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Willem Schouten

Willem Cornelis Schouten (1567?-1625) was a Dutch navigator.

In 1615 he sailed from Texel in Holland, in command of an expedition whose objective was to evade the trade restrictions of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) by finding a new route to the Pacific and the Spice Islands. In 1616 he rounded Cape Horn, which he named for his birthplace, the dutch city of Hoorn. He followed the north coasts of New Ireland and New Guinea and visited adjacent islands, including what became known as the Schouten Islands.

Although he had opened an unknown route, the VOC claimed infringement of its monopoly of trade to the Spice Islands. Schouten was arrrested (and later released) and his ship confiscated Java.