• Weird History

14 People Who Disappeared Mysteriously Before 1800

You've discovered a list of mysterious disappearances before 1800. These unexplained disappearances have all remained unsolved, even centuries later, and the odds of any satisfying conclusions all this time later are slim to none. The stories behind these mysterious historical disappearances, are all very different, but they are all tragic and fascinating in their own ways.

  • Photo: Cyclopaedia of Universal History / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Henry Hudson was a sea captain who made multiple attempts to discover the mythical Northwester Passage that would lead to Asia via the North American continent. In 1609, the Dutch East India Company hired Hudson to embark on yet another voyage. He reached the east coast of North America and sailed up the river that presently bears his name as far as Albany, New York

    Hudson attempted another voyage in 1610, taking a more northerly route that ultimately accessed Canada's present day Hudson's Bay. Unfortunately, Hudson's boat became trapped by ice and he and his crew were forced to spend a bitter winter on land, probably near the shores of present-day James Bay. 

    In the spring of 1611, the crew prepared to journey back to England, but decided to mutiny instead. Angry crewmembers cast Hudson, his son, and a few sick sailors into a small lifeboat and into the bay, never to be heard from again. 


  • Photo: Nicola Sanesi / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Spartacus was a first-century Roman slave of Thracian (present day southeastern Europe) descent who lead a lengthy rebellion against ancient Rome. Because accounts of his life and exploits come primarily from ancient Roman historians, his biography is vague and unsubstantiated. He is believed to have been enslaved by Roman legions and confined to a school for gladiators, where he helped lead a successful revolt in 73 B.C. His original group of slaves captured wagons and military equipment, recruited other slaves into their ranks, and plundered the Capua region, near present-day Naples, Italy. 

    Because much of the Roman military was involved in foreign expeditions, Spartacus easily defeated the initial attempts to subdue his revolt and his forces swelled to over 70,000 men. Responsibility for destroying Spartacus was now turned over to the wealthiest man in Rome, Marcus Licinius Crassus, who would lead eight Roman legions of over 40,000 men into battle. 

    Over an extended period, Crassus was able to push Spartacus southward until the rebel force was bottled up in the toe of present-day Italy. Plans to flee to Sicily failed and Spartacus and his rebel force were decisively defeated and decimated in a battle near Senerchia. Although six thousand captives were subsequently crucified by Crassus, Spartacus's body was never found and the exact circumstances of his death are unknown.        

  • David Thomson, The Founder Of New Hampshire, Vanished From History

    They say timing is everything. In 1622, David Thomson received a land grant from the New England Council. His family would the be the first non-natives to establish themselves in the territory. Thomson built a settlement called Pannaway and traded successfully with the local Piscataqua natives. He also fished extensively in the waters surrounding his settlement, and he and his wife spent three winters as the first white settlers of the territory.

    Then, in 1626, Thomson suddenly left Pannaway and moved to an island in Boston Harbor. He established himself to the extent that today this island is still known as Thomson Island. What happened to him subsequently is unknown, but it is believed that he died in 1627 or 1628. 

  • Photo: Antoine Maurin / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Jean-Francois de Galaup Sailed Around The World But Got Lost Somewhere Between Australia And France

    Jean-Francois de Galaup was born in Albi, in southern France, in 1741. De Galaup served in the French Navy the American Revolution. After this, de Galaup had achieved great military success and was promoted to the rank of Commodore. In 1785, Louis XVI appointed him to lead a global French naval expedition around the world, similar to voyages being attempted by Great Britain.

    Two ships, the Astrolabe and the Boussole, were fitted for the voyage, which departed in August of 1785. He managed to pass through Cape Horn, made a stop at Easter Island, and stepped foot on the island of Maui. From here, LaPerouse's remarkably long journey would proceed to Alaska, south to California, Macao, the Philippines, Korea, and Eastern Russia. The expedition then headed to present-day Sydney, Australia. En route, more than ten of his crew members, including the commander of the Astrolabe, were slain in Samoa. 

    LaPerouse arrived in Botany Bay, Australia, in January of 1788. He would remain in Australia for six weeks, before returning for France. Unfortunately, neither LaPerouse nor his men were ever seen again. More than two hundred years later, wreckage found on the island of Vanikolo in the Solomon group was historically verified as that of the Astrolabe and the Boussole. While many theories persist, the disappearance of LaPerouse and his men was never fully explained.