Age of Discovery
During the Age of Discovery from the 15th to the 18th centuries, explorers took to the oceans to seek trade routes, wealth and new lands for their sponsoring monarchs. The published accounts of these ventures, by Commelin and Dampier for example, read like adventure stories of far-off peoples and places and were read widely by audiences at home in Europe. These audiences included subsequent generations of writers, who drew on these works in order to create fictional accounts of unknown civilisations and fantastical beasts via the relatively new form of literary endeavour – the novel. Some stories, such as Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, are located on remote, uncharted islands but based on real events; others, such as Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, reference newly charted lands such as New Holland, whose interiors were shrouded in mystery to European audiences at the time.