Discovering the Region: Texts

1. Account of Juan de Fuca's Voyages (1625)

Samuel Purchas, Hakluytus Posthumus; or, Purchas His Pilgrimes: Contayning a History of the World in Sea Voyages and Lande Travells by Englishmen and others, vol. 14 (New York: Macmillan, 1906), 415-18.

A Note made by me Michael Lok the elder, touching the Strait of Sea, commonly called Fretum Anian, in the South Sea, through the North-west passage of Meta incognita.

When I was at Venice, in Aprill 1596 happily arrived there an old man, about threescore yeares of age, called commonly Juan de Fuca, but named properly Apostolos Valerianos, of Nation a Greeke, borne in the Iland Cefalonia, of profession a Mariner, and an ancient Pilot of Shippes. This man being come lately out of Spaine, arrived first at Ligorno, and went thence to Florence in Italie, where he found one John Dowglas, an Englishman, a famous Mariner, ready comming for Venice, to be Pilot of a Venetian Ship, named Ragasona for England, in whose company they came both together to Venice. And John Dowglas being well acquainted with me before, he gave me knowledge of this Greeke Pilot, and brought him to my speech: and in long talke and conference betweene us, in presence of John Dowglas: this Greeke Pilot declared in the Italian and Spanish languages, thus much in effect as followeth.

First he said, that he had bin in the West Indies of Spaine by the space of fortie years, and had sailed to and from many places thereof, as Mariner and Pilot, in the service of the Spaniards.

Also he said, that he was in the Spanish Shippe, which in returning from the Ilands, Philippinas and China, towards Nova Spania, was robbed and taken at the Cape California, by Captaine Candish Englishman, whereby he lost sixtie thousand Duckets, of his owne goods.

Also he said, that he was Pilot of three small Ships

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which the Vizeroy of Mexico sent from Mexico, armed with one hundred men, Souldiers, under a Captain, Spaniards, to discover the Straits of Anian, along the coast of the South-Sea, and to fortifie in that Strait, to resist the passage and proceedings of the English Nation, which were feared to passe through those Straits into the South Sea. And that by reason of a mutinie which happened among the Souldiers, for the Sodomie of their Captaine, that Voyage was overthrowne, and the Ships returned backe from California coast to Nova Spania, without any effect of thing done in that Voyage. And that after their returne, the Captaine was at Mexico punished by justice.

Also he said, that shortly after the said Voyage was so ill ended, the said Voyage of Mexico, sent him out againe Anno 1592 with a small Caravela, and a Pinnace, armed with Mariners onely, to follow the said Voyage, for discovery of the same Straits of Anian, and the passage thereof, into the Sea which they call the North Sea, which is our North-west Sea. And that he followed his course in that Voyage West and North-west in the South Sea, all alongst the coast of Nova Spania, and California, and the Indies, now called North America (all which Voyage hee signified to me in a great Map, and a Sea-card of mine owne, which I laied before him) untill hee came to the Latitude of fortie seven degrees, and that there finding that the Land trended North and North-east, with a broad Inlet of Sea, betweene 47 and 48 degrees of Latitude: hee entred thereinto, sayling therein more then twentie dayes, and found that Land trending still sometime North-west and North-east, and North, and also East and South-eastward, and very much broader Sea then was at the said entrance, and that hee passed by divers Ilands in that sayling. And that at the entrance of this said Strait, there is on the North-west coast thereof, a great Hedland or Iland, with an exceeding high Pinacle, or spired Rocke, like a piller thereupon.

Also he said, that he went on Land in divers places, and that he saw some people on Land, clad in Beasts skins,

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and that the Land is very fruitfull, and rich of gold, Silver, Pearle, and other things, like Nova Spania.

And also he said, that he being entred thus farre into the said Strait, and being come into the North Sea already, and finding the Sea wide enough every where, and to be about thirtie or fortie leagues wide in the mouth of the Straits, where hee entred; hee thought he had now well discharged his office, and done the thing which he was sent to doe: and that hee not being armed to resist the force of the Salvage people that might happen, hee therefore set sayle and returned homewards againe towards Nova Spania, where hee arrived at Acapulco, Anno 1592 hoping to be rewarded greatly of the Viceroy, for this service done in this said Voyage.

Also he said, that after his comming to Mexico, hee was greatly welcommed by the Viceroy, and had great promises of great reward, but that having sued there two yeares time, and obtained nothing to his content, the Viceroy told him, that he should be rewarded in Spaine of the King himselfe very greatly, and willed him therefore to goe into Spaine, which Voyage hee did performe.

Also he said, that when he was come into Spaine, he was greatly welcomed there at the Kings Court, in wordes after the Spanish manner, but after long time of suite there also, hee could not get any reward there neither to his content. And that therefore at the length he stole away out of Spaine, and came into Italie, to goe home againe and live among his own Kindred and Countrimen, he being very old.

Also he said, that hee thought the cause of his ill reward had of the Spaniards, to bee for that they did understand very well, that the English Nation had now given over all their voyages for discoverie of the North-west passage, wherefore they need not feare them any more to come that way into the South Sea, and therefore they needed not his service therein any more.

Also he said, that in regard of this ill reward had of the Spaniards, and understanding of the noble minde of the

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Queene of England, and of her warres maintained so valiantly against the Spaniards, and hoping that her Majestie would doe him justice for his goods lost by Captaine Candish, he would bee content to goe into England, and serve her Majestie in that voyage for the discoverie perfectly of the North-west passage into the South Sea, and would put his life into her Majesties hands to performe the same, if shee would furnish him with onely one ship of fortie tunnes burden and a Pinnasse, and that he would performe it in thirtie dayes time, from one end to the other of the Streights. And he willed me so to write into England. . . .

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