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The Oom Karl (Uncle Charles) was a Dutch ship captained by an Englishman named Will Adams. It landed in London in the winter of 1598 after Queen Elizabeth's restoration to power. Lope de Vega, recently released from a makeshift prisoner-of-war camp in the Southwark bear-baiting arena with the help of William Shakespeare, purchased transport to Ostend aboard Oom Karl. De Vega then hoped to return to Spain from there.