Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Niebuhr, Sigismund

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NIEBUHR, Sigismund (ne-boor), German navigator, b. in Neu-Breisach in 1631; d. in Amsterdam in 1699. He entered the service of the states-general of Holland, and in 1675 was sent to South America on a voyage of exploration. After stopping at Rio Janeiro, he sailed along the coast to the Strait of Lemaire, made soundings to ascertain the depth of the ocean, and prepared a chart that afterward proved valuable. He was shipwrecked in a storm off Los Reyes island, but built there a new ship and determined the exact location of Los Bajos de Esteban, which had hitherto been disastrous to navigators. He located also on his chart several dangerous rocks, and, landing in Tierra del Fuego, had friendly intercourse with the natives, persuading two of them to accompany him to Holland. During the voyage he was obliged to put into Guiana for repairs, and he entered the Zuyder Zee in October, 1677. His narrative was published under the title “Reisebeschryving in de Straat van Lemaire, tot Kaap Hoorn, en langs de kust van Brazilie, on der nomen door de Loods Niebuhr in dienst van de Edele Heren der General Staten” (Amsterdam, 1678).