New Albion

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Drake's Landing in New Albion, 1579, engraving published by Theodor De Bry, 1590

New Albion, also known as Nova Albion, was the name of the continental area north of Mexico claimed by Sir Francis Drake for England in 1579. While the extent of New Albion and the location of Drake's port have long been investigated by historians,[1][2] in October 2012 the United States Department of the Interior—using a National Historic Landmark designation—formally recognized Drake’s landing being at Point Reyes, California. Today, the marine environment is the setting of several small towns, ranches, and Point Reyes National Seashore.

While seeking investors, Drake developed a plan to sail into the Pacific to plunder Spanish settlements and ships. Additionally, he planned to search for the hypothetical Strait of Anián which was incorrectly speculated to exist somewhere along the present-day Northern California or Oregon coasts. Drake embarked on the journey in November 1577, and after successfully raiding Spanish towns and ships along their eastern Pacific coast colonies, Drake sailed north to seek a shortcut back to England via the Strait of Anián. Not finding it, and realizing that circumnavigation would be required to return to England, Drake sought safe harbor to prepare this ship, Golden Hind, for the long journey. On June 17 of 1579, Drake and his crew landed on the Pacific coast at what is now Point Reyes in Northern California. Naming it Nova Albion, or New Albion, he claimed sovereignty of the area for Queen Elizabeth. After effecting repairs while careening his ship, Drake set sail a few weeks later on July 23. Leaving behind no permanent presence, he circumnavigated the globe, finally returning to England in September 1580.

Drake had very friendly relations with the Coast Miwok people who inhabited the area near his landing. Living in thriving village communities, multitudes of Coast Miwok visited the English encampment daily, and Drake reciprocated with a visit by crossing a nearby ridge into an inland valley.

Before the National Historic Landmark designation at Point Reyes, numerous speculative sites along the North American Pacific coast were investigated as Drake’s New Albion claim. Through the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, various cartographers and mariners identified the area near Point Reyes as Drake’s likely landing place. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, definitive evidence was gathered, particularly regarding Drake’s contact with the Coast Miwok people and porcelain shards which were established to be remnants of Drake’s cargo. This all culminated in the United States Department of the Interior’s recognition.


In the late 1500s, and as part of ongoing tensions between England and Spain, Drake developed a plan to plunder Spanish colonial settlements on the Pacific Coast of the New World.[3] Gathering several investors,[4] and with the uncertain, plausible backing of his queen Elizabeth I of England[5]which may have been in the form of a secret commission[6] or that as a privateer—[7]Drake embarked upon the voyage on November 15, 1577.[8] While understanding that completing this plan would anger King Philip of Spain, Drake knew Queen Elizabeth would stand by him.[9]

After successfully taking much treasure from the Spanish by raiding towns and ships along their eastern Pacific coast colonies, Drake sailed north to seek a shortcut back to England via the hypothetical Strait of Anián which was incorrectly speculated to exist at about 40 degrees north.[10] Not finding it, he sought safe harbor to ready his ship, Golden Hind, before attempting a circumnavigation of the globe to return home. Up to then, the western coast of North America had been partially explored in 1542 by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo who sailed for the Spanish.[11] Needing safe haven from further conflict with Spain, Drake sought safety by heading north and west of Spanish presence, well beyond where Cabrillo had asserted Spanish claim.[12]

On June 17, 1579, Drake and his crew landed on the Pacific coast of what is now Northern California, and he claimed the area for Queen Elizabeth I as Nova Albion or New Albion.[13][14] Drake chose this particular name for two reasons: first, for the white banks and cliffs which he saw were similar to those found on the English coast and, second, because Albion was an archaic name by which the island of Great Britain was known.[15] To document and assert his claim, Drake had an engraved plate of brass, one which contained a sixpence bearing Elizabeth’s image, attached to a large post. Giving details of Drake's visit, it claimed sovereignty for Elizabeth and every successive English monarch.[16]

Nineteenth-century vessels being careened in a manner similar to Drake's Golden Hind.

The crew worked for several weeks as they careened their ship, Golden Hind, preparing it for the circumnavigating voyage ahead. Ashore, the men erected a fort and tents as the ship's hull was cleaned and repaired.[17] Drake explored the surrounding land by foot, and when his ship was ready for the voyage, he and the crew left New Albion on July 23.[18] Sailing west across the Pacific, they returned to England in September 1580.[19]

As a result of his successful deeds against the Spanish, Drake’s ‘name and fame became admirable in all places, the people swarming daily in the streets to behold him, vowing hatred of all that durst mislike him.'[20] Not only were his investors and the Queen richly rewarded, Drake was also allowed to keep £24,000 of the purloined treasure for himself and his crew.[21] Drake quickly became a favorite at the Queens’s court, and was knighted by the French Ambassador on her behalf.[22]

Initially, details of Drake’s voyage were suppressed. Drake’s sailors were pledged not to disclose their route or risk the pain of death.[23] So, to the Queen, Drake handed over his log and a large map. While the other items disappeared, the map, known as the Queen’s Map, remained on limited view for a number of years. Finally, it too was lost when Whitehall Palace burned in 1698. Samuel Purchas, who saw the map in 1625 at Whitehall Palace, was able to describe it in such detail that it was possible for Jodocus Hondius to draw the map, Vera Totius Expeditionis Navticae, c. 1590. This map shows Drake’s journey and includes an inset of his harbor at Nova Albion.[24]

Although the location of Drake's New Albion differs among maps, after Elizabeth's death, they began to depict the area of North America above Mexico as Nova Albion. Drake's claim of land on the Pacific coast for England became the legal basis for subsequent colonial charters issued by English monarchs that purported to grant lands from sea to sea, the area from the Atlantic where English colonies were first settled and to the Pacific. Along with Martin Frobisher's claims in Greenland and Baffin Island and Humphrey Gilbert’s 1583 claim of Newfoundland, New Albion was one of the earliest English territorial claims in the New World.[25] These claims were eventually followed by settlement of the Roanoke Colony in 1584, then by Jamestown, Virginia in 1607.[26] Years later, after England's destruction of the Spanish Armada in 1588, in which Drake played a significant role, an official account of Drake's voyage by Richard Hakluyt was published. Another account of the voyage, The World Encompassed which is based on the notes of his chaplain Francis Fletcher, included many details of New Albion and was published in 1628 by Drake's nephew and namesake. It is the most extensive account of Drake's voyage.[27]

Site recognition and identification

Official recognition: United States National Historic Landmark

Drakes Bay
National Historic Landmark commemorating and honoring Francis Drake, Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeño, and Coast Miwok people at Point Reyes, California.

The site of Drake's landing, officially recognized by the U.S. Department of the Interior and other agencies, is Drake's Cove, located in Drakes Estero which runs northerly off Drakes Bay. The bay is in Marin County, California, near Point Reyes, just north of the Golden Gate. 38°02′02″N 122°56′28″W / 38.034°N 122.941°W / 38.034; -122.941.[28] On October 16, 2012, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar signed the nomination and on October 17, 2012, the Drakes Bay Historic and Archaeological District was formally announced as a new National Historic Landmark.[29] No Drake anchorage has endured so much scrutiny or seen the amount of field study and research as has this location.[30]

This district, a nationally significant distinction, provides material evidence of one of the earliest instances of interaction between native people and European explorers on the west coast of what is now the United States of America. This distinction is based on the two historical encounters, Sir Francis Drake's 1579 California landfall and the 1595 Manila Galleon shipwreck, San Agustin, which was commanded by Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeño.[31]

Seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth century identification

Starting in the seventeenth century, maps identify Drakes Bay as Drake’s landing site.[32] In 1793, George Vancouver studied Drake’s landing site and concluded it was in Drakes Bay.[33] Professor George Davidson, of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, after a careful study of the narrative and the coast identifies the harbour entered by Drake with Drake's Bay, under Point Reyes, about thirty miles (50 km) north of San Francisco. 'Drake's Bay,' he reported in 1886, 'is a capital harbor in northwest winds, such as Drake encountered. It is easily entered, sheltered by high lands, and a vessel may anchor in three fathoms, close under the shore in good holding ground.'"[34] Davidson published further support for the Drakes Bay location in 1890[35] and 1906.[36]

Twentieth century identification

Robert F. Heizer, one of the 20th century’s preeminent archeologists, spent most of his career researching prehistoric and historic Native American peoples of the western United States, particularly in California and Nevada.[37] In 1947, following up on work by Professor A. L. Kroeber and William W. Elemendorf, he analyzed the ethnographic reports of Drake's stay at New Albion. Heizer states that "Drake must have landed in territory occupied by the Coast Miwok-speaking natives." In his full analysis, Heizer concludes, "in June 1579, then, Drake probably landed in what is now known as Drake's Bay."[38]

Display at Point Reyes National Seashore Visitor Center of Ming porcelain shards from Drake's 1579 landing and Cermeño's 1595 Manila galleon shipwreck. The Drake shards are distinguished by the sharp breaks and the Cermeño shards by the worn edges due to being surf-tumbled.

Since 1949, the theory that Drake landed at Drakes Bay has been advocated by the Drake Navigators Guild in California, and notably by its former president Captain Adolph S. Oko, Jr., its former honorary chairman Chester W. Nimitz, and its longtime former president Raymond Aker. Oko wrote, "Many other correlative facts have been . . . found true to the Drake's Cove site as part of the total body of evidence. The weight of evidence truly establishes Drake's Cove as the nodal point of Nova Albion."[39] Nimitz stated that he did "not doubt that in time the public will come to recognize the importance and value of this long-lost site, and will rank it with other National Historic Sites such as Roanoke, Jamestown, and Plymouth."[40]

Aker made detailed studies reconstructing Drake's circumnavigation voyage. Advocates of this theory cite the fact that the official published account placed the colony at 38 degrees north. The geography of Drake's Cove, which lies along the coast of Marin County, has often been suggested as being similar to the cove described by Drake, including the white cliffs that look like the south coast of England and the specific configuration of the Cove. Responding to questions about the geographical fit of the cove, Aker maintained that criticisms—those based on the inconsistent configuration of the sandbars in the cove—were unfounded. He maintained the configuration of the sandbars in the cove was cyclic over the decades. Accordingly, Aker effectively answered the questions when he predicted that a spit of land that disappeared in 1956—one which closely resembles one on the Hondius map—would reappear. Aker’s assertions were confirmed, when as predicted, the spit formed again in 2001.[41]

Nearly one hundred pieces of sixteenth-century Chinese porcelains, have been found in the vicinity of the Drake's Cove site which "must fairly be attributed to Francis Drake’s Golden Hind visit of 1579."[42] These ceramic samples, found at Point Reyes, are the earliest datable archaeological specimens of Chinese porcelains transported across the Pacific in Manilla galleons.[43] The artifacts were found by four different agencies beginning with the University of California, the Drake Navigators Guild, then the Santa Rosa Junior College, and finally San Francisco State College.[44][45] These porcelain shards were abandoned by Drake at Point Reyes after he took porcelain dishes from a Spanish treasure ship during his venture into the Pacific.[46] Identifying these as unique from Cermeño's 1595 wreck, San Agustin, the only other ship with Chinese porcelains attributed to Point Reyes has been a point of past uncertainty.[47]

The porcelains were first identified by Clarence Shangraw of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and later by archaeologist Edward Von der Porten. These researchers specifically distinguished the Drake porcelains, which were found in middens associated with the Coast Miwok, from those of Cermeño, which washed up on the Point Reyes seashore.[47] They did so using such criteria as design, style, quality, and surface wear. The Drake porcelains have clean breaks and show no abrasion from the corrosive action of being tumbled in the surf. In contrast, the Cermeño shards display surf-tumbling, design change, and differences in style and quality—all which suggests two separate cargoes.[47][48]

Twenty-first century identification

Providing further research, Dr. Marco Meniketti of San Jose State University tested ceramics from shipwrecks in Mexico, California, and Oregon as well as porcelains linked to Drake found near Point Reyes. Using varied shipwreck sources to provide strong controls to the research, Meniketti’s findings confirm the Cermeño porcelains and the Drake ceramics are from two different ships. He states that these two cargoes can be distinguished based on differences in their key elements and believes these differences may represent changes in glaze chemistry, clay sources, or unique inclusions or tempering.[47] All those porcelain shards that washed onto shore must be attributed to Cermeño, and those with clean breaks and no water wear must be attributed to Drake.[49]

Coast Miwok

Before any Europeans came to California, the Coast Miwok people inhabited what is now called Marin and southern Sonoma Counties. Living in village communities ranging from 75 to several hundred people, the Coast Miwok developed a thriving economy based on hunting, fishing, and gathering. Typically, a village was located in a sheltered place near fresh water and food sources.[50] While once numbering up to 5,000, the Coast Miwok population dwindled to as low as 13 after European and American encroachment.[51]

Displayed at Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park, Volcano, California, this basket is similar to those described by Drake's chaplain, Francis Fletcher.

Drake’s landing at present day Point Reyes was the first contact the Coast Miwok had with Europeans,[52] and multitudes of the friendly people visited Drake’s encampment daily.[53] Early when Drake and his crew encountered the Coast Miwok, they observed as the Miwok wailed and scratched themselves.[54] Drake misinterpreted this response as an act of worship and concluded that the Indians believed them to be gods. This response was actually one of Miwok mourning customs. Most likely the Indians regarded the English visitors as relatives who had returned from the dead.[55] On one memorable day, a particularly large assembly of Coast Miwok descended on the encampment to honor Drake by placing chains around his neck, a scepter in his hand, and a crown of feathers on his head as if he were being proclaimed king.[56] It was upon this uncertain, seemingly voluntary surrender of sovereignty by its owners that England based its presumed legal authority to the territory.[57][58] The relations between the Coast Miwok and their visitors were peaceful and friendly, and the Miwok seemed to exhibit distress when the Golden Hind sailed away.[59]

Fletcher described their village structures as round subterranean buildings which came together at the top like spires on a steeple.[60] Kule Loklo, meaning Bear Valley, is a recreated village at Point Reyes National Seashore in the area Coast Miwok lived. The village, built from traditional material, was constructed using Coast Miwok rituals and protocols[61] and is similar to those Coast Miwok villages encountered by Drake.[62]

Coast Miwok were skilled basket makers, even their feathered baskets made to be watertight.[63] Of particular importance to the identification of New Albion are their unique baskets, ones matted with feathers. They were described by Drake’s chaplain as shaped like a deep bowl, covered with a matted down of colored feathers. Such baskets were made only by the Coast Miwok, Pomo, Lake Miwok, and Wappo peoples who were all concentrated near Drake’s landing site.[64] These extraordinarily rare, valued feathered baskets were sacrificial as they were burned to honor the deceased owner, and most fully feathered Coast Miwok baskets that exist today are found in Saint Petersburg, Russia.[65] This 1579 type of fully feathered baskets were still similarly manufactured and used by the Coast Miwok into the 20th century.[66]

Speculation of a colony

There is a discrepancy of at least 20 men regarding the number of crew that Drake commanded prior to his stay in Northern California and when he reached the Moluccas, an archipelago within the Banda Sea, Indonesia. Released Spanish prisoners stated that off the coast of Central America, the ship’s company was about 80 men. Francis Drake’s nephew and crewmember, John Drake, claimed the number totaled 60 when the ship was at Ternate in the Moluccas. On Vesuvius Reef, The World Encompassed puts the number at 58.[67] The reasons for the discrepancy are uncertain, unknown.

This has led to speculation that Drake left behind men to form a colony; however, that reality is unlikely, and any embryo colony notions are based primarily on these reduced numbers.[68] Since Drake had not equipped the voyage for colonization, he would not have placed any settlers along the coast.[11] Furthermore, Drake was undoubtedly aware that England would have trouble enforcing its claim by supporting a colony in a land so remote as New Albion[69] Without firm evidence, reasons for the difference in numbers is conjecture.

The only person confirmed as left behind at New Albion was N. de Morena, a European ship pilot who was in ill health. Left ashore, he recovered his health and embarked on a successful four-year journey by walking to Mexico.[70]

Land and climate

The typical weather conditions of the area—which correspond to those described in Fletcher’s narrative[71]—enjoy the moderating influence of the Pacific Ocean which does much to prevent temperature extremes.[72] In 1579, Fletcher unhappily characterized the summer climate of the area when writing “. . . those mists and most stinking fogges . . . ”[73] and noted that the continuous nipping chill forced them to wear their winter clothes. Even today, irrespective of the season, visitors to the area are advised to prepare for chilly weather.[74] Today, during the same summer months as when Drake encamped at Point Reyes, contemporary weather is similar. In contrast to the temperatures at the headlands and beaches, a few miles inland the temperatures are often 20 degrees warmer and rarely hung with fog throughout the day.[72]

New Albion as seen from the air. At top is the Pacific Ocean, and the body of water to the left is Drake’s Bay. The inlet off Drake's Bay and at center, below the Pacific, is Drakes Estero where Drake careened his ship.

After the English met the Coast Miwok, and when Drake understood it was safe to explore and visit their villages, he found much the same contrast when he forayed up and into the region—miles from the surf—and experienced a flourishing land. Fletcher assessed the area after using a Coast Miwok trail and crossing an interior ridge into what is now the Olema Valley:[75] “The inland we found to be farre different from the shoare, a goodly country and fruitful soyle, stored with many blessings fit for the use of man . . . .”[76] He observed certain animals unknown to the English and described them as “very large and fat Deere” and “a multitude of a strange kinde of Conies."[77] The fat Deere were most likely Roosevelt Elk, and the conies are identified as gophers.[78] These, and the rest, of Fletcher’s assessments and observations of New Albion are flawlessly in concert with the geography of the Point Reyes.[79]

Drake landed in a region that enjoys much diversity in vegetation. The headlands and shore of Point Reyes are home to several types of bushes including bush lupine (Lupinus arboreus), coyote bush (Baccharis pilularis), and blue blossom (Ceanothus thyrsiflorus).[80] And while less than one percent of California’s native grassland is still intact today, Drake’s New Albion is still rich in it. Dominating this pristine vegetation are perennial bunchgrasses, specifically Purple needlegrass (Nassella pulchra), California fescue (Festuca californica), and California oatgrass (Danthonia californica), all of which can remain green the entire year due to moisture provided by the persistent fog.[81] Progressing inland, forested areas appear, and Drake would have seen native trees used by the Coast Miwok such as the California Buckeye (Aesculus californica), Bishop Pine (Pinus muricata), and Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia).[80]

The San Andreas Fault bisects the area of New Albion, and it is estimated to move approximately two inches every year at this point. The most dramatic recorded displacement occurred when Point Reyes leapt 20 feet northwestward as a result of the forces wielded by the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.[82]

Today, the headlands and much of the interior of Point Reyes are part of Point Reyes National Seashore. The area also has several ranches, including ones that are operating on the National Park Service land.[83] Inverness, Bolinas, Olema, and Point Reyes Station are communities in the area.

Climate data for Bear Valley Visitor Center (inland area visited by Drake [84]), Point Reyes, CA (Jan 2006 - Dec 2015)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 58
Average low °F (°C) 40
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.1
Source: PRISM Climate Group[85]

Other ideas suggesting alternative locations

Considering that in excess of twenty other locations have been advanced as the site of Drake's port, more ink has flowed regarding the location of New Albion than any other New World harbor that Drake sought.[86][41] Not only did Davidson recognize a plethora of confusion, chiefly from armchair historians including Samuel Johnson[87] and Jules Verne,[88] controversy has also raged for decades due to researchers' varying personal motives.[89]

Point San Quentin, San Francisco Bay, California

Robert H. Power (1926–1991), co-owner of the Nut Tree in Vacaville, CA, promoted the idea that Drake’s New Albion was inside present day San Francisco Bay near Point San Quentin (37°56′22″N 122°29′12″W / 37.939400°N 122.486700°W / 37.939400; -122.486700). Among his arguments was that the Hondius Broadside map matched a part of the topography when parts were adjusted using a 2:1 correction.[90]

Whale Cove, Oregon

In 1978 British amateur historian Bob Ward, after studying the geography of the Pacific coast of the U.S. and Canada, suggested that Drake actually landed much farther north, in Whale Cove in present-day Oregon (44°47′20″N 124°04′14″W / 44.788944°N 124.070689°W / 44.788944; -124.070689). Advocates of the Whale Cove theory dismiss the latitude given by Drake on the grounds that he may have deliberately falsified it in order to deceive the rival Spanish. Although the official account of Drake's voyage gives the anchorage location as 38 degrees, the only two known hand-written accounts of the voyage, preserved in the British Library, say that it was at 44 degrees, which is on the mid-Oregon coast. Drake and Queen Elizabeth, they argue, falsified the location because he mistakenly thought he had discovered the North West Passage when he found, and sailed into, the Strait of Juan de Fuca.[91]

Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

In 2003 Canadian R. Samuel Bawlf suggested that Drake's landing was on present day Vancouver Island at Comox, British Columbia (49°40′N 124°57′W / 49.66°N 124.95°W / 49.66; -124.95). Bawlf supported the idea that Drake completed the "Neahkahnie Mountain Survey," and he believed Drake careened the Golden Hind in Whale Cove, Oregon. Bawlf pointed to a number of pieces of evidence in support of his view that the official published record of Drake's voyage was deliberately altered to suppress the true extent of his discoveries. Bawlf also relied heavily upon the configuration of the coastline as depicted in some of the maps and globes of the era, including the so-called French and Dutch Drake Maps and Richard Hakluyt's 1587 map of the New World which Bawlf believed indicate a more-northerly location.[92]

Ancillary finds

Plate of Brass

Sixpence of Elizabeth I, like the one claimed by Hakluyt to have been used for Drake's plate.

Richard Hakluyt wrote of a particular, distinctive plate which Drake installed at New Albion: “At our departure hence our General set up a monument of our being there, as also of her Majesty's right and title to the same; namely a plate, nailed upon a fair great post, whereupon was engraved her Majesty's name, the day and year of our arrival there, with the free giving up of the province and people into her Majesty's hands, together with her Highness' picture and arms, in a piece of six pence of current English money, under the plate, whereunder was also written the name of our General.[93] Similarly, Fletcher’s narrative informs us that an engraved plate of brass, with a sixpence bearing the Queen’s likeness affixed to it, was attached to a “. . . great and firme post . . . .”[94] This plate served tangible notice of England’s sovereignty over the land,[95] and given that the original plate has yet to be found, the exact location of the monument is unknown.

In 1936, a counterfeit, the so-called Drake's Plate of Brass, came to public attention, and for decades its discovery was believed to be that of the original. While accepted by the University of California, Berkeley, as authentic, doubts persisted. Eventually, in the late 1970’s scientists determined—after it failed a battery of metallurgical tests—that the plate was a modern creation.[96] In 2003, it was publicly revealed the counterfeit plate was created as a practical joke among local historians. Spinning out of control, the joke unintendedly became a public hoax and embarrassment to those who had once confirmed its authenticity.[97]

Silver sixpence

Proximate to Drakes Bay is the Coast Miwok village site of Olompali (historically spelled "Olompolli"). According to the Olompali Park website, a pierced Elizabethan silver sixpence (see Francis Pretty's account of Drake's landing, below) bearing the date of 1567—the oldest artifact bearing a calendar date ever found in California—was discovered in the park in an excavation of a Miwok village site by archeologists. While this could indicate that Olompali residents had contact with Sir Francis Drake or with people who had traded with the English explorer, this is a portable object with no certain association with Drake. The sixpence is now in the collection of the Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley, California.[98]

“Drake’s Cup”

The so-called “Drake’s Cup” is a bronze mortar with the date 1570 inscribed in it. The mortar hung in a Marin County, California church for many years and was called “Drake’s Cup” for decades. In the early 1970s, the mortar was researched extensively by the Drake Navigators Guild. While the mortar is an authentic European sixteenth century item of the type navigators used, no provenance associating it with Drake’s California visit can be established.[99]


The legacy of Drake’s New Albion claim is broad. The inspiration of various local namesakes is owed to the notion of this declaration. New Albion Brewing Company, located near Drake’s 1579 landing, is the first United States microbrewery of the modern era,36 [100] and Sir Francis Drake High School is located in San Anselmo, California, several miles southeast of Drake’s landing.[101] Also near Drake’s landing is Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, an arterial road running east-west in Marin County, California. The Prayerbook Cross, also known as the Drake Cross, erected in 1894 in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, was donated by the Church of England to commemorate the 1579 church services held by Drake's chaplain, claiming they were the first ever held in English in the region.[102]

Several commemorative and historical societies have been founded—not only to celebrate and research Drake's landing in northern California—but also to investigate speculative sites. These include the Sir Francis Drake Association, the Sir Francis Drake Society and the Drake Navigators Guild.

However, the New Albion legacy runs deeper with significance than namesakes and history groups. Because Drake attempted no long-term presence, the English made no immediate follow up to the claim. Since all of their subsequent expeditions along the North American Pacific Coast were infrequent and irregular,[103][104] Nova Albion was primarily a geographical designation—a new distinctive name on the world map. Ultimately, this inked designation was of supreme significance as it proclaimed England’s ability and presumed right to pursue its own empire in America.[105][106] Consequently, Drake’s New Albion claim was a forward-thinking, considered component of a new national expansion policy,[107] one of several of his exploits which both determined Elizabeth’s policy for the duration of her reign and indirectly impacted England’s continuing historical future.[108] The New Albion claim was the first indication of English goals broader than simple reprisal against Spain which then influenced similar national expansion projects by others such as Humphrey Gilbert and Walter Raleigh.[109] As a rejection of territorial claims based on papal authority, the New Albion claim asserted Elizabeth’s notion of territorial claim by occupation,[110] which eventually promoted the colonial idea of New Albion as “the backside of Virginia,”[111] the expression of England’s presumed legal status of sea to sea colonial entitlement.

See also

Further reading

  • Drake, Francis. Archibald L., Hettrich, ed. Sir Francis Drake, description of his landing at Drake's Bay, Marin County, California, June 17, 1579. 


  1. ^ Sugden, John (1990). Sir Francis Drake. New York: Touchstone. p. 133. ISBN 0-671-75863-2. 
  2. ^ Turner, Michael (2006). In Drake’s Wake Volume 2 The World Voyage. United Kingdom: Paul Mould Publishing. p. 168. ISBN 1-904959-28-8. 
  3. ^ Sugden 1990, pp. 92–98
  4. ^ "Sir Francis Drake: A Pictorial Biography by Hans P. Kraus". Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  5. ^ Sudgen 1990, pp. 98, 109, 110
  6. ^ "Sir Francis Drake". Retrieved 7 March 2018. 
  7. ^ "10 Things You May Not Know About Francis Drake". Retrieved 7 March 2018. 
  8. ^ Sugden 1990, p. 101
  9. ^ Sugden 1990, p.98
  10. ^ Sugden 1990, p. 132
  11. ^ a b "Inventory and Analysis of Coastal and Submerged Archaeological Site Occurrence on the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf" (PDF). Retrieved 31 December 2017. 
  12. ^ Sugden 1990, p. 130
  13. ^ "This Day In History Drake claims California for England". Retrieved 15 June 2018. 
  14. ^ "This Day In History Drake Circumnavigates the Globe". Retrieved 20 January 2018. 
  15. ^ Sugden 1990, p. 137
  16. ^ Turner 2006, p.173
  17. ^ Sugden 1990, p. 135
  18. ^ Turner 2006, p. 183
  19. ^ Sugden 1990, p. 144
  20. ^ Stow, John (1984). Sir Francis Drake and the famous voyage, 1577–1580 : essays commemorating the quadricentennial of Drake's circumnavigation of the earth. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 2. ISBN 0520048768. 
  21. ^ Sugden 1990, p. 149
  22. ^ Sugden 1990, p. 151
  23. ^ Polk, Dora (1995). The Island of California: A History Of The Myth. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. p. 241. ISBN 9780803287419. 
  24. ^ Wallis, Helen (1979). The Voyage of Sir Francis Drake Mapped in Silver and Gold. Berkeley: University of California The Friends of the Bancroft Library. p. 7. 
  25. ^ Sugden 1990, p. 118
  26. ^ Sugden 1990, p. 118
  27. ^ Sugden 1990, p. 111
  28. ^ Drake's likely 380 NM route (GoogleEarth)
  29. ^ "Sir Francis Drake's Ship Grounding Honored". Retrieved 5 June 2018. 
  30. ^ Turner 2006, p. 169
  31. ^ "Site Of Sir Francis Drake's Ship Grounding Honored At Point Reyes National Seashore". Retrieved 5 June 2018. 
  32. ^ Wagner, Henry R. (1926). Sir Francis Drake's Voyage Around the World: Its Aims and Achievemennts. John Howell. p. 161. 
  33. ^ Turner 2006, p. 290
  34. ^ "Annual Report of the Director, p. 214". Retrieved Jan 20, 2018. 
  35. ^ Davidson, George (1890). Identification of Francis Drake's Anchorage on the Coast of California in the year 1579. San Francisco. p. 8. 
  36. ^ "Francis Drake On The Northwest Coast In 1579". Retrieved 16 June 2018. 
  37. ^ "Robert Fleming Heizer July 13, 1959-July18, 1979". Retrieved 16 June 2018. 
  38. ^ Heizer, Robert (1947). Francis Drake And The California Indians , 1579. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. 279. ISBN 9781500593599. 
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