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stepping stones of maritime history


The yacht the Eendracht was originally named the Hoop. It was renamed after the original Eendracht had to be left behind on the Brazilian coast on June 18, 1599. The fate of the new Eendracht enden in the Bay of Manila when the ship is taken on December 14, 1600.

Western Route

Olivier van Noort was the leader of an expedition - also called the Magelhaense Compagnie (Magallan Company) from Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The goal of the expedition was to find an alternative route to Asia that would go westwards. The objective was trade and the taking of Spanish ships. Because of adversity and frustration, the peaceful goal was released more and more. Spanish enemy ships and settlements became the target of attacks.

The fleet consisted of four ships: two large ships of 150 last (the Mauritius from Rotterdam and the Hendrik Frederik from Amsterdam) and two yachts of 50 last (the Eendracht from Rotterdam and the Hoop from Amsterdam).

The official departure was 2 July 1598 but due to adversities they actually left on September 13th.


Things did not go smoothly. After a delay on the African coast they finally crossed over to Brazil on January 8, 1599. They could not find places to drop anchor and get food and water anywhere there. The Portuguese and native resistance was too fierce. Out of necessity they decided to leave the Brazilian coast and to head for the island of Saint, Helena to take in refreshments and spend the winter there (around March 20). Almost everyone was ill and every day men died of scurvy. The sailed towards Africa but could not find Saint Helena.

Rijksmuseum RP-P-OB-80.289


The ships at the Island of Santa Clara, 1599, anonymous, 1646 (printed in the travel journal of OIivier van Noort, Rijksmuseum). The burning of the first Eendracht is depicted.

Finally, around May 21st, they came to two small islands, Martin Vaz and Trinidade. As far as refreshments went, these only yielded seagulls, which turned out to be very tame. They left, looking for the island of Ascencion, of which they knew it had to be somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. I stead of this, the squadron ended up at the Brazilian coast for the second time, this time at the height of Rio Dolce. Because of Portuguese resistance, they also could not land here. The went out to sea again and found a small island off the coast a bit south, Santa Clara, where they anchored on 2 June.

The first Eendracht leaking and left behind

There the Eendracht (captain Pieter Esaias de Lint) which was badly leaking, had to be left behind because it was no longer seaworthy. Goods and crew were divided on the other ships and the Eendracht was set on fire. On June 19th they continued their journey south.

The Hoop becomes Eendracht (2)

On September 19th they arrived at Puerto Deseado in Patagonia. Captain Huydenkoper of the Hoop died of scurvy here on October 5. His successor was Pieter Esaias de Lint, the captain of the former Eendracht. Because of this, the Hoop was renamed Eendracht.

Delays in Puerto Deseado

The ships were caulked while laying in the river and the crew hunted seals and penguins for provisions. In the mean time, they scouted their surroundings. They found traces of human presence but did not see anybody.

Rijksmuseum, RP-P-OB-80.297


Three different examples of local inhabitants of the Magellan Strait, the Island of Capul in the Philippines and New Spain (Central America), 1599-1600, anonymous, 1646 (printed in the travel journal of OIivier van Noort, Rijksmuseum).

On 20 October they saw native people from a distance. Van Noort went towards them with 25 armed men in two sloops. A few miles inland he went ashore. Five men remained behind to guard the sloops.

When the main force went inland, the guards were attacked by natives. Three men were killed. The eye witnesses said that the natives were of a very large stature (van Noort p. 120). From the first European contacts there had been reports of very tall people in Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia.

Towards the Pacific

The journey was resumed on October 29th. They had been en route for 14 months by then and had lost 100 men and a ship.

After much hardships, van Noort succeeded in reaching the Pacific Ocean through the Strait of Magellan, toghether with the Eendracht. They had lost the vice admiral Hendrik Frederik in the mean time. This ship would eventually reach the Moluccas on its own in February 1601.

Meanwhile, the Maurits and the Eendracht sailed north along the coast of Chile and Peru. On a different note: the Mauritius would reach Rotterdam again in the end, making it the first Dutch ship to complete a circumnavigation.

Arrival in the Philippines

Towards the end of October 1600, Olivier van Noort arrived in the bay of Manila with his two ships. This was the headquarters of the Spaniards in Asia. Van Noort knew of the coming arrival of the silver ship San Tomas from Acapulco. There was also much traffic from Macau to Manila. It was child's play for van Noort to intercept many Chinese junks. All in all the ideal circumstances for a privateer.

Manila prepares for battle

At that time, Manila was hardly defended. Ships and soldiers were deployed elsewhere in the archipelago. Governor de Cello hastily named Antonio de Morga as commander-in-chief in charge of organising the defence. Yet de Mora was a lawyer, not a soldier. It took him a month to have two ships ready for battle.

These were the San Diego, a hastily refitted merchantman armed with 14 new bronze and a number of iron cannon, commanded by de Morga himself, and the San Bartolomé commanded by vice admiral Juan de Alceda. Asides from this, there was a third ship and a true armada of smaller vessels.

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam RP-P-OB-75.409

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

The Mauritius sinks the Spanish ship in the bay of Manila, 1600, Benjamin Wright, 1646.

The battle of December 14th 1600

In the end, the Spaniards attacked with the large ships on 14 December 1600. From documents in the Archivo Genreal De Indias in Sevill it becomes clear that the boasting report of de Morga diverges quite a bit from the eyewitness accounts. The San Diego was badly balanced. There were much too many people on board, possibly 500. Furthermore, part of the cargo was still on board and the deck was filled up. To add insult to injury, the heavy guns could not be fired because their gun ports were under water. In short, de Morga was badly prepared and had sailed prematurely because of this.

The San Diego sinks

In this condition, the San Diego left port in the middle of the night and left the San Bartolomé in a state of confusion. The San Diego reached the Mauritius in the morning. Van Noort saw the enemy just in time and had to cut his anchor cable.

He quickly recovered and fired a broadside that hit its mark. The San Diego was damaged. His second broadside also was a on target. The pumps and the rigging of the other ship were badly damaged. By then the San Diego was already at a collision course with the Mauritius and hit her at the height of her poop deck. The two ships became entangled in a position of 90 degrees of one another, making it difficult to board. The Mauritius, with only 54 men on board, was on the verge of being taken.

At that moment, only about 40 men had jumped on the deck of the Dutch ships from the San Diego. The Dutch were panicking and wanted to surrender. A fire had started on the Mauritius, causing de Morga to fear loosing his own ship and he had the boarding lines cut. This turned out to be a crucial mistake. After disconnecting from the Mauritius, the San Diego immediately sank. The men on the Mauritius on the other hand managed to put out the fire and limped out of the Bay. They managed to reach Borneo and even Rotterdam in the end.

The Eendracht

And what befell the Eendracht? After de Morga had left the Spanish port with his ship, vice admiral Alcega followed suit. At sea he saw that de Morga was fighting van Noort and he decided to sail on attack the Eendracht. He reached her and took her. 19 men were taken prisoner and captain Lambert van Biest fell. The crew were taken prisoner and executed as pirated. It is not clear what became of the ship itself.


Captains: Jacob Jansz. Huydenkoper (until 5 October 1599); Pieter Esaias de Lint; then Lambert Van Biest until 14 December 1600.


The San Diego was discovered in 1991 and partially excavated. The finds from the San Diego were part of an exhibition called Gezonken Schatten (Sunken Treasures) in the Museum Princessenhof in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands.

It is unclear what happened to the Eendracht and where she ended her life.


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