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stepping stones of maritime history


In 1653, while sailing to Japan on the ship De Sperwer (The Sparrowhawk), Hendrick Hamel and thirty-five crewmates survived a shipwreck on Jeju Island in South Korea.

After spending close to a year on Jeju in the custody of the local prefect, the men were taken to Seoul, in June, 1655, where King Hyojong (r. 1649 to 1659) was on the throne.

As was customary treatment of foreigners at the time, the government forbade Hamel and his crew from leaving the country. During their stay, however, they were given freedom to live relatively normal lives in Korean society.

Hamel and 7 other men managed to escape after 13 years to Japan.

Hendrick Hamel (1630 – 1692) was the first Westerner to provide a first hand account of Joseon Korea. After spending thirteen years there, he wrote "Hamel's Journal and a Description of the Kingdom of Korea, 1653-1666," which was subsequently published in 1668. (source wikipedia)


Type: Yacht
Built: Amsterdam, 1648
Owner: DEIC chamber Amsterdam
Tonnage: 220
Complement: 64, 25 soldiers
Master: Reinier Egbertsz. van Amsterdam


  • DAS 0694.1.
  • Hendrick Hamel museum.
  • Hendrik Hamel.
    Het journaal van Hendrick Hamel de verbazingwekkende lotgevallen van Hendrick Hamel en andere schipbreukelingen van het VOC-schip de Sperwer in Korea 1653-1666.

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