Naturalist

Pirate on the high sea

Pirates Ply the Ocean

Today you can just hop on a plane and be on another continent within a day's time. But a century ago the only way to get from one continent to another was by sea--and...
Buccaneers divide their treasure under the watchful eye of Captain Morgan.

From Plantation to Pirate Ship

Orphaned at an early age, William Dampier whetted his appetite for the sea with several long voyages. He moved from England to Jamaica to help manage a sugar plantation, but that didn’t work out...
Dampier explored this area of Western Australia and named it Shark Bay because of the "abundance" of sharks in the waters. It is now a World Heritage site.

Around the World Again...and Again

After the success of his first voyage, Dampier was made captain of his own ship and invited to lead the first scientific expedition to Australia (then known as New Holland). He was fascinated by...
This 1890 painting of Charles Darwin is on display at the Turin Museum of Human Anatomy.

Famous People Dampier Influenced

In England, Dampier’s bestselling books about his voyages generated a new enthusiasm for travel writing. But his influence extended far beyond his homeland’s borders. Dampier’s detailed natural observations fueled the imaginations of writers and...
As soon as Dampier set foot in Australia, he began making observations and collecting specimens of plants, which he carefully pressed between the pages of books to be studied by the “ingenious” and “curious” upon his return to England. As Dampier conducted his investigations, his artist made detailed sketches like these.

Discoveries in Australia and New Guinea

This slideshow features illustrations of some of the plants and animals that William Dampier, a naturalist and pirate, observed in Australia (then known as New Holland) and New Guinea. Learn more about Dampier in...