Jan Carstensz

In 1623, Dutch navigator Jan Carstenszoon (more commonly Jan Carstensz) was commissioned by the Dutch East India Company to lead an expedition to follow up Willem Jansz's 1606 voyage in the Duyfken.

Born around 1596 in East Friesland, Carstensz entered the VOC's service and arrived in Bantam in 1616 as the under-merchant aboard the Eastindiaman Trouw

From 1617 to 1619 he was a merchant on Poulou Ai in the Banda Islands. Promoted to upper merchant around 1620. He commanded a company of soldiers when the newly appointed VOC governor-general Jan Pieterszoon Coen set about enforcing a Dutch monopoly over the Banda islands' nutmeg trade and, effectively, eradicating the islands' native population.

Coen then divided approximately half a million nutmeg trees into sixty-eight 1.2-hectare parcels called perken, which were to be operated by Dutch planters (perkeniers) using slaves brought in from elsewhere in the archipelago.

Carstensz resigned from the VOC at the end of the campaign, received ten slaves as a reward for his services and set about establishing himself as a perkenier, but the change was not as lucrative as it had appeared to be. 

In 1622 the Governor of Amboyna, Herman Van Speult offered him the command of an expedition to New Holland in the wake of the aborted mission of the yachts Haringh and Hasewint.

Outward bound

© Ian Hughes 2017