Jacques de Clerck
(c. 1582 – June
2, 1624) also known as Jacques l'Hermite was a
explorer and admiral
known for his journey around the globe with the Nassau Fleet (1623–1626) and for his blockade
and raid on Callao in 1624
during that same voyage in which he also died. He served the Dutch East India Company as chief
merchant in Bantam and Ambon Island in the Dutch East Indies. The Chilean Hermite Islands near Cape Horn which his fleet charted in February 1624 are named
was born in Antwerp, Dutch Republic (present-day Belgium) around
the year 1582. After the fall of Antwerp in 1585
in a battle with the Spanish Empire,
the family moved north to Amsterdam and later settled in Rotterdam.
He left the Republic in 1606 and spent the
next six years working in the Dutch East Indies. When he returned
to Amsterdam he married Theodora van Wely in 1613.
l'Hermite set sail to the Dutch East Indies as a secretary on the fleet commanded by Admiral
Cornelis Matelief Jr.
where in 1607 he was appointed chief merchant on the Black
Lion ( ).
From 1607–1611 l'Hermite was chief merchant (
) for the Dutch East India Company in Bantam, Dutch East Indies.
After six years working abroad he returned to Amsterdam in the
1623 l'Hermite was commissioned by Prince Maurice of Nassau and the Dutch State
General to lead a fleet of eleven ships known as the Nassau
Fleet ( ) with its flagship Amsterdam, The fleet set
sail on a circumnavigational voyage westwards from Amsterdam to the
western coast of South America with
the objective to hunt down Spanish silver ships leaving Peru and to
establish a Dutch colony in either Peru or Chile, at that time
known as the Viceroyalty of
Although commanded by Admiral l'Hermite the fleet was de facto lead
by his Vice-Admiral Gheen Huygen
and Rear-Admiral Julius Wilhelm Van Verschoor after
l'Hermite like most of its crew suffered from dysentery
during the journey. Early 1624 the fleet
passed Cape Horn through Lemaire Channel and explored and charted the Hermite
Islands. In May 1624 the fleet blocked the port of
Callao and raided the cities of Pisco and Guayaquil, but they were unsuccessful in establishing a
colony and the fleet was forced to continue its voyage westwards
towards the Dutch East Indies.
L'Hermite died on June 2, 1624 during the blockade of Callao after
suffering from dysentry
for months. He was buried on San Lorenzo
Island off the coast of Callao, Peru.
- New Dutch Biographic Dictionary, Hermite, Jr. Jacques l', retrieved May 19,
- Trouw newspaper
archive, Had Hermite gewonnen, dan sprak Peru nu
Nederlands, retrieved May 19, 2009.