William Dampier (1651-1715) grew up in East Coker, just outside Yeovil, Somerset, in the years when Oliver Cromwell established an English presence in the West Indies. Subsequently, Charles II was restored to the throne, London burned, and the Dutch carried their war against England right into the Thames estuary. East Coker was at a distance from all that. He went to a grammar school and acquired enough Latin to be able to explain in that language many years later, to a French priest in North Vietnam, how to make gunpowder. His parents died, possibly from the plague that was rife in those years, and he went to sea, to the chill fishing-banks off Newfoundland, and then to the much more acceptable climate of Indonesia on an East-Indiaman.…
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Mitchell, Adrian. "William Dampier". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 December 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=1124, accessed 25 May 2017.]