Notes:Pieter Adriaensz Blanckert: Another survivor of the Liefde’s voyage to Japan

By Gabor Szommer, published November 2021


When the arrival of the first Dutch ship in Japan, the Liefde, in 1600 is examined in the historical literature, one survivor tends to overshadow the rest of the crew, William Adams. Although information about Adams’s early years is very limited, new books about him are published regularly, adding little, if anything, to our knowledge and usually repeating the overly familiar story of the ‘first Englishman in Japan’.1 But there is more to the story than just Adams.

After the first Dutch voorcompagnie expedition to Asia returned in 1597, other such companies hoped to reap a profit from trade with Asia. Among them was the Magelhaense Compagnie, which dispatched a fleet of five vessels, including the Liefde in 1598. En route to Asia via the Straits of Magellan, the fleet was dispersed. Eventually, the Liefde was shipwrecked in Japan in April 1600. The survivors were both unable to and prevented from leaving the country for several years.2

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Filed under: Shipwrecks | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography

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