Schouten, Willem Cornelis (vĭlˈəm kôrnāˈlĭs skhouˈtən) [key], 1567?–1625, Dutch navigator. In 1615 he sailed from Texel island, Holland, in command of an expedition whose objective was to evade the trade restrictions of the Dutch East India Company by finding a new route to the Pacific. Avoiding the Strait of Magellan, in 1616 he rounded Cape Horn, which he named for his birthplace, 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 East India Company claimed infringement of its monopoly, arrested Schouten (who was later released) and confiscated his ship in Java.
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