Captain David Pieterszoon de Vries was a Dutch navigator from Hoorn, Holland.
In 1617 de Vries went on a whaling voyage to Jan Mayen. In 1620 he sailed to Newfoundland and sold the dried fish in Italy. In Toulon he joined Charles, Duke of Guise. In 1624 he went to Canada again, still in French service. After returning in the Netherlands, the Dutch West India Company put an embargo on his ship. De Vries sold his ship and left for Bayonne.
In 1627 he sailed from Hoorn to Batavia (modern-day Jakarta, Indonesia). On board was Jan Pietersz. Coen only recognized during the trip. From the Dutch Indies he sailed to Masulipatnam.
In 1629, 28 colonists sailed to North America and planted the Zwaanendael Colony in Lewes, Delaware for patroons of the company organized by five merchants from New Amsterdam: Kiliaen de Rensselaer, Samuel Godijn, Samuel Blommaert, Albert Burgh, Joannes de Laet and De Vries. In the next year it became clear the colony Zwaanendael was destroyed. Upon his visit in 1632, de Vries found the settlers massacred and their fort burned to the ground.
David Pietersz. de Vries in 1632
As in the OTL, David Pieterszoon de Vries discovered the Zwaanendael massacre in December 1632. However, in the new timeline, he went to Grantville after returning to Europe. While there, he promoted the idea of a colony in South America, and later became founder and president of the United Equatorial Company.
As head of the United Equatorial Company, he became governor of the colony of Gustavus when it was founded in February of 1634. However, while he was a competent governor, he had little enthusiasm for the mundane work of governing, and generally left the colony in the hands of his cousin Heyndrick de Leifde or Carsten Claus while he went off privateering and/or exploring.
Before the end of February, he took the Eikhoorn, one of the colony expedition's smaller ships, down the Suriname River, where he found the small English Puritan settlement of Marshall's Creek, which the planners of the Gustavus settlement had not known about.[n 1]
In the spring and summer of 1634, he took the ships Walvis, Koninck David, and Hoop from Gustavus to Trinidad and Nicaragua. The goal in Trinidad was tar from the island's Pitch Lake, while Nicaragua was known to have Castilla elastica, a high-yielding species of rubber tree. On the way to Nicaragua, they rescued the survivors of a Spanish attack on a small group of Dutch and English ships and took them to the Puritan colony on Providence Island, off the eastern coast of Nicaragua. They arrived there in May of 1634.
By July of 1634, de Vries and his captains wanted to take more direct action against the Spanish. In that month, along with the Dutch privateer/explorer Abraham Blauveldt and Miskito allies, he traveled up the Rio San Juan and across Lake Nicaragua to attack the town of Granada, which, at that time, had never been attacked. This raid was successful.
After the raid on Granada, de Vries sailed back across the Atlantic, reaching Hamburg in late 1634. He returned to Gustavus in mid-1635, bringing news of the political settlement in the Netherlands.
- In his online author notes for 1636: Seas of Fortune, Cooper notes that the historical de Vries had found a settlement of Englishmen under a Captain Marshall while exploring a "deep river" in October 1634.