William Adams was born in Gillingham, Kent, England back in 1564. His father died when he was twelve so he apprenticed to a shipyard owner. For the next twelve years he learned about shipbuilding, astronomy and navigation before entering the Royal Navy. Serving under Sir Francis Drake he saw action against the Spanish Armada in 1588.
Afterwards, he became a pilot for the Barbary Company, he was sent to find a Northeast Passage along the coast of Siberia to the Far East. That voyage lasted for two years. When he returned he shipped out as pilot major with a five-ship fleet to South America with a goal to arrive in Chile, Peru and other kingdoms. The ships were caught up in a storm and lost sight of each other. His ship arrived in Japan in 1600 after more than nineteen months at sea. The crew were not allowed to leave Japan. He died in Hirado, Kyushu, Japan in 1620, he was 55.
What you may not know about William is that he was the first Englishman to reach Japan, he is also the first ever (of very few) non-Japanese samurai.
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