Abel Janszoon Tasman (Dutch: [ˈɑbəl ˈjɑnsoːn ˈtɑsmɑn]; 1603 – 10 October 1659) was a Dutch seafarer, explorer, and merchant, best known for his voyages of 1642 and 1644 in the service of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). He was the first known European explorer to reach the islands of Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) and New Zealand, and to sight the Fiji islands.
Portrait by J. M. Donald, 1903
|Died||10 October 1659 (aged 55–56)|
|Occupation||Navigator, explorer sea captain|
|Children||a daughter Claesje|
Tasman originated from Lutjegast, a small village in the province of Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands. The oldest available source mentioning him is dated 27 December 1631 when, as a seafarer living in Amsterdam, the 28-year-old became engaged to marry 21-year-old Jannetje Tjaers, of Palmstraat in the Jordaan district of the city.
Employed by the Dutch East India Company (VOC), Tasman sailed from Texel to Batavia in 1633, taking the southern Brouwer Route. During this period, Tasman took part in a voyage to Seram Island; the locals had sold spices to other European nationalities than the Dutch. He had a narrow escape from death, when in an incautious landing several of his companions were killed by people of Seram.
In August 1637, Tasman was back in Amsterdam, and the following year he signed on for another ten years and took his wife with him to Batavia. On 25 March 1638 he tried to sell his property in the Jordaan, but the purchase was cancelled.
He was second-in-command of a 1639 exploration expedition in the north Pacific under Matthijs Quast. The fleet included the ships Engel and Gracht and reached Fort Zeelandia (Dutch Formosa) and Deshima.
In August 1642, the Council of the Indies, consisting of Antonie van Diemen, Cornelis van der Lijn, Joan Maetsuycker, Justus Schouten, Salomon Sweers, Cornelis Witsen, and Pieter Boreel in Batavia despatched Tasman and Franchoijs Jacobszoon Visscher on a voyage of exploration to little-charted areas east of the Cape of Good Hope, west of Staten Land (near Cape Horn, South America) and south of the Solomon Islands.
One of the objectives was to obtain knowledge of "all the totally unknown" Provinces of Beach: a purported, yet non-existent landmass with plentiful gold (which had appeared on European maps since the 15th century, as a result of an error in some editions of Marco Polo's works – see the box, right for more information).
This expedition was to use two small ships, Heemskerck and Zeehaen.
In accordance with Visscher's directions, Tasman sailed from Batavia on 14 August 1642 and arrived at Mauritius on 5 September 1642, according to the captain's journal. The reason for this was the crew could be fed well on the island; there was plenty of fresh water and timber to repair the ships. Tasman got the assistance of the governor Adriaan van der Stel.
Because of the prevailing winds Mauritius was chosen as a turning point. After a four-week stay on the island both ships left on 8 October using the Roaring Forties to sail east as fast as possible. (No one had gone as far as Pieter Nuyts in 1626/27.) On 7 November snow and hail influenced the ship's council to alter course to a more north-eastern direction, expecting to arrive one day at the Solomon Islands.
On 24 November 1642 Abel Tasman reached and sighted the west coast of Tasmania, north of Macquarie Harbour. He named his discovery Van Diemen's Land after Antonio van Diemen, Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies.
Proceeding south Tasman skirted the southern end of Tasmania and turned north-east. He then tried to work his two ships into Adventure Bay on the east coast of South Bruny Island where he was blown out to sea by a storm. This area he named Storm Bay. Two days later Tasman anchored to the north of Cape Frederick Hendrick just north of the Forestier Peninsula. Tasman then landed in Blackman Bay – in the larger Marion Bay. The next day, an attempt was made to land in North Bay. However, because the sea was too rough the carpenter swam through the surf and planted the Dutch flag. Tasman then claimed formal possession of the land on 3 December 1642.
For two more days, he continued to follow the east coast northward to see how far it went. When the land veered to the north-west at Eddystone Point, he tried to keep in with it but his ships were suddenly hit by the Roaring Forties howling through Banks Strait. The impenetrable wind wall indicated that here was a strait, not a bay. Tasman was on a mission to find the Southern Continent, not more islands, so he abruptly turned away to the east and continued his continent-hunting.
After some exploration, Tasman had intended to proceed in a northerly direction but as the wind was unfavourable he steered east. The expedition endured an extremely rough voyage and in one of his diary entries Tasman credited his compass, claiming it was the only thing that had kept him alive.
On 13 December 1642 they sighted land on the north-west coast of the South Island, New Zealand, becoming the first Europeans to do so. Tasman named it Staten Landt "in honour of the States General" (Dutch parliament). He wrote, "it is possible that this land joins to the Staten Land but it is uncertain", referring to a landmass of the same name at the southern tip of South America, discovered by Jacob Le Maire in 1616. He continued: 'We believe that this is the mainland coast of the unknown Southland'. Tasman thought he had found the western side of the long-imagined Terra Australis that stretched across the Pacific to near the southern tip of South America.
After sailing north, then east for five days, the expedition anchored about 7 km from the coast off what is now believed to have been Golden Bay. Tasman sent ship's boats to gather water, but one of his boats was attacked by Māori in a double hulled waka (canoe) and four of his men were killed with mere (clubs).
In the evening about one hour after sunset we saw many lights on land and four vessels near the shore, two of which betook themselves towards us. When our two boats returned to the ships reporting that they had found not less than thirteen fathoms of water, and with the sinking of the sun (which sank behind the high land) they had been still about half a mile from the shore. After our people had been on board about one glass, people in the two canoes began to call out to us in gruff, hollow voices. We could not in the least understand any of it; however, when they called out again several times we called back to them as a token answer. But they did not come nearer than a stone's shot. They also blew many times on an instrument, which produced a sound like the moors' trumpets. We had one of our sailors (who could play somewhat on the trumpet) play some tunes to them in answer."
As Tasman sailed out of the bay he observed 22 waka near the shore, of which "eleven swarming with people came off towards us." The waka approached the Zeehaen which fired and hit a man in the largest waka holding a small white flag. Canister shot also hit the side of a waka. Archeological research has shown the Dutch had tried to land at a major agricultural area, which the Māori may have been trying to protect. Tasman named the area "Murderers' Bay".
The expedition then sailed north, sighting Cook Strait, which it mistook for a bight and named "Zeehaen's Bight". Two names that the expedition gave to landmarks in the far north of New Zealand still endure: Cape Maria van Diemen and Three Kings Islands. (Kaap Pieter Boreels was renamed Cape Egmont by Captain James Cook 125 years later.)
En route back to Batavia, Tasman came across the Tongan archipelago on 20 January 1643. While passing the Fiji Islands Tasman's ships came close to being wrecked on the dangerous reefs of the north-eastern part of the Fiji group. He charted the eastern tip of Vanua Levu and Cikobia before making his way back into the open sea.
Tasman left Batavia on 30 January 1644 on his second voyage with three ships (Limmen, Zeemeeuw and the tender Braek). He followed the south coast of New Guinea eastwards in an attempt to find a passage to the eastern side of New Holland. However, he missed the Torres Strait between New Guinea and Australia, probably due to the numerous reefs and islands obscuring potential routes, and continued his voyage by following the shore of the Gulf of Carpentaria westwards along the north Australian coast. He mapped the north coast of Australia making observations on New Holland, and its people. He arrived back in Batavia in August 1644.
From the point of view of the Dutch East India Company, Tasman's explorations were a disappointment: he had neither found a promising area for trade nor a useful new shipping route. Although received modestly, the company was upset to a degree that Tasman did not fully explore the lands he found, and decided that a more "persistent explorer" should be chosen for any future expeditions. For over a century, until the era of James Cook, Tasmania and New Zealand were not visited by Europeans – mainland Australia was visited, but usually only by accident.
On 2 November 1644 Abel Tasman was appointed a member of the Council of Justice at Batavia. He went to Sumatra in 1646, and in August 1647 to Siam (now Thailand) with letters from the company to the King. In May 1648 he was in charge of an expedition sent to Manila to try to intercept and loot the Spanish silver ships coming from America, but he had no success and returned to Batavia in January 1649. In November 1649 he was charged and found guilty of having in the previous year hanged one of his men without trial, was suspended from his office of commander, fined, and made to pay compensation to the relatives of the sailor. On 5 January 1651 he was formally reinstated in his rank and spent his remaining years at Batavia. He was in good circumstances, being one of the larger landowners in the town. He died at Batavia on 10 October 1659 and was survived by his second wife and a daughter by his first wife. His property was divided between his wife and his daughter by his first marriage. In his testimony (dating from 1657) he left 25 guilders to the poor of his village Lutjegast.
Although Tasman's pilot, Frans Visscher, published Memoir concerning the discovery of the South land in 1642, Tasman's detailed journal was not published until 1898; however, some of his charts and maps were in general circulation and used by subsequent explorers.
Tasman's ten-month voyage in 1642-43 had significant consequences. By circumnavigating Australia (albeit at a distance) Tasman proved that the small fifth continent was not joined to any larger sixth continent, such as the long-imagined Southern Continent. Further, Tasman's suggestion that New Zealand was the western side of that Southern Continent was seized upon by many European cartographers who, for the next century, depicted New Zealand as the west coast of a Terra Australis rising gradually from the waters around Tierra del Fuego. This theory was eventually disproved when Captain Cook circumnavigated New Zealand in 1769.
Multiple places have been named after Tasman, including:
Also named after Tasman are:
In The Netherlands many streets are named after him. In Lutjegast, the village he was born, there is a museum dedicated to his life and travels.
Held within the collection of the State Library of New South Wales is the Tasman Map, thought to have been drawn by Isaac Gilsemans, or completed under the supervision of Franz Jacobszoon Visscher. The map is also known as the Bonaparte map, as it was once owned by Prince Roland Bonaparte, the great-nephew of Napoleon. The map was completed sometime after 1644 and is based on the original charts drawn during Tasman's first and second voyages. As none of the journals or logs composed during Tasman's second voyage have survived, the Bonaparte map remains as an important contemporary artefact of Tasman's voyage to the northern coast of the Australian continent.
The Tasman map largely reveals the extent of understanding the Dutch had of the Australian continent at the time. The map includes the western and southern coasts of Australia, accidentally encountered by Dutch voyagers as they journeyed by way of the Cape of Good Hope to the VOC headquarters in Batavia. In addition, the map shows the tracks of Tasman's two voyages. Of his second voyage, the map shows the area of the Banda Islands, the southern coast of New Guinea and much of the northern coast of Australia. However, the area of the Torres Strait is shown unexamined; this is despite having been given orders by VOC Council at Batavia to explore the possibility of a channel between New Guinea and the Australian continent.
There is debate as to the origin of the map. It is widely believed that the map was produced in Batavia; however, it has also been argued that the map was produced in Amsterdam. The authorship of the map has also been debated: while the map is commonly attributed to Tasman, it is now thought to have been the result of a collaboration, probably involving Franchoijs Visscher and Isaack Gilseman, who took part in both of Tasman's voyages. Whether the map was produced in 1644 is also subject to debate, as a VOC company report in December 1644 suggests that at that time no maps showing Tasman's voyages were yet complete.
In 1943, a mosaic version of the map, composed of coloured marble and brass, was inlaid into the vestibule floor of the Mitchell Library in Sydney. The work was commissioned by the Principal Librarian William Ifould, and completed by the Melocco Brothers of Annandale, who also worked on ANZAC War Memorial in Hyde Park and the crypt at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney.
He named the country Staaten Land, in honour of the States-General of Holland, in the belief that it was part of the great southern continent.
Abel Tasman (foaled March 12, 2014) is an American Thoroughbred racehorse. After finishing fifth in her first start at age two, she won her next three races including the Starlet Stakes. At age three, she finished second in both the Santa Ysabel and Santa Anita Oaks before winning the Grade I Kentucky Oaks, the female equivalent of the Kentucky Derby. She extended her winning streak by taking the Acorn Stakes and Coaching Club American Oaks, before finishing the year with second-place finishes in both the Cotillion Stakes and Breeders' Cup Distaff. She was named the American Champion Three-Year-Old Filly of 2017.
At age four, Abel Tasman finished fourth in her first start of the year in the La Troienne Stakes, then rebounded to win the Ogden Phipps and Personal Ensign.Abel Tasman Coast Track
The Abel Tasman Coast Track is a 60 kilometres (37 mi) long walking track within the Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand. It extends from Marahau in the south to Wainui in the north, with many side tracks. It is one of two main tracks through the park, the other being the Abel Tasman Inland Track, which stretches for 38 km between Tinline Bay and Torrent Bay off the main coastal track. The coastal track is well sheltered, and with mild weather in all seasons, it is accessible and open throughout the year.
As one of the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) Great Walks, the coastal track is well formed and easy to follow. It is the most popular tramping track in New Zealand, with most of the approximately 200,000 visitors to Abel Tasman National Park walking at least part of the track. It can be walked independently or with commercial operators with guiding, camping, lodge stay and boat stay options. Following a protected coastline, many people combine walking and sea kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park.
To walk the entire track takes from 3 to 5 days. Single-day walks are popular, as many points are accessible by boat from beaches along the track. The only road access other than the start and end points, is at Totaranui. Commercial water taxi and boat operators operate on a published schedule, and provide pick-up and drop-off services between Marahau and Totaranui. One of the most popular sections for walkers with limited time is from Bark Bay to Torrent Bay (or vice versa), a distance of 7.8 kilometres, which incorporates some steep paths, beautiful views over the two bays and a crossing of the Falls River by a 47 m swing bridge.To stay overnight in the National Park, visitors must use officially recognised accommodations. Independent travellers use DOC campsites and huts that must be reserved in advance during the most popular months. A small number of commercial properties occupy parcels of private land within the boundaries of the National Park and provide lodge-style accommodation. Some backpacker accommodation is provided by boats moored off the coast.
With one of the largest tidal ranges in New Zealand, the coastal track includes some tidal crossings that can only be negotiated at low tide. Independent walkers and sea kayakers need to have information on tides in the area to plan their trips.Abel Tasman Inland Track
The Abel Tasman Inland Track is a 38 km tramping track that runs through the centre of the Abel Tasman National Park and is maintained by the Department of Conservation. It diverts from the main Abel Tasman Coast Track between Tinline Bay and Torrent Bay. Although the coast track has the reputation of being New Zealand's most popular walking track, the inland track is a much less walked route, with regular back-country huts.Abel Tasman National Park
Abel Tasman National Park is a New Zealand national park located between Golden Bay and Tasman Bay at the north end of the South Island. It is named after Abel Tasman, who in 1642 became the first European explorer to sight New Zealand and who anchored nearby in Golden Bay.FV Margiris
FV Margiris is the world's second largest fishing boat. It is a 9,500 GT super trawler and factory ship.Fisherman Island (New Zealand)
Fisherman Island is a small uninhabited island off the coast of New Zealand. It is contained within Abel Tasman National Park.Golden Bay
Golden Bay / Mohua is a shallow, paraboloid shaped bay in New Zealand, near the northern tip of the South Island. An arm of the Tasman Sea, the bay lies northwest of Tasman Bay and Cook Strait. It is protected in the north by Farewell Spit, a 26 km long arm of fine golden sand which is the country's longest sandspit. The Aorere and Takaka Rivers flow into the bay from the south.
It is located in the Tasman Region, one of the territorial authorities of New Zealand.
The bay was once a resting area for migrating whales and dolphins such as southern right whales and humpback whales, and pygmy blue whales may be observed off the bay as well.The west and northern regions of the bay are largely unpopulated. Along its southern coast are the towns of Takaka and Collingwood, and also the Abel Tasman National Park. Separation Point, the natural boundary between Golden and Tasman Bays is situated within the park. Basal part of the spit approaches to the North West Nelson National Park.
It is known for being a popular tourist destination, because of its good weather and relaxed, friendly lifestyle. Its beaches like Tata Beach are popular locations for retirees and holiday-homes.MS Theofilos
MS Theofilos is a passenger/vehicle ferry built at the Nobiskrug shipyard in Rendsburg, Germany in 1975.Marahau
Marahau (Maori: "Mārahau") is a very small settlement in the Tasman Region of the South Island of New Zealand, approximately 19 kilometres (12 mi) north of Motueka. Its location on Tasman Bay and at the southern entrance of Abel Tasman National Park makes it a popular holiday destination for those keen on outdoor activities. People access the Abel Tasman from Marahau by tramping, kayaking and water taxi. In Marahau itself, the beach offers sheltered and safe swimming, and horse trekking is popular throughout the busy summer season.Motuareronui / Adele Island
Motuareronui / Adele Island is a small island off the coast of New Zealand. It is contained within Abel Tasman National Park. In August 2014, the island's name was officially altered to Motuareronui / Adele Island.Motueka Aerodrome
Motueka Aerodrome (IATA: MZP, ICAO: NZMK) is the airport serving Motueka, New Zealand and is owned and managed by Tasman District Council.
The current runway is 729 metres long and 11 metres wide with an asphalt surface. This is an adequate length to operate Piper Navajo aircraft. The aerodrome has no control tower but hangars and refuelling facilities are available.
The following companies operate from Motueka Aerodrome:
Blue Sky Microlight
Motueka Aero Club
Nelson Aviation College
Skydive Abel TasmanThe runway at Motueka Aerdrome is often used by the Nelson Drag Racing Association for drag racing events. In 1984, Motueka Air started scheduled passenger flights from Motueka to Wellington, New Zealand using a Piper Aztec aircraft. Within a couple of years the Motueka Air network had grown to include Nelson, Wellington and Palmerston North using additional Piper Chieftains. In 1988, Motueka Air was renamed Air Nelson and relocated to Nelson Airport.Mount Heemskirk
Mount Heemskirk is a mountain close to the coast of Western Tasmania. It has an elevation of 2,365 ft (721m) above sea level. Mount Heemskirk was the first sighted feature on the island of Tasmania by Abel Tasman on 24 November 1642.The mountain and its surrounding high ground was also known as the Heemskirk mining area in the 1890s and early 1900s (decade) The closest town is Zeehan, about 14 kilometres (9 mi) away.New Zealand State Highway 60
State Highway 60 is a state highway servicing the far northwest of the South Island of New Zealand. Running between the settlements of Richmond (south of Nelson) and Collingwood, it is 116 kilometres (72 mi) long and lies entirely within the Tasman District. It is the northernmost highway in the South Island and is a popular tourist route, servicing Motueka, Abel Tasman National Park, Golden Bay, and Farewell Spit.Ngāti Rārua
Ngāti Rārua are descendants of the Polynesian explorers who arrived in Aotearoa aboard the waka (canoe) Tainui.
Ngāti Rārua stem from the marriage of Rāruaioio and Tūpāhau and find its origin at Kāwhia, Marokopa and Waikawau on the West Coast of the Waikato King Country region.
In 1821 Ngāti Rārua migrated southwards in a series of heke (migrations) led by Te Rauparaha of Ngāti Toa which saw the Iwi relocate to Nelson Marlborough.
Ngāti Rārua tribal lands (rohe) overlap those of Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Tama, Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Apa and Rangitāne
Since the arrival in Te Tau Ihu, Ngāti Rārua have maintained continuous ahi kā in Golden Bay, various locations in the Abel Tasman National Park, Marahau, Kaiteriteri, Riwaka, Motueka, Nelson, and Wairau.Storm Bay
The Storm Bay is a large bay in the south-east region of Tasmania, Australia. (For the bay in British Columbia, see Storm Bay (British Columbia)).
The bay is the river mouth to the Derwent River estuary and serves as the main port of Hobart, the capital city of Tasmania.
The bay is bordered by Bruny Island to the west, the South Arm Peninsula to the north, and the Tasman Peninsula to the east; with its outflow to the Tasman Sea, and thereafter to the South Pacific Ocean.
The first European to reach Storm Bay was Abel Tasman in 1642.Takaka River
The Takaka River lies in the northwest of New Zealand's South Island. It runs north for 70 kilometres, entering Golden Bay near the town of Takaka.
It was reported on 17 January 2007 that the Takaka river is one of a growing number of South Island rivers to have a confirmed case of the invasive river weed didymo.Tonga Island
Tonga Island is a small (0.15 km2) island in Tasman Bay, off the northern coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It lies within the Abel Tasman National Park, about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) off Onetahuti Beach. The island has a flourishing fur seal colony, and is surrounded by the Tonga Island Marine Reserve, which was inaugurated in 1993.
The island is accessible by water taxi or kayak and visible from the Abel Tasman Coast Track.Totaranui
Totaranui is a 1 km long beach and the site of a large campsite in the Tasman Region of New Zealand administered by the Department of Conservation (DoC).
It is located in Abel Tasman National Park toward the northern end of the Abel Tasman Track and is often used as a starting or finishing point for the walk.
Totaranui is noted for the golden colour of its sand, more intense than other beaches in the Park, the result of a high content of orthoclase minerals in the eroded granite sands of the vicinity.Wainui Falls
Wainui Falls is a 20-metre (66 ft) waterfall in Wainui Bay, in the Tasman region of New Zealand. The waterfall is part of the Wainui River and cascades over granite bedrock into a deep pool at its base. It is the largest and most accessible waterfall in the Abel Tasman National Park and the Nelson-Golden Bay area, and can be reached via the short Wainui Falls Track. The track is popular as a day walk among tourists, and while the waters of the Wainui River can be too cold for swimming much of the year, the plunge pool is a favoured swimming hole in the summer months.