Dampier, William (1652–1715) English navigator. A farmer's son, he went to sea from the age of sixteen, fought against the Dutch in the 1572 war, toured the seas and from 1675 worked his way round the Caribbean and served as a buccaneer against the Spaniards in central America (1679–81). In the years after 1683 he served first among the pirates, sailing around the coasts of Africa and south America; then from 1686 took part in a daring trip to the Pacific, the Philippines, China and India, returning to England in 1691. His account of his Voyage round the World (1697) became an immediate success, and he was accordingly chosen to lead an expedition to the Pacific (1699–1701) for the British government.