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Vera descriptio expeditionis nauticae Francisci Draci Angli, cognitis aurati qui quinq[ue] navibus probe instructis, ex occidentali Anglia parte anchoras soluens, tertio post decimo Decembris An[n]o MDLXXVII, terraru[m] orbis ambitum circumnavigans, unica tantu[m] navi reliqua (alijs fluctibus, alijs flamma correptis) redux factus, sexto supra vigesimo Sep. 1580.

Additional Title(s):

English translation of the title: True description of the naval expedition of Francis Drake, Englishman & Knight, who with five ships departed from the western part of England on 13 December 1577, circumnavigated the globe and returned on 26 September 1580, with one ship remaining, the others having been destroyed by waves or fire.

Drake-Mellon map

England, circa 1587.
Physical Description:
1 map : pen and ink and watercolor ; 21.9 x 43 cm, on sheet 23.5 x 46 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Folio C 2009 2
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
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Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Maps & Atlases (manuscript)
Scale [ca. 1:90,000,000] -- (W 180⁰--E 180⁰/N 90⁰--S 90⁰).
Sir Francis Drake (circa 1540-1596) made the second circumnavigation of the globe, after Magellan, and was the first Englishman to do so. He made two important discoveries during his travels. First, he showed that the Strait of Magellan did not, as commonly believed, divide South America from a southern continent called Terra Australis, but was actually one of many such channels separating a group of islands from South America. Drake thus revealed a new passage to the Pacific. He claimed the southernmost island of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago for Queen Elizabeth I and named it "Elizabetha" after her. Drake's second important discovery was the land to the north of California which he named Nova Albion and also claimed for Queen Elizabeth. When Drake returned in 1581 he gave Queen Elizabeth I a large manuscript map of his travels. It was known to have been hanging at Whitehall Palace in 1625, when it was described by Samuel Purchas, and is presumed to have been destroyed in the fire that burned the palace in 1698. The present manuscript is a reduced copy of that map. Drake's map of this voyage served as an important model for engraved versions published in subsequent years, including Nicola van Sype's La herdike enterprinse faict par le Signeur Draeck d'avoir cirquit toute la Terre (1583?) and Jodocus Hondius' Vera totius expeditionis nauticae, the latter of which depicts the world as a double hemisphere instead of as a plane chart.
Relief shown pictorially.
Bar scale, circa 425 leagues per inch.
On vellum.
Provenance: Sir Thomas Phillipps; Lionel and Philip Robinson; Paul Mellon, 1962.
Selected exhibitions: "Paul Mellon's Legacy: A Passion for British Art" (Yale Center for British Art, 18 April-29 July, 2007); "Wilde Americk: Discovery and Exploration of the New World" (Yale Center for British Art, 27 September-30 December, 2001); "The Mapmaker's art : 300 years of British cartography" (Yale Center for British Art, January 17-March 12, 1989); "Sir Francis Drake: an exhibition to commemorate Francis Drake's voyage around the world, 1577-1580" (British Library, 1977).
Sir Francis Drake and the famous voyage, 1577-1580, p. 141-143
Manuscript map of the world showing the route of Francis Drake's circumnavigation between 1577 and 1580. The map is executed by an unidentified hand, in pen and ink and watercolor on vellum. It is a reduced copy of the map Drake had made for Queen Elizabeth I upon his return in 1581. The original larger map was destroyed by fire, making the present manuscript map the earliest extant to mark the route of Drake's circumnavigation. The present map was probably drawn around 1587 since it not only tracks (with a light-brown line) the route of Drake's ship The Golden Hind on its trip around the world in 1577-1580, but also illustrates the route and activities of his Caribbean voyage of 1585-1586 (marked with a dark-brown line).
The artist of the present manuscript map may be Baptista Boazio, page to Lieutenant General Christopher Carleill. Boazio served as draftsman and mapmaker on Drake's West Indian voyage of 1585-1586. His maps of that voyage were published in Walter Bigges' Summarie and true discourse of Sir Francis Drakes West Indian voyage (London : Richard Field, 1589)
The regions of great discoveries made under Elizabeth are marked by flags bearing the cross of St. George. In northeast America, just below the Arctic circle, is shown "Meta Incognita", taken possession of in the queen's name by Frobisher in 1577. Towards Florida is shown "Virginia-Colonia ducta in hunc continentis partem a Gualtero Raulege equie 1583." Cape Horn is marked "Elizabetha". Finally, in northwest America, the region of Nova Albyon, corresponding to the present northwest United States, including northern California and Oregon, which were discovered by Drake on his circumnavigation, is described as "Noua Albyon sic a Francisco Draco equite dicta, eiusde incentore, An 1579, qui bis ab inclois eode die Regiae Maiestatis nomine diademate coronatus est." The general delineation of northwest America is much improved from all previous efforts; a more accurate mapping would not appear until after 1700. The map appears to lay claim to much of the territory of North America on behalf of Britain, with the border of British realms delineated in green, while Nova Hispania is in pale pink. A significant omission on the map is any allusion to John Cabot's discoveries for Henry VII on the northeast coast of America, and such comment may have been left out because Cabot's were not Elizabethan discoveries.
Insets in the bottom corners of the map illustrate two major incidents of Drake's circumnavigation. The inset at lower left shows Drake's ship being towed to port at Ternate, in the Moluccas (the Spice Islands), where Drake would successfully trade with the sultan for large amounts of cloves. The inset at bottom right shows the grounding of the Golden Hind on a reef at Celebes (Sulawesi).
The line running north to south at the center of the map is marked off to indicate latitude; a similar line intersecting at right angles shows longitude.
Subject Terms:
America -- Discovery and exploration -- British -- Maps -- Early works to 1800.
Boazio, Baptista.
Discoveries in geography -- Maps -- Early works to 1800.
Drake, Francis, approximately 1540-1596.
Golden Hind (Ship)
Great Britain -- History, Naval -- Tudors, 1485-1603.
Hondius, Jodocus, 1563-1612. Vera totius expeditionis nauticae.
Magellan, Strait of (Chile and Argentina) -- Discovery and exploration -- British -- Maps -- Early works to 1800.
Northwest Coast of North America -- Discovery and exploration -- British -- Maps -- Early works to 1800.
Phillipps, Thomas, Sir, 1792-1872 -- Ownership.
Sype, Nicola van, 1589-1641. Herdike enterprinse faict par le Signeur Draeck d'Avoir cirquit toute la Terre.
Voyages around the world -- Maps -- Early works to 1800.
West Indies Expedition, 1585-1586 -- Maps -- Early works to 1800.
World maps -- Early works to 1800.
World maps.
Ink drawings.
Boazio, Baptista, attributed name.
IIIF Manifest:

Paul Mellon's Legacy : A Passion for British Art (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Mapmaker's Art: 300 Years of British Cartography (Yale Center for British Art, January 17, 1989-March 12, 1989) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

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