The pirates intended to take the wealthy cargo, not knowing the Spanish had already offloaded it.  Dampier wrote of the battle, “The Spanish admiral and the rest of his squadron began to play at us, and we at them, as fast we could.  They might have laid us aboard if they would; but they came not within small-arms shot, intending to maul us in pieces with their great guns.”  The pirates, however, had the advantage “being to windward of the enemy, we had it at our choice, whether we would fight or not.  It was 3 o’clock in the afternoon when we weighed, and being all under sail, we bore down right afore the wind on our enemies, who kept close on a wind to come to us; but night came on without anything except the exchanging of a few shot on each side.”

During the night, the pirates kept windward of the light from the Spanish flagship.  The light vanished from time to time, but always reappeared.  At dawn they discovered the light actually came from a Spanish barque.  “In the Morning, therefore, contrary to our expectation, we found they had got the Weather-gage of us, and were coming upon us with full Sail, so we ran for it, and after a running Fight all day, and having taken a turn almost round the Bay of Panama, we came to Anchor again at the Isle of Pacheque, in the very same place from whence we set out in the Morning.  Thus ended this day’s Work, and with it all that we had been projecting for five or six Months; when instead of making our selves Masters of the Spanish Fleet and Treasure, we were glad to escape them; and owed that too, in a great measure, to their want of Courage to pursue their Advantage.”

By August 1685, the pirates again split forces.  Davis wished to remain around Peru, but Swan wanted to head north to Mexico.  Wafer stayed with Davis, but Dampier joined Ringrose aboard the Cygnet.  “I had till this time been with Captain Davis, but now left him, and went aboard of Captain Swan.  It was not from any dislike to my old captain, but to get some knowledge of the northern parts of this continent of Mexico.  And I knew that Captain Swan determined to coast it as far north as he thought convenient, and then pass over for the East Indies, which was a way very agreeable to my inclination.”

In February Dampier fell ill and stayed behind when the buccaneers attacked Santa Pecaque.  Although successful, Swan learned Spanish soldiers were headed for the silver-mining town to capture the pirates.  He tried to get the men to depart with haste, but they wanted to take all their plunder with them.  The Spanish ambushed them, and 54 died.  Swan later came upon the slain bodies.  He later told Dampier, they were “stript, and so cut and mangl’d, that he scarce knew one man.”  Among the dead was his “ingenious friend Mr. Ringrose [who] had no mind to this voyage; but was necessitated to engage in it or starve.”

The pirates decided to head for Guam.  The voyage would take fifty-one days.  Since they only had provisions for sixty days, they rationed themselves to half a pint of maize per man each day.  “There was not any occasion to call men to victuals being made ready at noon, all hands were aloft to see the quartermaster share it, wherein he had need to be exact, having so many eyes to observe him.  We had two dogs and two cats aboard, they likewise lived on what was given them, and waited with as much eagerness to see it shared as we did.”  When one man was caught stealing extra rations, each pirate gave him three lashes across his bare back.  “Captain Swan began first, and struck with a good will; whose example was followed by all of us.”

Dampier recorded the course, distance, latitude, wind, and weather for each day.  For almost five thousand miles they saw neither fish nor bird.  Tedium was the norm, and the crew became restless.  Then on 20 May, they sighted land.  “It was well for Captain Swan that we got sight of it before our provision was spent, of which we had enough for three days more, for, as I was afterwards informed, the men had contrived to kill first Captain Swan and eat him when the victuals was gone, and after him all of us who were accessory in promoting the undertaking this voyage.  This made Captain Swan say to me after our arrival at Guam, Ah! Dampier, you would have made them but a poor meal; for I was as lean as the captain was lusty and fleshy.”

Three weeks later they arrived in the Philippines, going ashore at Mindanao, which Spain didn’t control.  The pirates spent many months living with the natives, but in January 1687 rumbles of dissension surfaced.  “The whole Crew were at this time under a general Disaffection, and full of very different Projects; and all for want of Action…Teat… persuading the Men to turn out Captain Swan from being Commander, in hopes to have commanded the Ship himself.  As for the Sea-men they were easily persuaded to any thing; for they were quite tired with this long and tedious Voyage, and most of them despaired of ever getting home, and therefore did not care what they did, or whither they went.  It was only want of being busied in some Action that made them so uneasie; therefore they consented to what Teat proposed, and immediately all that were aboard bound themselves by Oath to turn Captain Swan out, and to conceal this Design from those that were ashore, until the Ship was under Sail; which would have been presently, if the Surgeon or his Mate had been aboard; but they were both ashore, and they thought it no Prudence to go to Sea without a Surgeon….”  On 14 January the mutineers set sail aboard the Cygnet, forcing Dampier and the surgeon, Henry Coppinger, to accompany them, leaving the captain and thirty-six others behind.

They aimlessly cruised the Philippines, the Mekong River, and the Gulf of Thailand in search of treasure.  In May Coppinger tried to escape, but the pirates recaptured him.  They resumed their voyage, sailing the South China Sea, returning to Mindanao in October, then proceeding to Timor, Sulawese, and Buton Island.  Early January 1688 found them at Australia, where they stayed until mid-March.  When they arrived at the Nicobar Islands in early May, Dampier convinced the pirate captain to let him go ashore.  His liberty was short-lived because Herman Coppinger and two other crewmembers also wanted to leave.  When Dampier returned, arguments ensued.  The upshot was that he and two others were allowed to leave, but the pirates refused to sail without their surgeon.

After Dampier left the pirates, he wrote, “[I made] very sad reflections on my former life and looked back with horror and detestation on actions which before I disliked, but now I trembled at the remembrance of.”  On 20 May, Dampier arrived at Sumatra, suffering from dysentery.  In July he traveled to Tonkin, where he spent several months touring the northern part of Vietnam.  He learned about the region’s people, customs, plants, and wildlife.

In May 1689 Dampier joined a merchant crew.  After the captain became ill, Dampier took command until they reached Malacca.  The following year he journeyed to Madras, where he took a job as the gunner at Fort York.  When he tired of that job, he attempted to leave, but the governor refused.  On 25 January 1691, Dampier finally squeezed through “one of the port holes of the fort” to escape aboard the Defence.  He spent most of the voyage in ill health.  On 2 July, the Defence sailed from St. Helena and ten weeks later, and more than twelve years since he had left England, Dampier returned home.

Henry EveryHe only remained ashore about two years.  In 1693 he joined a group of adventurers bound for the West Indies to trade with colonists and recover treasure from sunken Spanish ships.  One of his mates was a man named Henry Every.  In May 1694, Every and 84 others seized one of the ships, renamed her Fancy, and sailed off to become pirates.  The original expedition never reached the Caribbean, and Dampier returned to England in February 1695.  He tried to collect back pay through legal means, but in January 1696, the court ruled he had insufficient evidence and dismissed the case.

Jonathan SwiftThe next year Dampier published his first book, A New Voyage Round the World.  It was an immediate bestseller, and within nine months had gone into three printings.  Dutch, German, and French editions soon appeared.  The Royal Society considered it a “factual, talented, and richly detailed account of people, places, things, plants, fishes, reptiles, birds and mammals.”(Shipman, page 4)  This and his subsequent books influenced other writers, including Jonathan Swift and Daniel Defoe.

Daniel DefoeDampier’s second book, Voyages and Descriptions (1699), provided further detail of his first circumnavigation of the world and his life as a logwood cutter.  It also included a section entitled, “A Discourse of Trade-Winds, Breezes, Storms, Seasons of the Year, Tides, and Currents.”  He was the first to realize that hurricanes and typhoons were actually the same, only their names were different.  Since its initial publication scientists, meteorologists, and mariners have quoted and relied on his information about winds and currents.  Admiral James Burney wrote of Dampier in his Chronological History of the Discoveries in the South Sea, which was published between 1803 and 1807, “It is not easy to name another voyager or traveller who has given more useful information to the world; to whom the merchant and the mariner are so much indebted, or who has communicated his information in a more unembarrassed and intelligible manner.”

In 1698 the Royal Navy made Dampier a captain and gave him command of the Roebuck, a fire ship converted to a fifth rate warship of 290 tons and twelve guns.  This scientific expedition was to explore Australia, then called New Holland.  His second-in-command was Lieutenant Fisher, someone Dampier believed intended to murder him.  Dampier had Fisher caned and locked in his cabin until they reached Brazil, where Dampier left him ashore under the watchful eye of the governor.

The Roebuck eventually sprang a leak on the return voyage and sank off Ascension Island in early 1701.  After four English ships rescued them, Dampier and his crew returned to England in August.  Although absolved of any responsibility for the loss of his ship, he was court-martialed in June 1702 for beating and confining Lieutenant Fisher in leg irons.  “Captain Dampier has been guilty of very hard and cruel usage toward Lieutenant Fisher in beating him on board the said ship and confining him in irons for a considerable time, and afterwards imprisoning him on shore in a strange country, and it is resolved that it does not appear to the court by the evidence that there has been any grounds for this ill usage of him, and that the said Captain Dampier falls under the 33rd Article for these irregular proceedings, and the court does adjudge that he be fined all his pay to the Chest at Chatam…and it is farther of the opinion that the said Captain Dampier is not a fit person to be employed as commander of any of her Majesty’s ships.” (Gill, pages 275-276)

Dampier’s third book, A Voyage to New Holland, was published in two parts, the first in 1703 and the second six years later.  It detailed his government-sponsored journey to Australia, more than a century before Captain James Cook’s famous voyage.  What made his books so extraordinary was that Dampier was the first to visit five of the seven continents, and the first to travel to places unknown to most Europeans.  He also compared and contrasted flora and fauna throughout the world.  He was one of the first Englishmen to visit the Galapagos Islands.  He introduced new words and concepts into the English language.

Although he was a pirate for part of his life, he never glorified what they did.  In fact, he often omitted a lot of details about that aspect of his journey.  He wished to be respectable, an innocent traveler whose curiosity forced him to join in their adventures.  He preferred to consider himself a privateer, which he didn’t actually become until the War of the Spanish Succession broke out in May 1702.  Four months later he led an expedition to Peru aboard the Saint George and Cinque-Ports.  For some reason Dampier decided not to maintain a journal, but others did.  They considered him a poor captain, a drunken coward.  Sometimes he captured prizes, but let them go.  Other times the vessels taken had little of value to warrant the risk.  A raid on Santa Maria failed, and they learned the Spanish knew of their presence.  The two ships parted company after that.

Misfortune continued to plague the expedition.  In September John Clipperton and twenty others mutinied and stole the Dragon, a captured fifty-ton barque.  In December Dampier sighted the Rosario, a Manila treasure ship armed with guns of eighteen and twenty-four pounds.  The Saint George only had five pounders.  Even so, he attacked.  A shot from the Spanish ship removed two feet of the Saint George’s rotten stern planking near the waterline and she had to cease fighting without taking the prize.  The following month thirty-five more men took a captured brigantine as their ship.  That left Dampier with twenty-seven men.  They managed to take the town of Puna, then captured a Spanish ship which allowed them to abandon the Saint George.  When they arrived in the East Indies, the Dutch arrested them.  Eventually, Dampier and his men found passage home, returning there at the end of 1707.

When he made his third voyage around the world, he was fifty-six years old and the pilot for Woodes Rogers.  If the Duke and Duchess captured any Spanish treasure, Dampier would receive eight shares.  They stopped at Juan Fernandez Island and found a marooned Scotsman named Alexander Selkirk.  Dampier recognized him as a sailor from the ill-fated Cinque Ports.  Selkirk had asked to be left on the island because of disagreements with the captain and fears that the ship wasn’t seaworthy.  He never dreamed he would be on the island for four and a half years.

Between September and mid-March they took no prizes, then in the space of a few weeks they captured four vessels.  They raided Guayaquil and secured a ransom of 22,000 pieces of eight and 3,500 in plate.  On 22 December 1709, they captured the Nuestra Señora de la Encarnacion Desengaño, a Manila treasure galleon with twenty guns and 193 men.  After a fierce battle, they took the vessel.  The privateers had slain nine Spaniards and wounded ten.  Only two Englishmen were wounded, including Woodes Rogers.  “I was shot thro’ the Left Cheek, the Bullet struck away great pare of my upper Jaw, and several of my Teeth, part of which dropt down upon the Deck, where I fell…I was forced to write what I would say, to prevent the Loss of Blood, and because of the Pain I suffer’d by Speaking.”

When they searched the seized cargo, they found gold, gems, spices, porcelain, and silks worth about £150,000.  On Christmas they sighted another treasure ship, but the Nuestra Señora de Begoña was too powerful a ship for them to capture.  The battle lasted most of the day.  Rogers “was again…wounded in the Left Foot with a Splinter just before we blew up on the Quarter-deck so that I could not stand, but lay on my Back in a great deal of Misery part of my Heel-bone being struck out, and all wider my Ankle cut above half thro’, which bled very much, and weaken’d me, before it could be dressed and stopt.”  Thirty others were killed or wounded.  Two days later after a council meeting, Rogers wrote, “WE having consider’d the Condition of all our 3 Ships, and that our Masts are much damnified in engaging the Manila Ship, do think it for the Interest of the whole to forbear any further Attempts upon her having no Probability of taking her; but to do our endeavours to secure the Prize we have already took….”

Two months later they arrived in Guam.  On 29 December 1710, they arrived at the Cape of Good Hope.  Little is known of Dampier’s life once he returned to England from this final voyage on 14 October 1711.  At the end of 1714, he was “diseased and weak in body.”  Sometime before 23 March 1715, he died.  How and when remains a mystery, as does his burial place.
 

If you’d like to read more about William Dampier, I recommend these books:

Dampier, Wiliam. A New Voyage Round the World. Dover, 1968.
Dampier, William. Voyages and Discoveries. London: Argonaut Press, 1931.
Gill, Anton. The Devil’s Mariner: a Life of William Dampier, Pirate and Explorer,
     1651-1715. London: Michael Joseph, 1947.
The Life and Adventures of William Dampier with a History of the Buccaneers of America.
     London: Blackie and Son.
Preston, Diane and Michael.  A Pirate of Exquisite Mind: Explorer, Naturalist, and
     Buccaneer. Walker & Co., 2004.
Rogers, Woodes.  A Cruising Voyage Round the World. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Narrative
     Press, 2004.
Shipman, Joseph C. William Dampier: Seaman and Scientist. Lawrence, Kansas: University
     of Kansas Libraries, 1962.
Wafer, Lionel. New Voyage and Description of the Isthmus of America, 1699.
Wilkinson, Clennell. Dampier, Explorer and Buccaneer. New York: Harper & Brothers,
     MCMXXIX.
 


© 2004-2005 Cindy Vallar
Originally published  1 November 2004 through 1 March 2005

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