Abel Tasman

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Abel Janszoon Tasman (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈaːbəl ˈjɑnsoʊn ˈtɑsmɐn]; 1603 – 10 October 1659) was a Dutch seafarer, explorer, and merchant, best known for his voyages of 1642 and 1644 in the service of the VOC (United East India Company). His was the first known European expedition to reach the islands of Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) and New Zealand and to sight the Fiji islands. His navigator François Visscher, and his merchant Isaack Gilsemans mapped substantial portions of Australia, New Zealand and some Pacific Islands.

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First pacific voyage

Abel Tasman was born in 1603 in Lutjegast, a village in the province of Groningen. He was first heard of at the end of 1631, as a widower living at Amsterdam, where he married Jannetje Tjaers at that time. In 1633 Tasman joined the Dutch East India Company and sailed to Batavia; four years later he was back in Amsterdam. Tasman signed for another ten years and took his wife along to Batavia. In 1639 Tasman was sent as second in command of an exploring expedition in the north Pacific under Matthijs Quast. His fleet included the ships Engel and Gracht and reached Fort Zeelandia (Dutch Formosa) and Deshima. In 1642 he signed a friendly trading treaty with the Sultan of Palembang, Sumatra [2] offering military protection for pepper.


In August 1642, the Council of the Indies, consisting of Antonie van Diemen, Cornelis van der Lijn, Joan Maetsuycker, Justus Schouten, Salomon Sweers, Cornelis Witsen, and Pieter Boreel in Batavia despatched Abel Tasman and Franchoijs Visscher on a voyage of which one of the objects was to obtain knowledge of "all the totally unknown provinces of Beach".[4]

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