François de Wittert

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François Wittert (1571 — 12 June 1610) was an admiral in the service of the Dutch republic.

François Wittert was born in Rotterdam,[1] the son of Hendrik Adriaenz. Wittert and Volckgen Clementsdr. van Overschie. He descended from a prominent family from Rotterdam, members of which still live there today.

He was an officer on the ship Rotterdam, part of an expedition of 14 ships that sailed on 17 June 1602, from Texel under the command of Wybrand van Warwyck, to the East-Indies. His destination was Bantam. Once there, the king of Bantam gave the Dutch permission to build a fort to serve as a Factory (trading post). François Wittert was appointed as its president. He was also the first governor of Bantam from 1603-1605.

After his return to the Netherlands, Witters was appointed as vice-admiral of an expedition of 13 ships, that set sail towards East-India on 22 December 1607 under command of admiral Pieter Willemsz. Verhoeven.

On the 18th of August, presumably 1608, Wittert ravaged Mozambique. He arrived at Bantam in 1609, and went on to erect a lodge on Sulawesi. On 22 May 1609, admiral Verhoeven was killed by the Bandanese, and Wittert succeeded him as admiral. On 22 June the king of Ternate signed a favourable agreement with him. On 22 September Wittert sailed to the Philippines, where he landed on the island Mortir, which he named Nassau, before he sailed for Manila to do battle with the Spanish there in order to remove the Moluccas from Spanish authority. He was able to capture 23 merchants vessels, winning a huge amount of plunder, but he was ambushed in Manila[2] by a superior force on 23 April 1610, and killed. His base of operations was an island called Islas Hermanas near Manila, also called Witterts island. This island was a future point of operations for Dutch expeditions.


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