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The expedition of Olivier van Noort at the Ladrones


The expedition of Olivier van Noort at the Ladrones

After departing from the coast of New Spain in late May 1600, the fleet of Olivier van Noort decided to cross the Pacific Ocean to seek the Philippines. Along the way they encountered several pacific islands. They deliberately made a stop at the Ladrones islands, which today are known as the Mariana Islands. They arrived at Guam on 15 September and stayed for 2 days to barter for fresh supplies of food and drinking water. On the first day they were fairly successful at obtaining fruits, such as coconuts and bananas, as well as sugar cane and fish. The Dutch gave them old iron for these, which according to Van Noort’s journal was highly demanded by the indigenous people of the island. The trading, however, did not go smoothly as according to Van Noort, many attempts were made to deceive the Dutch and steal items from them. After trying to get more supplies for two more days with poor results, on 17 September the expedition’s council decided to sail on to the Philippines as most of the sick from scurvy were recovering.

The image shows the Dutch ships Mauritius and Eendracht at the Ladrones. The ships are surrounded by canoes of the indigenous people of the island. The island is shown with many hills and trees, but no villages. In the journal the accompanying text says “This is one of the islands of the Ladrones, next to which we sailed. The people arrived with over some 200 canoes around our ship, in each canoe some 3, 4 or 5 men, pushing the others away and shoouting hiero hiero which means iron, much desired with her people. As they crowded around our ship we sailed over them, and they did not ask about this (?) and promptly had their canoes turned up again. These must be arid islands, as they did not bring fresh supplies of much significance. This island lies about 250 miles east of the Philippines.”

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Sources and literature

J.W. IJzerman, De reis om de wereld door Olivier van Noort (1598-1601)