This Day In History: 1644-02-29

Abel Tasman (1603 – 1659) set sail on his second voyage on this day. He was a Dutch explorer who, on his previous voyage, discovered New Zealand and Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania). His second voyage was less eventful, he mapped the north coast of Australia calling it New Holland and made observations about the land and its people. It would be more than a 100 years, until the era of Cook, before Tasmania and New Zealand would be further explored by Europeans with mainland Australia being rarely visited, other than by accident.

Tasman is honoured in the names of more than 400 aquatic taxa albeit at secondhand with just two species appearing to honour him directly under tasmani.