A 1599 English Chart Helps Historians Unravel A 435-Year Old Mystery

Where on the Pacific coast did Francis Drake spend five weeks the summer of 1579; is it Oregon or California? New evidence now shows Sir Francis Drake was never in California
Appendix Costaggini Survey 13 small
Appendix Costaggini Survey 13 small
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Francis Drake
Edward Wright


Astoria - Oregon - US


ASTORIA, Ore. - April 25, 2014 - PRLog -- Garry Gitzen, chief researcher at the M. Wayne Jensen Jr. Library believes he has solved the biggest question in the Age of Discovery which has befuddled historians since Drake returned from his 1577-1580 circumnavigation.  Gitzen’s recently published “Edward Wright’s World Chart of 1599” in the peer-review
Journal Terrae Incognitae ( April 3, 2014) of the Society for the History of Discoveries identifies the bay, and it isn’t in California as popularly theorized.  Terrae Incognitae’s Editor, Dr. Marguerite Ragnow and Professor of History University of Minnesota states: “Does it matter? In my opinion, it does because if Gitzen is correct, it could change our perception of this event, which may result in new questions, new insights — about navigation, mapmaking, and the history of the American west coast — and who knows where that might lead?"

   Gitzen describes Edward Wright as the first Englishman to draw a world chart, meant to be used by English navigators, as the ‘smoking-gun’ to identifying Drake’s landing site.  The 1599 chart records Nova Albion, the location where Francis Drake repaired his treasure-laden ship Golden Hind in July of  1579 and claimed the land for England, is drawn encompassing Pacific Northwest latitudes with its focus on Nehalem Bay, Oregon.  An important clue Gitzen offers up as proof is that the Wright chart carries the private seal of Queen Elizabeth I; the only chart or map of the 16th century known to carry such a seal.  Additionally a 16th century survey on neighboring Neahkahnie Mountain supports Wright’s chart. “California scholars have tended to overlook, misidentify or ignore the Wright chart altogether is reason for the confusion in realizing Drake’s anchorage”, says Gitzen whose extensive research of 16th century charts, maps, land surveys and navigational methods led him to discover the Wright chart in 2013 at the John Carter Brown Library. Edward Wright’s chart was the first to represent the round world drawn on a flat plane (paper) by using mathematical formulas; known as Mercator’s projection.   Wright’s reputation as a mathematician and cartographer who portrayed only previously discovered lands, without filling in fictitious lands to embellish the blank areas on his chart, is well-recognized among scholars of cartography.

  Harvey Steele, past president of the Oregon Archaeological Society, says: “Gitzen is one of only a handful to tackle the difficult project of locating Drake's landing site.   His previous book Francis Drake in Nehalem Bay 1579 (2008, 2012) which incorporated the [Phillip] Costaggini 16th century * survey thesis from Oregon State presented critics with a Herculean task to overcome with its lucid arguments.  Now, with Edward Wright’s 1599 chart identifying Nova Albion, it’ll be incumbent upon the pillars of the academic world to finally acknowledge Francis Drake’s Oregon anchorage.”

Garry David Gitzen, B.A., California State University, Fullerton 1972 is curator of the private library of M. Wayne Jensen Jr., a collection of 16th – 18th century explorations of the Pacific Coast.  Mr. Gitzen has lectured throughout Oregon and has written extensively on the folklore behind conventional theories purporting Francis Drake’s landing on the shores of California.

* As an Oregon historian, one area of his research for the past thirty years has been early navigation and surveying methods of the Pacific Coast.  He has also authored a biography “The Treasure Rocks of Neahkahnie Mountain” (2012) highlighting his professional relationship of Wayne Jensen and Philip Costaggini as well as others connected with the Sir Francis Drake survey of Neahkahnie Mountain, Oregon.  www.FortNehalem.net

Edward Wright’s World Chart of 1599 (http://www.maneyonline.com/tin)

Journal Terrae Incognitae (http://www.maneyonline.com/loi/tin)

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