ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS
THE 50TH ANNUAL MEETING OF
THE SOCIETY FOR THE HISTORY OF DISCOVERIES
Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
10-13 OCTOBER 2009
ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY BY AUTHOR
Discovering Islam in the New World
“Discovering Islam in the New World” treats the expectation that early 16th-century explorers would encounter Muslims in the New World, and that European settlements would be threatened by Islamic expansion into the waters around Africa and throughout the Pacific Ocean. Through maps, drawings and geographic texts detailing the New World discoveries, my research will demonstrate the expectation that the New World inhabitants had already become familiar with Islam (1492-c. 1552). This analysis will be followed by an examination of the rhetorical constructs employed by Europeans to Islamify disputed territories, thereby creating a parallel between an old world enemy and the European and non-European inhabitants of the Americas.
The Rev. Charles New:
Nineteenth Century Missionary in Eastern Equatorial Africa
Sanford H. Bederman
This paper focuses on the forgotten geographical accomplishments of the Reverend Charles New (1840-1875) in eastern equatorial Africa in the latter years of the 19th century. New went to Kenya in 1863 to assist Thomas Wakefield at his fever-ridden Methodist mission located at Ribe, a short distance from Mombasa. After traveling with Wakefield to the Oromo (also known as Galla) tribal area in eastern present-day Kenya in 1866-1867, New became disenchanted not only with the Methodist effort to convert the Oromo, but also with the very unhealthy Ribe location. Considering the Oromo a “forlorn hope,” he was convinced that the Methodist missionaries should find a safer, healthier site to do God’s work. He decided to investigate the Mount Kilimanjaro region as a possible, more salubrious location for a new mission. He traveled to Kilimanjaro in present-day Tanzania in 1871, and again in early 1875. Tragically, he died of dysentery while returning to Ribe from his second journey. He was 35 years old.
As an explorer, New is noted for being the first European to ascend to the snow line on Mount Kilimajaro, which he accomplished in 1871. In the one book he wrote, Life, Wanderings, and Labours in Eastern Equatorial Africa (1873), New had much to say about the geography of the Kenya coast north of Mombasa, and he took strong issue with William Desborough Cooley on many of his earlier comments about the same area New had recently explored. Much of New’s concern was to defend the geographical descriptions of the coastal region stated by Ludwig Krapf (the pioneer missionary and European explorer of Eastern Africa), which Cooley had derided. Virtually unschooled, New ridiculed one of England’s distinguished geographers. Cooley, a controversial contrarian of some repute, was the founder of the Hakluyt Society. New wrote his book while on leave in Britain in 1872, and after being recommended by Henry Bartle Frere (a noted diplomat and anti-slavery advocate), he was named “Corresponding Member” of the Royal Geographical Society, joining David Livingstone with that special title. He gave numerous anti-slavery lectures in England, and because he was a talented linguist in East African tongues, he was invited in 1872 to join the RGS relief mission to rescue David Livingstone, but this venture was abandoned. Even though the search for Livingstone was aborted, New experienced an inexplicable contretemps (later resolved) with Henry Stanley concerning the leadership of that mission.
The Sad Fate of Joseph Bannistre, Pirate, 1687
Joseph Bannister was an English sea-captain who commanded The Golden Fleece, a 40-gun merchant vessel engaged in the transatlantic run from London to Port Royal, Jamaica during the early 1680s. For some reason which remains obscure, in June 1684 he ran away with his ship, picked up about 100 hands from the wilder parts of the island, and obtained a French commission as a privateer.
This first venture did not last long, because in July he was captured in the Cayman Islands by a Royal Navy frigate, and brought back to Port Royal. His trial then ensued, but a Port Royal jury refused to sentence him, and in February 1685 on a dark night he took his ship and slipped out of Port Royal, narrowly avoiding the guns of Fort Charles. He then resumed his piratical career, with much more success than formerly.
The governor of Jamaica was exasperated by Bannister’s depredations, and when in June 1686 he heard that the pirate was on the careen in what is now the Dominican Republic, he sent two frigates out after him. They found Bannister in Samana Bay, and in a fierce fight virtually destroyed the upper work of The Golden Fleece; Bannister, however, escaped, using a small French vessel that the frigates could not reach.
Now, though, his situation was perilous; he was reduced to living among an Indian tribe on the Mosquito Coast, where he was captured by the captain of yet another frigate sent after him in December 1686. The frigate then returned to Port Royal on 28 January 1687, “with Captain Banister and three of his consorts hanging at the yard-arm.”
This story throws a good deal of light on the nature of piracy in the seventeenth-century Caribbean, including the way in which crews were recruited, the nature of local support, the kind of merchant ships that were attacked, and the ability of local authorities to take active steps against pirates.
Roanoke after Raleigh
Phillip Evans, Eric Klingelhoder, and Nicholas Luccketti
The history of the discovery the Outer Banks of North Carolina and its adjacent tidewater region has focused primarily on Sir Walter Raleigh’s Roanoke voyages and England’s first attempted American colonies in America at Roanoke Island. Great public interest has been directed toward the mystery of the “Lost Colony,’ last seen in 1587, but no longer on Roanoke in 1590. The early settlers and discoverers at Jamestown, including John Smith, sought information both on the disappearance of the 1587 colonists and the whereabouts of any survivors in the first decade of the 1600s. Nearly a hundred years after the inception of the mystery in 1590, English settlers, herders and fisherman returned to the region and the island. In the first decade of the 18th century, explorer John Lawson visited the site of the old colonial fort and remarked upon both the site and the mystery. New archaeological discoveries at Roanoke Island offer significant evidence, not to the “Lost Colony” mystery per se, but of late 17th century and early 18th century settlement on the site of the long abandoned Elizabethan Roanoke colonies. Archaeological excavations of the site also indicate that the 16th -18th century land surface was covered near the beginning of the 19th century with a thick (two to ten feet) and now wooded layer of windblown sand and dunes.
Marvels and Pleasing Thoughts:
Practicing Natural History at the Cape of Good Hope, ca. 1740
This paper focuses on the work of Peter Kolb (1675-1726), a German astronomer and mathematician who wrote the first comprehensive description (840+ pages) of the Cape of Good Hope in the early eighteenth century: Caput Bonae Spei Hodiernum (Nuremberg, 1719). Kolb’s work was translated and abridged several times, and became the major authority on everything to do with the Cape shortly after its publication. Perhaps the most important aspect of this book is its positive depiction of the indigenous peoples of the Cape, the Khoikhoi (known then as the Hottentots). The argument presented in this paper is rooted primarily in the first section of Caput Bonae Spei Hodiernum, where Kolb offers a lengthy discourse on the Physicalia of the Cape, including an alphabetical description of the animals found there, followed by the birds, fish, snakes and insects, minerals, indigenous and exotic plants, and so forth. Few scholars have worked with the natural history sections of this book, but these chapters are essential for understanding Kolb’s agenda as a whole. Kolb continued to understand himself within European paradigms of the learned life, but at the same time he was uniquely situated to explore an exotic landscape and interact with the Khoikhoi, an opportunity that very few other European writers enjoyed.
Kolb lived before the great classifiers like Linnaeus and his students, and his observations are somewhat peculiar in nature, as he sought to be methodologically formal or scientific, but at the same time to create a living picture of the plants and animals of the Cape. I argue, first, that these descriptions were an integral part of Kolb’s program of promoting positive understandings of the Khoikhoi. Second, Kolb was concerned with keeping his name circulating among those he saw as his peers; this paper demonstrates how he maintained contacts in the Republic of Letters, through writing letters and collecting a wide variety of objects. Third, and crucially, I use Kolb’s description of baboons to investigate how his position in the colony fundamentally shaped his views of the world around him. On the one hand, his description of the baboons is based on unique human interactions (with the Khoikhoi especially); on the other, the conclusions he draws fit into wider contemporary arguments about the place of human beings in the world.
This previously unpublished paper draws on the original research I did for my dissertation, “Primitive Man and the Enlightened Observer: Peter Kolb Among the Khoikhoi” (University of Minnesota, 2005). The main source is Kolb’s own book, but I also draw on manuscript sources and the published works of other eighteenth-century travelers. I want to speak about Kolb’s fascinating work on the natural history of the Cape at this particular conference because Kolb was a contemporary of John Lawson, whose work on the natural history of North Carolina must share many similar concerns.
La Peyrère's map of the Northwest and its Consequences”
Donald D. Hogarth
The first edition of La Peyrère's Relation du Groenland was published anonymously, in French (Paris, 1647). The book gained instant popularity, and soon additional French editions, as well as translations into German, Dutch, Danish and English appeared (before 1740 twelve in all). Each text was illustrated with a map, extending from Spitsbergen, through Greenland and Baffin Island to Hudson Bay. Coastal outlines were mainly those shown by Jens Munk (1624). Munk's "Winter Haven", in his text but not his map, was dubbed Nova Dania. England's toponymy had been replaced by that of Denmark. However, two German translations of the Relation (Hamburg, 1674; Nürnberg, 1679) had recognized on their maps, the names of both King Christian and Henry Hudson for their strait and bay. Nevertheless, La Peyrère's Nouveau Danemarc (or a linguistic equivalent) appeared in distinct print on all map editions of the Relation, and covered the entire west side of Hudson Bay. Munk had been the instigator, La Peyrère the amplifier and publicist. The transgression of land explored by English navigators must have infuriated the British. La Peyrère's map, replete with errors, retarded cartography of the north by about 150 years, but contributed to sovereignty over what was to become Canada's Nunavut Territory.
Nineteenth-Century “Lady Traveller” or African Explorer?
Inspired by the tales of the great explorers of her day, Alexandrine “Alexine” Tinné (1835-1869), along with her mother and aunt, joined the search for the source of Egypt’s Nile River in the early 1860s. Alexine spent several years in Africa exploring the White Nile and its tributary, the Bahr-el-Ghazal in the Sudan, before setting off on her last adventure, an attempt to be the first woman to cross the Sahara Desert from the north to the southwest. Killed by Tuaregs in the Sahara at age thirty-three, this goal was never accomplished. Alexine is listed as both “lady traveller” and as “explorer” in many contemporary reports as she did not follow the regular pattern of exotic travel for a lady of her time nor did she fit the contemporary ideal of an African explorer. The wealthiest heiress in the Netherlands at the time she had the funds and the connections to explore Africa as much as (or more so than) any of her male counterparts. The aim of this paper is to show how Alexine, with support from her mother, Henriette van Cappellen, was able to make a place for herself in the nineteenth-century exploration of Africa.
The Place of Memory in Un Francais en Virginie
Some who have experienced diaspora have glorified their homeland, creating idealized versions of their home country. In few cases, however, have these unwilling travelers allowed their reconstruction of home to determine the course of their travels to the extent as does Durand de Dauphiné in his travel narrative, Un Français en Virginie. In so doing, Durand creates a narrative in which he pays subtle but constant homage to his native province of Dauphiné, suffering hardship and deprivation, finding only one place among the colonies sufficiently hospitable to offer momentary relief: inland Virginia. Durand's unbroken attachment to his homeland is symbolized by the "hardes" (baggage) that he takes everywhere, from his estate to Marseilles, to Livourgne, to Spain, to London, to several places in Virginia, back to London, and, one presumes, to his ultimate destination in Switzerland. Though these "hardes" are never described in any detail, they are sufficiently cumbersome to warrant their own room that he is compelled to rent for them in Virginia. In fact, it is the fate of these 'hardes" that serves as the climax of his narrative, their miraculous recovery starting him back on his road to settling in his final destination. Though he suffers great loss of friends, family, valet, servants, language, religious practice, and identity, it is the potential loss of these goods that brings him literally to his knees in despair.
In this paper I offer a close reading of Un Français in the context of other Huguenot diaspora narratives, underscoring the role memory plays in driving Durand's journey, as well as the limits his memories of his homeland place on his opportunities to choose a new life. As Timothy Dow Adams has expressed it, "...autobiography is an attempt to reconcile one's life with one's self." In the case of Durand, the attachment he maintains between Dauphiné and his sense of self, serves to determine the course of his life after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. In structuring his narrative as determined by his memories of climate and topography, Durand’s differs from other Huguenot narratives that center around religion or language as the key to re-establishing community. The affective geography of Virginia that Durand creates in accordance with his specialized memories of Dauphiné informs his decision to be an emigré or an exilé, confirmed by the miraculous return of his goods. In so doing, he anticipates numerous future travelers forced against their will to abandon hearth and family, choosing to find providential guidance in the memories of home.
How William C. Coker can solve the Columbus Landfall Question
In 1905, William C. Coker, then an associate professor at Chapel Hill, contributed a detailed chapter on "The Vegetation of the Bahama islands" to George Shattuck's comprehensive 600-page natural history of this island chain. Coker's section on "Indigenous Trees and Shrubs useful for their wood or Leaves" is also useful for comparing Long Island and Andros as alternative candidates for the third island discovered by Christopher Columbus. Coker's Bahama list includes nine larger tree specimens, all but one of which thrive in the soggy environment of Andros Island, while only a single specimen survives in Long Island's arid limestone. Of particular interest is the Mastic Tree, unambiguously identified by Columbus while inspecting his third island of discovery. Coker restricts the distribution of this tree to the northern Bahama Islands, including Andros while excluding it from his Long Island listing. All of the several other natural history observations in Shattuck's book also strongly favor Andros as the third island discovered by Columbus.
Demarigny’s Map of the Lower Mississippi Valley (1743) in the
Context of French Presence and Expansion in Southeast North America
Anthony Páez Mullan
In the collections of the Library of Congress is an important French military map of the lower Mississippi River valley dated 1743. The large scale manuscript map includes the routes of surveys taken by three French engineers, Broutin, de Vergs, and Saucier between 1736 and 1740. The routes of the surveys are indicated by dotted red lines with capital letters which are explained in lengthy legends on each side of the map. This map is signed by Antoine Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville, Broutin’s stepson. It is closely based on an earlier map (1740) with the same title by the three engineers and signed by them.
The Chickasaw nation centered in northeast Mississippi was an almost constant source of irritation and threat to the sparsely populated French colony of Louisiana. That Indian nation was frequently allied with the English; also Chickasaws often sold other Indian captives taken in war as slaves to the English. In 1736, Governor Bienville led a French force up the Tombigbee River and suffered a crushing defeat by the Chickasaws. Immediately afterward, Bienville began planning for a second campaign against the Chickasaws. He sent out survey parties primarily to determine the best (quickest and safest) route for a large military contingent (with considerable provisions, armaments, and equipment) to reach the Chickasaw nation from either New Orleans or Mobile. Bienville wanted to wage war on the Chickasaws in order to stop British trade and influence in the region.
The Demarigny map is a superior example of the latest developments in French cartography as expounded by Buchotte, Ozanam, and others who produced manuals for the standardization of design in military and civilian maps, plans, and architectural drawings of the mid- eighteenth century. The map is precise and clear and shows rivers, streams, and the elevation around and between them, in detail. This was a significant feature of the map as the map legend and various reports indicated that heights and bluffs along and between the rivers were a source of difficulty for building a road toward the hostile Indian nation. In addition, it shows the precise locations of Native American villages, especially of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations.
In this paper, I will consider the map in relation to the various mémoires, comptes-rendus, correspondence, reports, drawings and other documents produced by Governor Bienville and by the engineers themselves and sent to the French ministry responsible for Louisiana. These documents bring to light the distances traveled by the engineers, difficulties of the terrain, and relations with native peoples. Much of this material is housed in the Archives nationales de France. While some of it has been published, it has not been discussed in relation to the map. In addition, I will also consider three manuscript documents housed in the Newberry Library: (1) a journal of Dumont de Montigny, a French military officer who includes an account of the first expedition against the Chickasaws and an account of the second expedition as related to him by Jesuits, (2) orders and accounts of John Dart, an English trader among the Chickasaw nation at the time of the second campaign, and (3) a detailed memorial by two English traders who were in Chickasaw country at the time of the second French attack.
Indeed the map was an integral part of a large, well-planned effort by the colonial administration to defeat or render irrelevant the Chickasaw nation, an ally of the British (the Chickasaws were also strategically located in northeast Mississippi where they could disrupt convoys between New France and Louisiana). Further this map exhibits the extent of the French presence in the Southeast and military activity in the form of survey expeditions.
Allegorical Appropriation and Improvisation
in the Relacion [of Cabeza de Vaca]
Ann M. Ortiz
The Relación, which in later edited editions was retitled the Naufragios, has been read as a circular journey in which Cabeza de Vaca undergoes arduous spiritual and physical transformations (Invernizzi de Santa Cruz 1987). The text defies strict categorization into any academic discipline or literary genre and invites, rather, an interdisciplinary approach in discovering its multifaceted content. Artistic, literary, and cinematic depictions of this epic journey range from the fantastic-- as exemplified in Walter B. Henderson's epic poem, The New Argonautica, (London: 1928) about the “stellar” spiritual journeys of Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake and Ponce de Leon -- to literary-historical commentaries concerning its reliance upon models of Biblical and Classical Antiquity. In this paper I will focus on a literary and New Historical approach and suggest that Cabeza de Vaca survived his ordeal by cultivating a pragmatic, teleological (after the fact), and action-based faith rooted in his own Christian and Spanish worldview.
Teleology in Greek designates the study of design, end, and purpose. Likewise, a teleological narrative such Relación holds that at all things that happen within the story are designed for and point toward a final result. Prophetic writings in the Biblical tradition likewise point to inherent reason or final cause in the details and actions described within their scope. The teleological vision of faith and action permeates the journey narrative and brings to light a belief system rooted in richly historical and allegorical tropes (themes in storytelling) and signs particular to the Biblical discourse describing the Prophet (especially with regards to his concern for social justice), Augustinian Semiotics, and Pauline Typology. (Ortiz 1995, 1997, Lee 1999, Liparulo 2006)
Hayden White in Tropics of Discourse speaks of man’s struggle as one intended to transcend his “inherent primitive wilderness—which is both a relationship and a state---in order to win his kingdom” (White 1992). In the context of his struggle with man and nature in the New World, Cabeza de Vaca, has been cast as a hero (Long 1936; Wojciechowska 1950), a saint, shaman, a type of prophet (Ortiz 1995) and even occasionally as a "picaro" or rogue (Carreno 1987; Maura 22-25). Fernandez de Oviedo in his Historia general de las Indias (Seville, 1535), for example was one of the first writers to cast Cabeza de Vaca as a hero. Having obtained a copy of the Relación of 1526, Oviedo describes his plight in terms of its analogy with epics of Antiquity such as that of Ulysses or Jason. The Relación has been considered by some scholars, especially in the social sciences, as reasonably accurate, although somewhat subjective, and wielding of highly detailed and revelatory anthropological and ecological information (such as is contained within the Adorno and Pautz 1999 edition). On the opposite end of the spectrum are those who consider his work "a pure and genuine imaginary creation” (Maura, 1990). I argue the coexistence in the Relación of reasonably accurate geographical and historic description and pragmatic, faith-based (although sometimes arising from fear) actions. The actions in the narrative are contextualized within Prophetic, Pauline, and Augustinian discourse. In the process exercising pragmatic intelligence to ensure his survival, Cabeza de Vaca also successfully synthesizes action and faith into a coherent whole (praxis). Motivated not only by survival but also by hope and social justice, he most effectively presents his teleological argument for the latter as an end by appropriating allegorical discourse pertaining to Prophetic, Pauline, and Augustine traditions.
The Duchy of Cornwall and Hereford Mappaemundi:
Heritage, Patronage, and Commemoration
This is a tale of two maps, part of which has been told and part of which comes together here for the first time. I have argued that the Hereford world map was presented c. 1287 to Hereford Cathedral by Bishop Richard Swinfield and Canon Richard de Bello for memorial display next to the first tomb of Swinfield’s friend, mentor, and predecessor, St. Thomas Cantilupe, Bishop of Hereford (1275-82). In this essay, I move that argument and others I have made about the Hereford map’s placement and use forward. Building upon fresh research, I show why and how Edmund of Almain, Second Earl of Cornwall and regent of England, commissioned the Duchy of Cornwall map (c. 1286) for his foundation at Ashridge, and how that commission was tied to his devotion to Cantilupe and his desire to memorialize the bishop. Edmund would have found a sympathetic co-commissioner for the Hereford map (c. 1287) in Richard Swinfield, who worked assiduously to have his mentor canonized from his death in 1282 and honored by enshrining his remains in Hereford Cathedral’s Cantilupe Complex — a pilgrimage destination that included as attractions Cantilupe’s first shrine and the Hereford map.
Working biographically and on grounds of date, location and accessibility, I collate for the first time the complex configuration of personalities and circumstances behind these maps’ creation, so as to establish a new vantage point from which we can 1) envision the Duchy and Hereford maps as Edmund’s dual commission; 2) understand why Edmund made an ideal patron and Thomas an ideal dedicatee; 3) embed patron, dedicatee, and maps more securely in a context that has not yet been fully reconstructed; and 4) understand how the Duchy and Hereford maps served as multivalent memorials and complex signs of power and authority.
The Society for the History of Discoveries: The Early Years
Norman J. W. Thrower
Lasalle, the Mississippi, and the Historians
Gene Rhea Tucker
In April 1682 the expedition of René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, reached the mouth of the Mississippi River. Such a feat of exploration should have resulted in the correct cartographic placement of the mighty river, yet in 1684 when he was to return to the mouth of the Mississippi, his expedition landed over four hundred miles west in Matagorda Bay of present-day Texas. Scholars have since debated why La Salle could not find the river that he knew better than any other European. Was La Salle simply a lost explorer who was misled by the imprecise geographical knowledge of his time? Or, did he in fact intend to land past the river, closer to the fabled mining wealth of Spanish-held northern Mexico. The major points of disagreement between scholars concern La Salle’s intentions to either land at the mouth of the Mississippi or west of it, the possibility he deceived the French court and the motives behind this fraud, and the extent his inaccurate geographical knowledge of the Gulf impaired his judgment. Historians have generally fallen into two camps, those who believe he was just lost and those who believe he lied about the river’s location and was on a mission to conquer the silver mines of New Spain. Through an analysis of primary documents, including contemporary maps, the true picture emerges: La Salle was both a lost explorer and a cartographic deceiver.
Underwater Investigations at
Blackbeard’s Flagship Queen Anne’s Revenge
Discovered in 1996 and subject to a decade of on-going research, the Queen Anne’s Revenge shipwreck site, located near Beaufort, North Carolina, is proving to be one the most intriguing underwater archaeological excavation of our times. Artifacts dating to the early eighteenth century blend an interesting mix of English, French, and African material goods, some of which support the vessel’s use as a pirate ship. The trove of artifacts also reveal abandonment behaviors and selection preferences as the men were obligated to hastily leave their sinking ship and make their way into the Carolina backwoods.