Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
His father, Arent Roggeveen , was a mathematician with much knowledge of astronomy, geography, and the theory of navigation as well. He occupied himself with study of the mythical Terra Australis, and even got a patent for an exploratory excursion; but it was to be his son who, at the age of 62, eventually equipped three ships and made the expedition.
Before he set out he had already lived a busy life. He became notary of Middelburg on 30 March, 1683. On 12 August, 1690 he graduated as a doctor of the law at University of Harderwijk, and worked between 1707 and 1714 as a Raadsheer van Justitie ("Council Lord of Justice") at Batavia, Dutch East Indies (now Jakarta). In 1715, he returned to Middelburg.
There he got into trouble because he supported the liberal preacher Pontiaan van Hattem by publishing his leaflet De val van 's werelds afgod. The first part appeared in 1718, in Middelburg, and was subsequently confiscated by the city council and burned. Roggeveen fled Middelburg, and later Vlissingen. Thereafter he established himself in Arnemuiden, and published part 2 and 3 of the series, again raising a controversy.
In August 1721 he left on his expedition, in the service of the Dutch West India Company, to seek Terra Australis. He sailed around Cape Horn and to the Pacific Ocean. He visited the Juan Fernandez Islands, and discovered Easter Island on Easter Sunday, 5 April, 1722 (whereupon he reported seeing only 400 inhabitants). He then sailed to Batavia by way of the Tuamotu Archipelago, the Society Islands, and Samoa. There he was arrested because he had violated the monopoly of the Dutch East India Company, but the Company was later forced to release him, to compensate him for the trouble, and to pay his crew. In 1723, Roggeveen returned to the Netherlands.
After his return Roggeveen published part 4 of De val van 's werelds afgod.
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