Collecting localities



Biographical data


Dampier, William


(Source: Flora Malesiana ser. 1, 1: Cyclopaedia of collectors)

(Source: Flora Malesiana ser. 1, 8: Cyclopaedia of collectors, Supplement II)


Born: 1652, East Coker in Somerset, England. Died: 1715, London, England.



Went to sea when 16 years old; made several voyages as Captain in the Navy and Hydrographer, especially to the South Seas. There is a gap in our knowledge respecting the years 1691-97. He is the discoverer of Miangas (c. 1687) and of the Bismarck Archipelago (1700).

This so-called buccaneer who was notorious with the D.E.I. Company who suspected him of having the intention to claim New Guinea for the English, had an open eye for nature, and at that early date not only brought home a dried collection of plants, but also illuminated an account of his travels with drawings of plants and animals (a draughtsman accompanied the voyage of the ‘Roebuck’), and mentioned many data on useful plants, birds and fishes.1

The genus Dampiera R.Br. was named in his honour.


Collecting localities:2

He left England, sailing in the beginning of 1679,3 to the West Indies, America, Africa, S. America and then proceeding to the East Indies by way of Guam (May 21, 1686); June 2 leaving for the Philippines: Isl. St John (21), Mindanao (22); Jan. 14, 1687 sailing from Mindanao to Manila (Luzon) via Zamboanga; island W of Cebu (Febr. 3-9); Mindoro (Febr. 18-20); Luzon (Manila, 23-25); P. Condor (March 16-Apr. 15), Siam, P. Condor again and sailing from there with destination Manila, but turning up in China through unfavourable wind; Formosa; visiting 2 islets near SE. Mindanao (Oct. 16-Nov. 1) (Miangas ?); E. coast of Celebes (Nov.); P. Boeton (Dec. 6-11) at Calla-Susung (E. coast = Dwaal Bay); sailing for New Holland; Cocos Isls; Christmas Isl. (March 28, 1688); along the W. coast of Sumatra (Apr.) visiting some of the Nassau (= Pagai) Islands (betw. Apr. 12-20), proceeding to the Nicobars, where D. quitted the vessel on account of a quarrel with the captain; May 15 he sailed to Atchin (= Atjeh, N. Sumatra), staying near the mouth of the Passange Jonca (May 20-beginning of June); trips to Tonkin, Malacca (Oct.-Nov., Christmas 1689), P. Dinding (Nov. 1689), Fort St George (5 months in 1690) and Bencoolen (S. Sumatra), where he was appointed gunner of the fort. In Jan. 1691 he secretly embarked to England, arriving on Sept. 16th of the same year, via the Cape and St Helena. -Voyage in the ‘Roebuck’, 1699-1701.4 14 (26) Jan. 1698 (9) sailing from England in command of the ‘Roebuck’, via Brazil to New Holland; in Sept. navigating in the direction of Timor: near Fort la Concorde in S. Timor (Sept. 23-25, 1699), Bay of Coepang (Babao) (27-28); Port. Timor: Bay of Laphao (Oct. 12-21); Dutch Timor: Bay of Coepang (27), Babao (Oct. 28-Dec. 11); the next day sailing to New Guinea which came in sight on Jan. 1, 1700, and where he visited: Mackerels Bay, Freshwaterbay, Gulf of Maccluer and the near P. Sabudi (= Saboeda) (Jan. 16-20); rounding Cape Mabo (W. point of Batante) (Febr. 4); passing through the later Dampier Strait where he visited several small islands (5-8); passing Schouten Island; sighting a large amount of floating botanical material (trunks etc., probably from the Mamberamo!); passing Mathis Islands (25); once more sighting floating material, and then circumnavigating (Febr. 28-Apr. 1) what D. at the outset supposed to be the mainland of New Guinea, but what proved to be a large island, to which he gave the name of ‘Nova Brittania’ (= New Britain), sailing along its north, east and south coast, and then proceeding (Apr. 2) in western direction; passing Schouten Island once more (14); sighting a smoking high mountain on the mainland (17, ? Arfak or ? G. Kwoka); rounding Cape Mabo (18); Ceram (Apr. 26-May 2); Timor: Babao (May 18-22); Java: Batavia (July 4-Oct. 16). On the return voyage the boat sprang a leak, but the crew was rescued; via the Cape and St Helena back to England in 1701.-Voyage in the ‘St George’ and the ‘Fame’, 1703-1707.5 Along the American Pacific coast; in 1704 the expedition separated; the party under Funnel visited Ambon, Batavia, Bantam, Prinsen-eiland (cf. 2nd half of his accounts), Dampier himself in the ‘St George’ was forced to leave that ship, on account of her poor state, near the coast of Peru and proceeded on his voyage in a prize ship; he went ashore in New Guinea and Mindanao (P.I.), sailed along the Talaut Isls, and Batjan (Moluccas), where he and his crew were taken prisoners and transported to Ternate; released in the latter island, they sailed to Batavia (arriving July 26, 1706); back in England at the end of 1707.6-Voyage under Rogers in the ‘Duke’ and ‘Dutchess’, Dampier serving as pilot, 1708-11.7 Sailing from Kingroad (Aug. l, 1708), via Teneriffe, the Canaries, S. America, Falkland Isls, Cape Horn, Juan Fernandez, Peru, Galapagos Isls, Mexico, California and Guam; passing New Guinea and the Moluccas on the way to P. Boeton (staying ashore May 29-June 7, 1710), sailing between SW. Celebes and Salajar to Java: Batavia (June 20-July 22), P. Hoorn in the Bay of Batavia (July 23-Sept. 13), back to Batavia again and weighing anchor for the return voyage on Oct. 24; sailing via the Cape, St Helena, Ascension, to England (arriving Oct. 1, 1711).



Some in Herb. Brit. Mus. [BM], acquired with Herb. Sloane (book 94 vol. 11). In Sherardian Herb. Oxford [OXF]: 40 nos, mostly scraps, 18 of which figured in Dampier, A new Voyage etc. (1.c. sub 4), and also reproduced by I. Lee (l.c. sub 2); of 6 specimens it cannot be proved that they originate with Dampier;8 besides from Australia, too from Brazil, Timor, near New Guinea (floating Algae). Dampier handed the plants to Woodward who forwarded them to Ray and Plukenet for examination;9 some plants described by Ray10 and Plukenet (by the latter in Amaltheum Botanicum) are missing in the Oxford Herbarium. Also Java specimens in Sherardian Herb. Oxford [OXF].



(1) cf. ‘Captain W. Dampier as a botanist’ (Gard. Chron. 3rd ser. 15,18941, p.429-430,464).

(2) ‘A collection of voyages’ made by Knapton (London 1729, 4 vols).

E.J. Masefield: ‘Dampier’s voyages’ (London 1906, 2 vols + portr.).

cf. also in J. Burney, A chronological history of discoveries in the South Sea, 4, 1816; I. Lee, Early explorers in Australia, London 1925.

(3) W. Dampier: ‘A new voyage round the world’ (London 1697); transl. into French: ‘Nouveau voyage autour du monde’ (Amsterdam 1701 and 1711, 3 vols).

New edition with introduction by Sir Albert Gray (London 1927).

(4) W. Dampier: ‘A voyage to New Holland, etc. in the year 1699’ (London 1703-09); transl. into French: ‘Voyage de Guillaume Dampier aux terres Australes, à la Nouvelle Hollande, etc. fait en 1699’ (Amsterdam 1705 and 1712, 2 vols).

New edition with Introduction, Notes and Illustrative Documents by J.A. Williamson (1939). cf. also Peterm. Mitt. 602, 1914, p. 223-225, 4 fig.

(5) W. Funnel: ‘A voyage round the world. Containing an account of Capt. W. Dampier’s Expedition into the South-Seas in the ship St. George, in the years 1703 and 1704’ (London 1707).

Dampier himself wrote a protest against some statements of Funnel: ‘Captain Dampier’s vindication for the present of Mr. Funnel’s chimerical relation’ (London 1707); reprinted in Masefield, Dampier’s voyages (London 1906), cf. vol. 2, p. 575-593.

(6) cf. Wichmann, Entd. Gesch. N.G., in Nova Guinea vol. 1, 1909, p. 161-162.

(7) Woodes Rogers: ‘A cruising voyage round the world’ (London 1712); transl. into Dutch: ‘Nieuwe reize naa de Zuidzee van daar naa Oost-Indien, en verder rondom de Waereld 1708-1711 gedaan onder het bestier van W. Dampier’ (Amsterdam 1715).

E. Cooke: ‘A voyage to the South Sea and round the world’ (London 1712).

(8) Prof. T.G.B. Osborn & Mr C.A. Gardner: ‘Dampier’s Australian plants’ (Proc. Linn. Soc. Lond. 151, 1939, p. 44-50); cf. also Journ. Bot. 11, 1873, p. 348: Prof. Lawson, Remarks on plants collected by the voyager Dampier.

(9) cf. Journ. Bot. 77, 1939, p. 95.

(10) ‘A new voyage round the world (1697). Plantae a D. Guilielmo Dampier in Brasilia, Nova Hollandia, Timor et Nova Guinea, observatae et collectee’ (Ray, Hist. Plant., 3, 1704, App. p. 225-226).

‘List of plants collected on the West Coast of Australia, in 1699, by William Dampier’ (Konig and Sims Ann. Bot. 2, 1806, p. 531-532).


biographical data:

Haller, Bibl. Bot., 2, 1772, p. 35-37; Biogr. Index Britten & Boulger in Journ. Bot. 26, 1888, p. 278, and in 2nd ed. by Rendle, 1931; Gard. Chron. 3rd ser. 15, 18941, p. 429-430 and 464; Masefield, Dampier’s voyages, 1906, p. 1-13 and portr.; Maiden in Journ. West Austr. Nat. Hist. Soc. 1909, p. 13-14; Wilkinson: ‘William Dampier’ (Bedley Headed. 1929) (non vidi); W.H. Bonner: ‘Capt. William Dampier buccaneer-author’ (Stanford Univ. etc. 1934); portr. and biogr. in the new edit. of ‘A voyage to New Holland’ (1939) by J.A. Williamson.