Summary
Abstracts Meeting Photos Participants

41st Annual Meeting of the Society for the History of Discoveries
October 12-14, 2000
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.


Abstracts


Newport and Capt. Cook’s Ships
D. K. Abbass
Project Director, Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project

The most generally accepted theory for the end of Captain Cook's ENDEAVOUR (of his first circumnavigation) has been that she was abandoned at a wharf in the Inner Harbour of Newport, Rhode Island in 1792 under the name LA LIBERTE. Recent historical research has demonstrated that this vessel was in fact Cook's RESOLUTION (of his second and third voyages). At the same time, the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) has been searching for a fleet of British transports sunk in Newport's Outer Harbour in 1778 during the American Revolution. One of these transports was the prison ship LORD SANDWICH. Documentary evidence recently discovered in the Public Records Office in London proves that the LORD SANDWICH transport was in fact the ENDEAVOUR Bark. This discovery generated intense media interest in RIMAP's study of the transport fleet, and has made a priority the identification of the LORD SANDWICH ex ENDEAVOUR from among all the other vessels sunk in 1778. This presentation will discuss the historical details of how two of James Cook's four vessels ended their days in Newport, how RIMAP is going about finding them, and the development of long-range plans for their preservation.


New Identities of John Cabot and Christopher Columbus from
Administrative Records in Catalan and Castilian Archives
Francesc L. Albardaner
Omnium Cultural Foundation, Barcelona, Spain


Three newly-found administrative records of the City Hall of Seville confirm the presence of John Cabot in Seville from the end of 1493 to the beginnings of 1495. These documents shed new light on the administrative documents of Valencia and Barcelona which also deal with John Cabot in the period 1490-1493. The stay of John Cabot in the Iberian Peninsula during the period 1490-1495 (Valencia, Barcelona, Seville and Lisbon) alters many theories of a longer stay in Bristol, and of his participation in naval expeditions of discovery from Bristol before 1496.

A comparative study of the administrative documents concerning John Cabot preserved at Catalan and Castillian late medieval and early modern archives with similar documents concerning Christopher Columbus and his brothers, may give new light to the cultural background as well as the true nationality of the Great Admiral. The new conclusions are based on an analysis of the administrative and general laws of the different kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula at the end of the 15th century, avoiding major historical errors that have survived until now.


The Quest for the Snowy Mountains
The Exploration and Mapping of Dutch New Guinea 1904-1958
Dr. Paul van den Brink
Department of Cartography, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands

With the establishment of three administrative posts at the coast of Dutch New Guinea, the Dutch government at the end of the 19th century tried to restrain the violent tribal wars in this huge marshland stretching out along a coastline of 2000 nautical miles and across the border into English territory. Although initially there was no administrative interest for the upland, between 1907 and 1915 the need for control and communication sparked off a huge military exploration aimed at mapping the interior. This exploration resulted in the construction of a map on the scale 1 to 1,000,000 that showed only a few white blank spaces situated in the central highlands, the "Snow Mountains.” This unexplored mountain range, first sighted by the Dutch mariner Jan Carstensz in 1623, attracted the international attention of scientists and adventurers. Using government strongholds as points of departure, between 1904 and 1958 English, American, but especially Dutch expeditions, set out for the unknown. Using film and photographs as a means of presentation and by introducing two survivors, I will give an overview of these Dutch expeditions, their geographic and ethnographic discoveries, and their significance for the completion of the map of Dutch New Guinea.


Following a Paper Trail of Discovery and Deception:
The Account of the 1832 Expedition that Found a Lost Dutch Colony in Central Australia

Karen S. Cook
University of Kansas

In 1834 an English newspaper reported that a secret British expedition had penetrated from the north coast of Australia southward toward to the inland center in 1832. It said that explorers found there a small colony descended from Dutchmen shipwrecked on Australia’s west coast in the early eighteenth century.

When Les Hiddins, Australian Survival Expert and creator of the “Bush Tucker Man” television series, first read this intriguing story six years ago, he undertook a search for historical evidence of the supposed expedition and colony. A number of volunteers, including me, have helped with archive research in England, the Netherlands, Singapore and Australia. Supporting evidence has emerged from government archives and family papers, although elusive gaps remain.

The results suggest that the core of the story is true -- the expedition to central Australia and the discovery of a lost colony -- but that the published circumstances were falsified to preserve the anonymity of the explorers. Instead of approaching from the north, the expedition went inland from the south coast, probably led by Lt. Robert Dale with the unofficial sanction of Governor James Stirling of Western Australia. The explorers happened upon several hundred Dutch-speaking white people whose leader, van Baerle, was descended from a Dutch East India Company official on a ship lost at sea near Australia shortly after 1700. After the return of the expedition, someone decided to keep the discovery secret, possibly because Anglo-Dutch rivalry in the East Indies made prior Dutch settlement of Australia politically sensitive.

However, there were information leaks. A ship’s captain passing through the East Indies told the tale to a harbormaster who wrote about it in a Dutch journal. Another accomplice returned to England on leave in 1834 and told Thomas John Maslen, who sent the account to the Leeds Mercury. In the 1880s, German Lutheran missionaries settled in central Australia and recorded an aboriginal legend of light-skinned, light-haired “gods” who had formerly lived in the area. If this was the Dutch colony, some calamity must have wiped out the colony in the intervening 55 years. These and other questions remain to be answered. The research continues.


Cultivating Empire:
Sir Joseph Banks and the (failed) Botanical Garden at Nassau
Susan Danforth
John Carter Brown Library


In July 1844, at the Howe-Leonard Sale in Boston, John Carter Brown bought five leather-bound volumes that contained letters and miscellaneous documents once in the possession of George Chalmers (1742-1825). Chalmers is now recalled primarily as a Scottish antiquary and historian, but in 1763 he accompanied his uncle to America and settled in Baltimore where he practiced law until the Revolution erupted in 1776. Loyalist sympathies dictated his return to England, where he focused his attentions on the study of literature. In 1786 he was appointed chief clerk of the privy council committee for trade and foreign plantations, and in 1792 colonial agent for the Bahamas, a post he held until his death.

Chalmer’s five volumes of papers concern the Bahama Islands. They are arranged in chronological order and range in date from 1728 to 1818, although the materials dated before Chalmers took the post of agent in 1792 appear to be later secretarial copies. A wide variety of topics is copied but letters that address the political and economic situation of the chronically struggling islands figure most prominently. One such series of letters from October 1798 to June 1799 concerns a request from the legislature of the Bahamas to establish a botanical garden in Nassau. To this end, Chalmers enlisted the support of Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1829) who had long been working towards the establishment of a network of economic botanical gardens throughout British colonial possessions. Banks responded promptly and enthusiastically, sending William Dowdeswell, Governor of the Bahamas, instructions for establishing a garden at Nassau and directing Alexander Anderson, superintendent of the already-established garden on St. Vincent, to gather specimens for transport. That this attempt, so optimistically supported, did not succeed was due to a variety of factors, among which was the very enthusiasm of those involved.

This slide lecture will discuss the proposed botanical garden at Nassau within the larger framework of Sir Joseph Banks’ interest in economic botany, the goal of which was to increase the benefit of colonies to the mother country by identifying new products for large-scale plantation agriculture and by wrestling economic control of valuable plant products from rival economies. Nassau was to be one of the network of colonial gardens envisioned by Banks to achieve this goal.


Columbus Versus Diogo Cao: Which Route to Asia?
Peter W. Dickson
Arlington, Virginia

The traditional accounts of the Portuguese decision to reject Columbus’ bold proposal to reach Asia by sailing west across the vast Ocean Sea are fragmentary and not consistent. The royal chroniclers or historians associated with the Court suggest that the proposal was dismissed as preposterous fairly quickly by the cosmographers employed by King Joao II, but give no date for the rejection. Columbus’ son Ferdinand says his father departed Portugal suddenly because he feared the King would steal his idea and employ other navigators to accomplish the objective. Ferdinand places this departure for Spain in late 1484 - which nineteenth-century historians such as the famous Henri Harrisse more or less accepted without question.

However, new research calls into question all these accounts. The idea of Columbus hanging around the Portuguese court until late 1484 to market his project is extremely difficult to reconcile with the fact that he was closely tied through marriage to the main conspirators from the exalted house of Braganza against whom the King launched his vendetta in May-June 1483 when the dramatic public execution of the Duke of Braganza took place. Further research shows that Columbus already had his “day in court” to present his proposal to the King, well before the bloody showdown between the Monarch and Columbus’ Braganza in-laws.

A crucial seventeenth-century work, Agostino Manuel y Vasconcellos’ biography of King Joao II published in 1639 in Spain and the following year in France, not only confirms Columbus’ close ties to Portugal’s highest aristocratic clan, it also contains a detailed account of a full Royal Council debate at the King’s insistence concerning Columbus’ proposal because the Monarch deemed it a serious issue. Vasconcellos indicates that the Count of Villa Real (Pedro de Menezes), a brother-in-law to the same Braganza princes as was Columbus, voiced support for the idea of sailing west in that Royal Council debate. Textual analysis suggests that the final rejection came much earlier than long supposed, and preceded the Portuguese decision to plunge ahead with the southern route and the authorization in mid-1482 for Diogo Cao’s expedition beyond La Mina down the African coast.

Columbus’ decision to depart (or rather flee) to Spain in 1484 was a function of his awkward ties to the unsuccessful Braganza conspirators, not because the Portuguese experts did not take him seriously or because the King was tempted to steal his idea. Coupled with the pivotal rejection, the complex personal relationship between King Joao and Columbus given his close ties to the Braganza conspirators provides the most accurate historical perspective on the celebrated voyage in 1492. This personal vendetta provides a more complete explanation of the King’s effort to intercept Columbus’ three ships off the Canaries and the arrest of Nina’s crew in the Azores during the return leg of the voyage.


Charting the Course of Empire from the Nation’s Capital
Ralph E. Ehrenberg
Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (Emeritus)

Like the capital cities of European maritime nations during the Great Age of Discoveries, the City of Washington served as America’s focal point during its age of exploration. The federal government in Washington dispatched nearly 100 exploring parties to many regions of the globe from 1804 to the 1870s. The planning, analysis and office compilation of field data and, in many instances, the engraving and publication of the maps and reports, were carried out by government officials and military officers working in the nation’s capital. This paper briefly examines this process and the personalities involved, focusing on the headquarters operations of the Army’s Corps of Topographical Engineers and Office of Pacific Railroad Surveys, the Navy’s Depot of Charts and Instruments, the Department of Interior’s Pacific Wagon Road Office, the U. S. Coast Survey, and the Smithsonian Institution.


A New View of the Vinland Map
James Enterline
New York, New York

Interest in the Vinland Map persists in spite of ongoing attempts to lay it to rest with “proofs” of forgery. Such attempts all seem to spring from a common motivation: it is simply not credible that such cartographic information could have originated in the time of Leif Ericson, could have survived four centuries until ca. 1440, and left no trace whatsoever in the interim. This paper shows a way that the map could be an authentic document without needing to overcome that hurdle. Instead, it is viewed as a 1440 document based on contemporary 1440 cartographic information of a contemporary land that was misinterpreted historically by the cartographer.

The Scandinavian migration westward that led to Vinland met in Greenland with an eastward migration from Alaska - the Thule Eskimos. The Thules had crossed the entirety of Arctic Canada including the Arctic Archipelago and Baffin Island by the time they and the Norsemen encountered one another in Greenland. This contact reached a peak in the late fourteenth and fifteenth century and included cultural exchanges. This speaker has presented evidence at prior SHD meetings of Eskimo cartographic information springing from their migration. I showed that such information came through the Norsemen and into medieval European cartographers, where it was assumed to reflect a migration eastward across arctic Asia (a brief review of such evidence will be given).

The Vinland map may be viewed as a specific example of such a misunderstanding. Samuel Eliot Morison once suggested that “Vinilanda Insula” is actually a reasonable likeness of Baffin Island. Further evidence of such identification will be given here. Eskimo cartography of Baffin Island could very reasonably have reached Europe ca. 1440. It would have come through Scandinavia, and its interpretation in light of ancient Scandinavian legends would have been completely natural in Europe. The inscription and identification as Vinilanda were a medieval fallacy, and the only modern falsity is the expectation of an origin in 1000 AD.


Early Geographical and Geological Explorations in the Weddell Sea Sector of Antarctica
Arthur B. Ford
Emeritus Research Geologist, U.S. Geological Survey

Geologists were included on national and privately-financed expeditions to Antarctica dating back through the nineteenth century. National expeditions were mounted not only to search for lands to acquire but also to find out what they were worth. Early 20th century explorations focused in the easily accessible Ross Sea region, but few ships penetrated the ice-choked sea named for James Weddell whose brig Jane reached 74°15'S in 1823 (1822-1824), a southing unsurpassed for almost 90 years. Geologists accompanied most exploring expeditions of this region (e.g., Sweden's Nordenskjöld, of the ship Antarctic; Poland's Arctowski of the Belgica; Britain's Wordie of the Endurance and Scotland's Bruce of the Scotia. Shackleton's Endurance tried to reach the southernmost coast of the sea but was crushed in the pack. Not until the advent of ice-strengthened motor ships and of aircraft were these coasts reached and explored.

The southernmost Weddell Sea areas were unexplored until the 1957-58 International Geophysical Year, when U.S. Navy aircraft made first sightings of many inland regions (e.g. Pensacola Mountains) that were explored by U.S. oversnow geophysical parties. British IGY parties explored other areas nearby (e.g., Shackleton Range). Geography, geophysics and glaciology were principal IGY goals, to exclusion of geology and biology. IGY's ending threatened collapse into a political scene of international rivalry over national claims. The Antarctic Treaty of 1961 quickly ensued, but resources were not addressed in its 12 articles. Treaty nations soon began sending geologists in exploring expeditions to many areas that had still not been visited by 1959. Mineral resources were one research subject politicians in charge of funding could understand.

In 1960 the U.S. Geological Survey began systematic explorations of the Transantarctic Mountains starting in the Thiel Mountains under the author's leadership. Explorations extended to the Pensacola Mountains in 1962, where a very large mass of rock known as the Dufek intrusion was investigated. This body is one of the world's largest igneous-rock complexes of the type found in South Africa that contains rich resources of many kinds such as platinum, chromium, vanadium (Bushveld Complex). Studies over five field seasons showed close parallels with the Bushveld Complex and thus the Dufek intrusion was generally regarded as having Antarctica's most significant resource potential. Environmental concerns over any mineral-resource development led eventually to passage by Antarctic Treaty nations of a new protocol at a meeting in Madrid in 1994. The Madrid Protocol now excludes any prospecting or development of mineral resources under the Treaty. Only scenic resources are now exploited, by tourist visitors. Many see a World Park as the future for the polar continent.


Mazaua: Magellan’s Lost Harbor
Vicente C. de Jesús
Center for Excellence in Renaissance Navigation History
Tugatog, Malaban, The Philippines

The Mazaua landfall controversy is unknown outside the Philippines. It concerns an islet where Magellan’s fleet anchored for one week in March 1521. The issue is framed by our historiographers from the dichotomous question “where was the first mass heard, at Butaan or at
Limasawa?” No historian approaches the Columbus landfall debate by asking “where was the first mass in America held: Cat Island, Grand Turk, East Calcos, Mayaguana Crooked Island, Watling Island, Samana Cay, Egg Island, or Watling Island?” Largely because of this falsely dichotomous question, historians - all of whom have neither background nor much reading in navigation history - have been waylaid into choosing the easy path of simply opting for one choice and fitting data to confirm the choice.

My paper will seek to pin down the islet’s identity by subjecting it to analytical definition. It will show that the islet is neither Butaan nor Liwasawa. It will demonstrate that no property of Mazaua fits Limasawa that is universally believed to be the fleet’s safe haven. In fact, my study will show that Limasawa does not even allow anchorage.


Drugs Carried Aboard the Manila Galleons in the 17th and 18th Centuries
Rodrigue Lévesque
Lévesque Publications, Gatineau, Québec, Canada

From requests for medicines made from Manila to Mexico found in documents dated 1641 to 1815 in the National Archives of Mexico, this paper will show the type of European drugs used in the Spanish colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries. The famous galleons carried these drugs from Acapulco to Manila, but the traffic was not just one way; Chinese and Filipino drugs were also carried to Mexico.

The drugs were manufactured in Mexico City and were usually divided into the following categories: syrups, purgative electuaries, cordial confections, powders, ointments, oils, pills, juices, liquors, preserves, seeds, flowers, herbs, roots, poultices, gums, resins, and chemical products.

Some conclusions that can be drawn from the facts presented in this paper are: that medicine at that time was more of an art than a science, that it relied on dried vegetal and animal matters more so than on manufactured chemicals, that a further study of old medicines in the New World may reveal useful products to cure modern ailments.


French Reactions to the British Search for a Northwest Passage
from Hudson Bay and the Origins of the Seven Years' War

Paul W. Mapp
Harvard University

In the first two-thirds of the eighteenth century, some of Europe's finest geographic minds speculated that a navigable passage extended from Hudson Bay to the Pacific Ocean. This paper examines French reactions to British searches for this passage in the 1740s and relates these reactions to the origins of the Seven Years' War. It argues that British exploration in Hudson Bay encouraged French officials to suspect the existence of an underlying British plan to seize key points of access to the Pacific Ocean, as part of a larger effort to dominate the commerce of Spain's American Empire. Belief in this British grand design caused French ministers to react more aggressively to apparent instances of British expansionism in regions such as the Ohio Valley, contributing to the chain of increasingly provocative diplomatic and military actions that initiated the Seven Years' War.

The paper addresses the question of why the French and British governments allowed seemingly minor border incidents in marginal North American territories to embroil them in a world war that neither power wanted. It examines reports from the French ambassador in London describing British exploration in Hudson Bay, and then analyzes French foreign ministry letters and memoirs to assess the importance of this exploration in shaping the ministry's ideas about British expansion in the early 1750s.

French officials were skeptical about the existence of a usable Northwest Passage from Hudson Bay, but their ignorance of the region's geography left them fearful of what British explorers might find. Moreover, the temerity and improbability of British exploration in Hudson Bay demonstrated to French officials that the British would allow nothing to impede their attempts to reach the Pacific Ocean. This proved to French statesmen that other potential British encroachments on the Pacific, around Cape Horn, for example, constituted parts of a larger aggressive design rather than isolated incidents. This indicated a British decision to disregard the provision of the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht that declared the Pacific the exclusive domain of Spanish shipping, and a likely British intent to invade Spain's silver-rich and lightly defended possessions on the West Coast of the Americas. Willingness to abandon one provision of the Utrecht settlement and to invade one part of the Spanish Empire suggested to French officials that British actions elsewhere in the Americas shared the same audacity and ambition, and therefore necessitated a belligerent French response.


The 1477 Columbus Voyage to North America
Arne B. Molander
Montgomery Village, Maryland

In his biography, Ferdinand Columbus quotes his father’s claim to have voyaged 100 leagues west of “Thule” in February 1477. Despite almost universal assertions to the contrary, it is readily shown that Greenland is a far better fit than Iceland to the Thule described by Columbus. The obvious implication of identifying Greenland as Columbus’ Thule would be that he saw the North American mainland 15 years prior to his historic 1492 voyage. A possible motivation for this 1477 voyage was a solar eclipse that provided a unique opportunity for this Lisbon cartographer to measure longitude accurately at Viking settlements west of Greenland.


The Little-Known Explorations of Lucas Vasqueze de Ayllon
that set the Stage for the European Conquest of North America

Douglas T. Peck
Bradenton, Florida

For many years following Ponce de Leon’s discovery of Florida, the Spanish believed the new land was only an uninteresting island and unworthy of further exploration. Even after Alonso Alvarez de Pineda in 1519 discovered that Florida was part of a large mainland, Spain’s interest was centered only on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico and points south. It was the exploration voyages initiated by Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon that was to turn Spain’s attention to the eastern seaboard of North America, far north of the known shores of the peninsula of Florida. And it was the glowing and widely distributed reports of Ayllon’s explorations published by Peter Martyr and Francisco Lopez de Gomara and distributed throughout Europe, that encouraged France and England to initiate the conquest of Canada and what was to become the thirteen colonies and later the United States of America. Yet American historians generally ignore or devote only a few lines to Ayllon’s extensive and significant discoveries and his valiant though unsuccessful attempt to found a colony on the eastern seaboard of the USA, while later English
accomplishments at Roanoke, Jamestown, and Plymouth Rock are fully covered in current historiography.


Why did Las Casas make his Abstract of Columbus’s Log of the First Voyage?
Alejandro R. Perez
Falls Church, Virginia

For more than a century now, it has been a given, unchallenged notion among Columbus scholars that the familiar “Diario” composed by Las Casas was the source he used in penning his opus “Historia de las Indias.” After all, it is reasoned, this is why he went through the trouble of transcribing, in a summarized form, the document prepared by the Court’s scribes from Columbus’s raw manuscript.

It was further assumed that the transcription was done in a hurried, perhaps even clandestine fashion while the document was in Las Casas’ fleeting possession, a circumstance that resulted in the sketchy, self-edited and draft-like appearance of the “Diario.”

During the documentary research undertaken by the author on the Columbus landfall question (which resulted in his endorsement of Joseph Judge’s Samana Cay proposal), a comparative analysis he undertook between the “Diario” and the corresponding passages of the Historia de las Indias, has yielded persuasive evidence that Las Casas had in fact in his possession, while composing the Historia, the unabridged copy of Columbus’s log, surely Columbus’s’ own copy, which he (Columbus) received from the Queen in September 1493.


The Mapping of Mount Vernon, 1747-1799
Edward J. Redmond
Senior Reference Librarian, Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress

Most Americans are familiar with George Washington’s activities as leader of the Continental Army or as first President of the United States, but just as many Americans are unaware of Washington’s lifelong association with geography and cartography. Beginning with his early surveying career and throughout his life as a soldier, planter, land speculator, and President, Washington consistently relied on and benefited from his knowledge of maps. This knowledge contributed to his development from surveying apprentice to one of the most important men in Virginia and, ultimately, President of the United States.

Washington’s cartographic career can be divided into two broad categories, public surveyor and private land speculator. Between 1747 and 1799 Washington personally surveyed more than 200 individual tracts of land and held title to more than 60,000 acres of land in over thirty different locations. Although many prominent eighteenth-century Virginians owe their success to their “landed estates,” Washington’s quest for land and its corresponding social importance is well documented through his maps, particularly those of his Mount Vernon estate.

This paper will examine the growth, operation, and subdivision of Washington’s Mount Vernon estate from 1690 to the present, with a particular focus on maps of Mount Vernon drawn by Washington from 1747 to 1799. The manuscript maps, preserved in the Library of Congress’ Manuscript and Geography and Map Divisions, include Washington’s Plan of Major Law: Washington’s Turnip Field as Surveyed by Me (1747) Plan of Mr. Clifton’s Neck Land (1760), Plan of my Farm on Little Hunting Creek (1766), A Map of Mount Vernon from a drawing transmitted by the General (1793), and a November 1799 survey of the grounds done less than a month before his death.

Under Washington’s direction, Mount Vernon grew from a meager farm to a successful, vibrant 8,000-acre working plantation. A study of its cartographic history and development using maps prepared by Washington reveals it to be a microcosm of eighteenth-century America.


Exploration of the Pacific Northwest
The Age of Vancouver
William A. Stanley
Chief Historian (Emeritus), National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration

From the heights of Panama, Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean in September 1513. In 1520, Magellan, far to the south, sailed through the strait that now bears his name, and saw the same ocean. The record of these resolute men and their explorations which opened the Pacific regions ended abruptly. Balboa was beheaded in 1517 by order of the Governor of Panama, and Magellan was killed by natives in the Philippine Islands. We thus begin to trace the successors of these navigators and adventurers to the western coast of South America and then northward after the year 1532. A close examination will be made of the theories of the vast area beyond the Atlantic coast with the many misconceptions of the Pacific Northwest. It is with these geographic theories that the rise for further exploration came to pass, with the need to discover a new route to Asia being one of the primary motivators.

For the next 260 years there grew a gradual awareness of the Pacific region. The highlights to be examined are 1.) Cortes reaches the southern coast of California in 1535; 2.) Sir Francis Drake on his voyage around the world named the northwest coast of America “New Albion” in 1569; 3.) The spread of Catholicism among the natives by Jesuit missionaries, and 4.) Captain Cook’s voyage to the west coast of America. It is within this event of Cook’s efforts that we see George Vancouver’s rise to second in command with Captain’s Henry Roberts expedition.

George Vancouver’s life was brief, but in the short span of forty-two years (1757-1798) his was one of the most remarkable careers in the history of discovery. Each phase of his life will be examined; from the time of his birth when the exploration of the New World well under way, through his youth, and to his rise in the Admiralty. The beginning of his pursuits with Captain Roberts and the circumstances which eventually lead to Vancouver being summoned to London will be outlined as to his personal dealings that gave him command of what had been Roberts expedition.

Promoted to Commander, Vancouver assumed command of the Discovery in December 1790 and from there we begin to track his expedition to the Pacific Northwest. Each year of the Vancouver Expedition will be viewed with specific emphasis on the various personalities that played a role in the voyage and a detailed analysis of the findings of the expedition. Inaccuracies by previous maps by Cook and others will be studied, concluding with the effects of his work on present-day cartography.


No Man's Land in South Central Africa--The Caprivi Strip in History
William R. Stanley
Department of Geography, University of South Carolina

Imperial Germany gained sovereignty over this narrow, elongated strip of land in 1890 but delayed sending officials to easternmost Caprivi until 1908. Eighteen years without European law and order encouraged illegal activities and the use of the area as a safe haven for wanted criminals.

Repeated requests by British administrators in adjacent territories for Germany to establish a presence were denied. The paper traces the events leading to this small triangular piece of land bordered by the Zambezi, Chobe and Kwando rivers becoming a no man's land in the midst of colonial Africa.


Francis Barrallier: The Blue Mountains and Beyond
Harry Steward
Graduate School of Geography, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts

At the same time that Lewis and Clark were making their epic journey westward across the American continent; halfway around the world, Ensign Francis Barrallier of the New South Wales Corps, was attempting to penetrate the Blue Mountains behind Sydney in Australia. His efforts to break out of the coastal confines to an unknown, but already fabled, continental interior produced a sketch map, a topographic journal and a seemingly endless controversy on whether or not he was successful. It was just one of a number of pioneer reconnaissance explorations made by this Anglo-French surveyor and engineer in Australia and it formed part of an expatriate career that took him from Toulon to London, via the Mediterranean, Wales, and the Caribbean. A career, moreover, that has some unexpected sidelights on the discovery of the koala bear, the origin of Trafalgar Square in London, the development of Milford Haven, and the Battle of Waterloo. His life and his mapping and exploration work have never been suitably summarized and this introduction will serve as an introduction to a tale well worth retelling.


Colonial Nombre de Dios-The Treasure Mouth of the World
John Thrower
Whetley Orchard, Powerstock, Dorset, United Kingdom

In contrast to Panama La Vieja and Porto Belo, 16th-century Nombre De Dios, with a fascinating and rich history, lies unmapped, unmarked and completely neglected. Maps and documents of the period are reviewed so as to better determine the size and extent of the lost city. The results are compared with modern maps and show the large changes which have occurred at Nombre de Dios Bay since the old city was abandoned during 1596-1601. Field work in April 1999 has enabled the position of the remaining 16th century landmarks to be measured and placed on a modern map for the first time. Present day features lying over the old city site will be described and illustrated. The potential for archaeology is assessed.


Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Century European Maps and Globes
Carol Urness
Curator, James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota

Four styles of maps of the fifteenth and early sixteenth-century are discussed: mappaemundi, portolan charts, globes and Ptolemaic world maps. The examples are from the James Ford Bell Library, as follows: a fragment of a world map, 1450; the 1424 Nautical Chart; the Waldseemüller globe of 1507; and Ptolemaic world maps. Though globes had the advantage of portraying the earth in its correct form, their disadvantages included their size, which made detailed mapping impossible, and their shape, which allowed viewing only one part of the earth at a time. The religious foundation of the mappaemundi and the scope and coastal emphasis of early portolan charts limited their utility as world maps. Mapmakers producing world maps on the patterns given in Ptolemy's Geographia gave Europeans a more ordered, rational world view, one which invited further exploration of that world. Much of the research for this paper was done in preparation for a distance-learning course in the history of maps and mapmaking.


Columbus and the Ancient Maps of America
Nito Verdera
Balearic Isles, Spain

After more than 30 years of research on Columbus, I have concluded that, especially in Europe, the majority of “consecrated specialists” in Columbine matters are more interested in defending, against wind and tide, the nationality of Columbus and Genoa as his motherland rather than trying to seek the truth and to clear away all the enigmas that surround the great discoverer of the New World. Let’s not forget what the Bible tells us: “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

The official history seems to have a suspicious interest to avoid in a systematic way that the truth floats like water on oil, and I mean not only Columbus’s real identity, but they also insist in repeating continually that Columbus based his project to sail West using Toscanelli’s map. Nowadays this subject cannot be defended anymore by prodigious scholars, but they do. The point here is that Columbus knew the existence of a continent situated at the other edge of the Atlantic Ocean, as Damon Lull had already “sensed” it in the XVth century. Islands and terra firma that were not Asia and distant 700 leagues (2,800 nautical miles) from the Canary Islands. But Columbus not only knew the route to go, he also knew the best route to turn sailing eastward with the help of the Gulf Stream.

A clear example of what I say is a map of the XVth century known as Waldseemüller’s world map of 1507 where we see America depicted completely in the middle of two oceans. Other maps are those of Cantino (1502) and Caverio (1505) with the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, and the Atlantic coast of the actual United States to the 38th parallel. I am talking of maps dated at a time when the places had not been officially visited by Spanish or Portuguese navigators. We also have Schöner’s map (1515) with the Strait of Magellan depicted, but it happens that Magellan’s fleet crossed the strait five years later. How can we explain the problem of these maps? I do not have all the answers, but I have studied and analyzed them and any honest scholar has to admit that “somebody” with knowledge of cartography made and depicted them.

The matter here is that we are speaking of authentic maps kept in known libraries of museums, that we see the Pacific Ocean depicted in 1507 but the Spaniards saw it for the first time in 1513. It is also important to say that, in Waldseemüller’s map, we have a strait in the Isthmus of Panama connecting the Caribbean and the Pacific, a strait that Columbus was looking for during his fourth voyage, a strait that existed in ancient times as confirmed to me by the United States Geological Survey.

There are more important maps of the Western Hemisphere, for instance the Piri Reis map (1513) as well as another showing Asia, the Aleutian Islands, Alaska and the Pacific coast of the USA as far as Vancouver. This is the Chinese “Map with Ship” of the XIIIth century kept in the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress.

My opinion after long and multidisciplinary research is that Columbus can only be explained as a Crypticjew, Catalan-speaking navigator and a subject of King Ferdinand born in a territory of the old Crown of Aragon. This is the explanation why he is always surrounded by Jews and convert Jews, and why he was helped by King René d’Anjou, Luis Santangel, and Gabriel Sanchez, even with money, and what made possible the first voyage. But the most important matter in my paper will be the ancient maps and the documentary proof I have found that Columbus knew the route to Norway and even the name of the Norwegian island where the Danish-Portuguese departed toward Iceland and further west in 1477.


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