Great South Land
How Dutch sailors found Australia and an English Pirate almost beat Captain Cook. On 15 January 1688 - almost 100 years to the day before Captain Arthur Phillip arrived in Botany Bay as commander of the First Fleet - another English ship, the sixteen-gun Cygnet, was running downwind on a gentle breeze while closing on the coast of the same continent. Cygnet, however, was 2000 miles to the north-west of where Phillip would anchor HMS Sirius and go ashore to finally establish the first British colony in the Great South Land. To get to this point, Cygnet had crossed the Pacific from the coast of Mexico to the East Indies with a 140-man crew comprising a bunch of unruly seafarers, young and old ...and pirates all.