The Armada of the Strait: James P.R. Lyell and the Relación of Pedro de Rada

The publication of Carla Rahn Phillips’ The Struggle for the South Atlantic ensured that the Relación by the sixteenth-century Spanish clerk Pedro de Rada is now for the first time made available in print. Only acquired by a public institution in 1999, the Relación had a long and still little-known life in private hands. In this blog post, the independent specialist in antiquarian books and Hakluyt Society Council member Anthony Payne sheds light on this story by focusing on the manuscript’s twentieth-century owner, the British solicitor and bibliophile James P.R. Lyell.


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A source of great satisfaction for an antiquarian bookseller is to discover a rarity and to see a major work of scholarship result from its acquisition by a research library. One such instance for me was the Hakluyt Society’s publication in December 2016 of The Struggle for the South Atlantic: The Armada of the Strait, 1581–1584, splendidly translated and edited by Carla Rahn Phillips from the Spanish manuscript Relación of Pedro de Rada, now in the Huntington Library, San Marino, California (MS HM 59416).

The Huntington purchased this from the antiquarian booksellers Bernard Quaritch Ltd in 1999, when I was one of the company’s directors. We had bought the manuscript shortly beforehand from another book dealer in London and, as soon as I had catalogued it, we offered it for sale as item 167 in our Catalogue 1257. It was promptly ordered by Bill Frank, the Huntington’s Curator of Hispanic, Cartographic and Western Historical Manuscripts, and was delivered to the library as soon as we received an export licence.

Professor Phillips has identified the 1742 ownership inscription of one Pedro de Chópite (possibly from the Basque country) in the manuscript, but this apart, nothing is known of its history until the twentieth century when it was acquired by James P.R. Lyell (1871–1948), whose distinctive bookplate is affixed to the margin of the first leaf.

A solicitor by profession, Lyell was a distinguished book collector and bibliographer. He developed an especially close relationship with Oxford’s Bodleian Library, which is marked by the bequest of one hundred of his medieval manuscripts to the library and his endowment of the Lyell Readership in Bibliography at Oxford.

At a talk he gave in 1939 on ‘books and book collecting’, Lyell recalled that ‘I began collecting at school – nibs and postage stamps’. He sold his stamps to eke out his father’s allowance as an undergraduate at University College London, and next, while training to become a solicitor, began to collect books, attending his first auction, at Hodgson’s rooms, in 1891. ‘Book-hunting’, the Oxford historian David Ogg remarked, then became Lyell’s ‘absorbing hobby, and if he parted from time to time with some of his treasures he knew there were always others waiting to be tracked down by the discerning collector’.

Early printed books were Lyell’s first interest. In 1914 he chanced to buy at Hodgson’s a copy of the Complutensian Polyglot, the magnificent six-volume Bible printed in Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic at Alcalá de Henares in 1514–17. When he got home from the sale, Lyell said, ‘I found that I had been fortunate enough to secure at a war-time price one of the most famous books in the world’, and it sparked a deep engagement in all books Spanish that led him to collect almost exclusively in that field for the next dozen or so years.

Not only did Lyell collect, but he learnt Spanish, travelled to Spain, and published a biography of the sponsor of the Complutensian Polyglot, Cardinal Ximenes, Statesman, Ecclesiastic, Soldier and Man of Letters with an Account of the Complutensian Polyglot Bible (London: Grafton, 1917), as well as a major study of Early Book Illustration in Spain (London: Grafton, 1926), which became the standard authority on the subject (in 1997 it appeared in a Spanish edition with updated notes). In time Lyell formed the largest private collection of Spanish books in Britain, but in 1927 he decided to move from London to Oxford and parted with most of its rarities, notably the works illustrated with woodcuts.

An allied bibliophilic pursuit of Lyell’s was his collection of books on the Spanish Armada (‘a very fine one’ he considered it). Research on this was the basis for the B.Litt. thesis awarded to him in 1932, aged sixty-one, as a member of New College, Oxford. He later sold the collection to Thomas W. Lamont, a partner in Pierpont Morgan & Co., who then presented it to Harvard.armada-straits

It can readily be appreciated, therefore, that Lyell’s acquisition of the manuscript of Pedro de Rada’s Relaciónreflected not only his interest in Spanish books but also in the naval history of the 1580s. I have not been able to discover when or where Lyell obtained it – it was perhaps on one of his visits to Spain, or maybe in the London trade, for example, from the leading booksellers, Maggs Brothers, who handled much high-quality Spanish material in the 1920s. Nor is it clear whether Lyell disposed of it during his lifetime or not. From the mid-1930s his focus turned to medieval manuscripts and these constituted the principal element in the collection dispersed after his death in 1948.

Items not bequeathed to the Bodleian, or bought from Lyell’s executors by the Bodleian (and a few by the National Library of Scotland), were acquired by Quaritch in 1951 and many, but not all, were included in Quaritch’s Catalogue 699, issued in 1952. Rada’s manuscript is not among those in the catalogue. It is possible that it was among Quaritch’s other, uncatalogued, purchases from Lyell’s collection, but this cannot be established from the firm’s surviving records for this period. It seems equally likely that Lyell sold it during the 1930s as his collecting interests developed in new directions.*


Anthony Payne is an antiquarian bookseller and past Vice-President of the Hakluyt Society. Besides his work in the antiquarian book market, Anthony Payne is engaged in historical research and has lectured at Princeton University, the University of York, the Warburg Institute, the National Maritime Museum, Gresham College and University College London. He is currently working on a major bibliographical study of Richard Hakluyt (1552–1616) and has previously published a short introductory survey, Richard Hakluyt: A Guide to His Books and to Those Associated with Him 1580–1625 (London: Bernard Quaritch Ltd, 2008).

* In compiling this blog I have referred to the biography of Lyell by Dennis E. Rhodes in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, which concludes that ‘he was a self-taught bibliophile and scholar of extraordinary enthusiasm and discrimination, and one who deserves to be remembered not only by Oxford but by the whole bibliographical world’. I have also drawn on Lyell’s posthumously published talk, ‘Books and Book Collecting’, Bodleian Library Record, vol. 3 (1951), pp. 278–81; R. W. Hunt, ‘The Lyell Bequest’, Bodleian Library Record, vol. 3 (1951), pp. 68–72; Maurice L. Ettinghausen, Rare Books and Royal Collectors: Memoirs of an Antiquarian Bookseller (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1966), pp. 76–8; and Albinia de la Mare’s introduction to her Catalogue of the Collection of Medieval Manuscripts Bequeathed to the Bodleian Library Oxford by James P. R. Lyell (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971).

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The Armada of the Strait, 1581-1584: Disastrous beginnings of an ill-fated enterprise

The latest Hakluyt Society publication, The Struggle for the South Atlantic: The Armada of the Strait, 1581-84, edited by Professor Carla Rahn Phillips, documents the story of The Armada of the Strait which sailed under Don Diego Flores de Valdés in 1581–4. The armada set out from south-western Spain in the fall of 1581, with twenty-three ships and 3,500 people on board. During its three years’ voyage, hundreds of people would drown in shipwrecks and hundreds more perished from disease and privation.

The first of such shipwrecks occurred in October 1581, just a few days after the departure of the armada from Sanlúcar de Barrameda, bound for Brazil. In this post, Professor Rahn Phillips introduces us to one of the most thrilling passages of the Relación of chief scribe Pedro de RadaThe excerpt is a translation from fols 4r–5r of the original manuscript, now held in the Huntington Library [1].


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[f. 4r] … Tuesday, the 3rd of October [1581], the eve of San Francisco, when we had sailed about 35 leagues from San Lucar, there began to be such strong wind from the south and south-west, with much shifting of the cargo, and things looked bad, so that it was indispensable that the armada take down its sails and heave to, until Friday, the 6th of the aforesaid, when the weather had such force that the galeaza capitana had to jettison some things, which was done.

And the weather worsened so much on this day that eight navios from the armada could not be seen. And the next day, Saturday the 7th, we found ourselves so off course that, though we were not ten leagues from the Baya de Cadiz, the pilots did not know where they were, and thus there were a thousand variations amongst them, until the capitana saw the land of Rotta downwind, and we found ourselves blown so far to leeward that, given the force of the weather, it was greatly feared that we would not be able to enter the Bayya de Cadiz.

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And thus we sailed toward it with great difficulty, close to the wind because the wind and sea were excessive, the galeaza capitana entering with another fifteen naos that were going with her. In sight of the city of Cadiz, the nao named Nuestra Senora de Guia whose captain was Martin de Quiros, went to the bottom in a trice, and all who were on her drowned, which was the greatest misfortune to see without being able to succour even a single man, although it was four in the afternoon; and 150 men and some women and children settlers were on this nao.

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[f. 4v] This day, the navio named Nuestra Señora de Buena Esperanza, on which Pero Estebanez de las Alas sailed as captain, was lost near Roctta, which it could not get round. The captain himself and one hundred other persons from this navio were drowned. This same day the navio named San Miguel was lost, whose Captain Hector Abarca was drowned with another eighty persons. This same day the nao named Sancti Yspiritu was lost near the Rio del Oro in El Picacho. The captain and owner was Juanes de Villaviciossa Lizarza, who had remained in San Lucar and did not go on the expedition, because he was given too little money as subsidy; and Captain Alvaro Romo sailed in her and was drowned with another 120 persons.

The nao almiranta, in which Diego de la Rivera sailed, entered into the bay the next day, Sunday the 8th of October, after nearly being lost next to Arenas Gordas. Another two naos entered San Lucar with great difficulty, one in which Don Alonso de Sotomayor sailed, and the other with Captain Gutiere de Solis. The latter was taken to the Cassa de la Contratacion in Seville under arrest, because he had left the nao before it entered into the port. Another nao entered Guelba, with its captain Jodar Alferez.

This incident and misfortune caused great pain and grief to all in the armada, and General Diego Florez felt it very much, because, besides the loss of so many people, provisions, artillery, and other munitions, many captains and [f. 5r] high-ranking dependents of his were drowned.

[1] Note that the spelling of place names, etc. follows the original manuscript. Spanish words that should have accents do not have them in the original text, so they are not added in the translation. Ship names and types are, however, placed in italics, for the sake of clarity if not consistency.

Carla Rahn Phillips, Union Pacific Professor  in Comparative Early Modern History (Emerita), retired from the University of Minnesota in 2013. She has  published numerous books, articles, and book chapters on the social and economic history of Spain and its maritime connections in the early modern world, including Six Galleons for the King of Spain (1986)The Treasure of the San Jose (2007), and (with William D. Phillips Jr.)The Worlds of Christopher Columbus (1993), and A Concise History of Spain (2010, 2nd ed. 2015).


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Personal conflict in the Armada of the Strait: Sarmiento versus Flores

In The Struggle for the South Atlantic: The Armada of the Strait, 1581-84, Professor Carla Rahn Phillips provides the first edition in any language of Pedro de Rada’s Relación, the hitherto unknown report written by the chief scribe of the Armada of the StraitThe Struggle for the South Atlantic contains a detailed eyewitness description of this ill-fated expedition, yet it contains more. In a recent interview, the Hakluyt Society Blog asked Professor Phillips about the troubled relationship between Don Diego Flores de Valdés, the Captain General of the Armada, and Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, governor-designate of the future colony at the Strait, as well as about the importance of the discovery of Rada’s manuscript.


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To start, could you say something about the personal conflict at the heart of the Armada of the Strait?

CRP: Like any large enterprise, the Armada of the Strait was bound to have a range of personalities and a certain amount of disagreement and friction among its participants. Nonetheless, one ongoing clash all but defined the Armada of the Strait: the enmity between Pedro Sarmiento, governor-designate of the colony to be planted at the Strait, and Don Diego Flores de Valdés, captain general of the armada as a whole. Their continual wrangles began during the planning stages of the armada in 1581 and continued after the expedition ended in 1584.

Historians know quite a bit about their disagreements, and virtually everyone who has written about the voyage has taken the side of Sarmiento. The likely reason is that Sarmiento wrote much of the documentation published up to now, endlessly arguing his own side of the story; praising his own actions; and accusing Flores of numerous character flaws, mistaken judgment, evil intent, incompetence, and fraud. In the published historical accounts that mention the voyage and the attempt to plant a colony at the Strait, Sarmiento emerges as a hero — flawed, as all heroes are — but a hero nonetheless. Flores emerges as a villain — or at best, as an inept foil for Sarmiento’s heroic actions.

Yet until recently Pedro de Rada’s ‘Relación’ has remained unknown..

CRP: Exactly! As the expedition’s chief scribe, Pedro de Rada wrote thousands of pages of official documentation. Philip II requested all of these records shortly after Flores returned to Spain in July 1584. However, Rada had also written a Relación or report covering the entire voyage, with copies of various official documents appended. This detailed first-hand account remained in private hands until 1999, when it was acquired by the Huntington Library and made available to the research community. 

Rich in detail and human drama, Rada’s Relación provides a unique perspective on the events and personalities involved in the Armada of the Strait. Until it surfaced, the Armada  was known largely from the point of view of Sarmiento, whose version of events overwhelmed all other voices regarding the armada and influenced generations of historians. Important in this respect was that, in 1895, the Hakluyt Society published translated excerpts from Sarmiento’s voluminous writings, edited by Clements R. Markham. By contrast, Pedro de Rada’s Relación provides the reader with an official, dispassionate voice to contrast with the self-serving accounts by Sarmiento.

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Luís de Texeira, Map of the Captaincies of Brazil (c. 1574). Biblioteca de Ajuda, Lisbon

Reading Rada’s Relación against existing documentation, what new conclusions can be drawn about the Armada of the Strait?

CRP: Rada’s Relación clearly shows how the most meticulous plans for overseas ventures could be wrecked by the hazards inherent in sailing into largely unknown waters, yet also how those plans could  be jeopardized by personal conflicts that had entirely human causes. In modern histories of early exploration and colonization, mention of personal antagonisms is generally avoided as a petty distraction from the central, heroic narrative. Likewise, Rada’s laconic account only hints at the ongoing clash between Flores and Sarmiento. Nonetheless, by reading Rada’s journal in the light of the extensive Spanish documentation about the preparations for the voyage, we can understand the difficulties posed by the enmity between Sarmiento and Flores and appreciate what the expedition was able to accomplish despite that enmity.

The Relación chronicles an expedition that was launched with extraordinary effort at a critical period in Spanish exploration and colonization. Despite all the careful planning that preceded its departure, the armada suffered more calamities than many other expeditions, partly due to chance, but also due to the irrational schemes of Pedro Sarmiento, whom so many historians have praised as a visionary hero.

Pedro de Rada’s Relación, together with a selection of instructions and reports pertaining to the Armada of the Strait, are now made available for the first time, in English translation, by Professor Carla Rahn Phillips for the Hakluyt Society. Order your copy here.


Carla Rahn Phillips, Union Pacific Professor  in Comparative Early Modern History (Emerita), retired from the University of Minnesota in 2013. She has  published numerous books, articles, and book chapters on the social and economic history of Spain and its maritime connections in the early modern world, including Six Galleons for the King of Spain (1986)The Treasure of the San Jose (2007), and (with William D. Phillips Jr.)The Worlds of Christopher Columbus (1993), and A Concise History of Spain (2010, 2nd ed. 2015).


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New Hakluyt Society Publication: The Struggle for the South Atlantic: The Armada of the Strait, 1581-84

To start 2017 in great spirits, the Hakluyt Society has just released its latest publication: Carla Rahn Phillips (ed.), The Struggle for the South Atlantic: The Armada of the Strait, 1581-84, which has been distributed to Hakluyt Society members free of charge. The Struggle for the South Atlantic documents the story of that little-known ‘other Armada’, the Armada of the Strait, whose eventful journey was hardly less desastrous than that of the Armada of 1588. Professor Carla Rahn Phillips (University of Minnesota) presents us with the first edition ever to appear in print of the chronicle kept by Pedro de Rada, the official scribe of the armada. Her expert English translation is preceded by an extensive critical introduction. In this first of three blog posts, Professor Phillips introduces the new volume.


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The Armada of the Strait under Don Diego Flores de Valdés in 1581–4 came at a crucial juncture in global politics. Philip II of Spain had assumed the crown of Portugal and its overseas empire, and Francis Drake’s daring peacetime raids had challenged the dominance of Spain and Portugal in the Americas. Drake’s attacks had demonstrated the vulnerability of both Spanish and Portuguese colonies, and intelligence reports indicated that other English adventurers hoped to replicate Drake’s successful melding of trade and plunder.

It was clear to Philip and his councillors that something had to be done quickly to safeguard the Americas. The armada was intended to ensure the loyalty of Portuguese Brazil; bolster its defences against hostile native peoples as well as English and French pirates and interlopers; and fortify and settle the Strait of Magellan to prevent further incursions into the Pacific.

The Armada of the Strait under set out from south-western Spain in the fall of 1581, with twenty-three ships and 3,500 people, including officers, royal officials, sailors, soldiers, and settlers with their families. Despite careful planning, the expedition suffered terrible losses from the very beginning and hardships throughout. Hundreds of people drowned in shipwrecks and hundreds more perished from disease and privation.

Several ships were lost or so damaged by storms that they could not continue. A contingent of the armada finally was able to establish 338 persons at the Strait, following two earlier failed attempts.  Other contingents from the armada skirmished with an English expedition under Edward Fenton, expelled French interlopers from north-eastern Brazil, and improved the defences of several coastal regions. The armada officially ended when Flores arrived back in Spain with five ships and some 600 men in July of 1584. In September of that year, another three ships and 200 men arrived with the armada’s second in command, Almirante Diego de la Rivera, who had carried the colonizers to the Strait.

Pedro de Rada, the official scribe of the armada, kept a detailed, neutral chronicle of the venture which remained in private hands until 1999 but is now held in the Henry E. Huntington Library in San Marino, California. It is now published for the first time, as the latest Hakluyt Society publication (Third Series, Vol. 31). Previous historical assessments of the expedition have largely reflected the writings of Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, governor-designate for the planned colony at the Strait, who blamed all the misfortunes of the enterprise on Diego Flores de Valdés. Rada’s Relación is presented here in conjunction with other documentation and compared with Sarmiento de Gamboa’s accusations.

The results will force scholars to revise long-standing conclusions regarding the place of Sarmiento and Flores in Spanish history and the accomplishments of a long-forgotten armada sent into the terrifying waters of the South Atlantic.

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Carla Rahn Phillips, Union Pacific Professor  in Comparative Early Modern History (Emerita), retired from the University of Minnesota in 2013. She has  published numerous books, articles, and book chapters on the social and economic history of Spain and its maritime connections in the early modern world, including Six Galleons for the King of Spain (1986)The Treasure of the San Jose (2007), and (with William D. Phillips Jr.)The Worlds of Christopher Columbus (1993), and A Concise History of Spain (2010, 2nd ed. 2015).


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Theodore de Bry, Richard Hakluyt, and the Business of Books: De Bry’s 1591 Engravings of Florida Timucua Indians

Richard Hakluyt (1552-1616) was well connected to an international network of voyagers, printers, and publishers, and he liaised between German publisher Theodore de Bry and English artist John White for the sale of the latter’s watercolour drawings of Amerindians. This much is well-known. In this fascinating example of historical detective work – the first of two blog posts on De Bry’s 1591 engravings of Florida Timucua Indians – Emeritus Professor Jerald T. Milanich goes further to unravel the links between Hakluyt, De Bry, White, Jacques le Moyne, and Sir Walter Raleigh.

In his 1946 book The New World, the First Pictures of America Stefan Lorant reprinted Theodore de Bry’s engravings of Florida Timucua Indians first published in 1591. Lorant included an English translation of the narrative that had accompanied the engravings in 1591. Lorant maintained that the images were based on paintings done by Jacques le Moyne, a member of a French colony on the St. Johns River in Northeast Florida in 1564-1565. He also attributed the narrative to Le Moyne.


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Since 1946 scholars, museum exhibition designers, and others have treated the engravings as accurate renderings of the Timucua Indians and their material culture. More than one person has referred erroneously to the engravings as having been done by Le Moyne. It is highly likely, however, that De Bry, whose book company published 27 illustrated volumes on the Americas, Africa, and Asia, simply made up the engravings, basing them on his imagination, written accounts, and borrowings from extant images.[i]

Jerald T. Milanich, Emeritus Professor at the University of Florida, is the author of more than twenty books describing the Indian societies of the Americas and their interactions with Europeans during the colonial and post-colonial periods. Presently he divides his time between New York City and the Catskill Mountains.

The story of the images and text involves Sir Walter Raleigh, Richard Hakluyt, English investors, a dead French artist, a live English artist, the lost Roanoke colony, and two French noblemen (one murdered, the other deceased). Events played out from Florida to London to Frankfurt.

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Scheme (somewhat tongue in cheek) of the relationships among the principle actors in the story of the Florida engravings. By Jerald T. Milanich.

Those of us across the Atlantic, myself included, now realize that the De Bry Florida engravings are bogus. They are not accurate ethnographic depictions of the Timucua Indians.

De Bry, Hakluyt, and the Business of Books

In the sixteenth century, books about the Americas were hot sellers in Europe. Among them are Hans Staden’s 1557 account of living among the Tupinambá Indians in Brazil (in English: True Story and Description of a Country of Wild, Naked, Grim, Man-eating People in the New World); André Thevet’s three volumes (1557, 1575, and 1584; the 1557 title is: Les Singularitez de la France antarctique); and Richard Hakluyt’s 1582 Divers Voyages.

Hakluyt published additional narratives in his multi-volume opus Principall Navigations of the English Nation, including one by Thomas Harriot about the ill-fated Roanoke colony in coastal North Carolina. Hakluyt also was instrumental in the 1586 publication of René de Laudonnière’s Histoire Notable de la Florida (publishing an English edition the next year; Laudonnière had died in 1574).

How does Theodore de Bry fit into all of this? A successful goldsmith and metallurgist, De Bry was earning an international reputation as a skilled engraver who could create wonderful printed images. Up into the 1560s books had featured wood block prints. The newest rage, copper engravings like those being produced by De Bry, resulted in clearer, more complex images.

In September 1588 De Bry and his family moved to Frankfurt and beginning in 1590 and continuing well into the 1620s they ran a book publishing business that took advantage of copper engravings. At the time Frankfurt was the center of book production in Europe and for nearly four decades the De Bry firm was what Michiel van Groesen calls “one of the most remarkable publishing houses of early modern Europe.”

Prior to moving to Frankfurt, Theodore de Bry spent more than three years in London with his family, having moved there in 1585 from Antwerp. It was in London in 1587 that De Bry celebrated his 60th birthday and where he came into contact with Richard Hakluyt and Jacques le Moyne, whom Hakluyt had met previously and who would apparently provide De Bry (and Hakluyt?) with firsthand knowledge of the French settlement in Florida.

In London, Hakluyt and other Englishmen convinced De Bry to publish a series of illustrated books containing accounts by Europeans who had visited the Americas, many of which Hakluyt had already published or would publish. Hakluyt had access to John White’s paintings of Algonquian Indians in North Carolina and he had the account by Thomas Harriot of the unsuccessful Roanoke colony. Hakluyt also was working on Le Moyne to produce paintings of Florida, suggesting that Sir Walter Raleigh would pay him.

Hakluyt and others, all Protestants with ties to Sir Walter Raleigh, were willing to financially back De Bry in the new publishing venture. De Bry’s first volume was to feature Harriot’s Roanoke narrative illustrated with engravings of John White’s paintings. There were to be English, French, Latin, and German editions.

The four editions of that first volume issued in 1590 were a financial success. The second volume, the account of the French in Florida which Hakluyt also had suggested to De Bry, was published in 1591 in Latin and German editions, and a third volume, with Hans Staden’s account of Brazil appeared in Latin in 1592 and German in 1593. Likely all three volumes were planned with Hakluyt while de Bry was in London.

In subsequent years the De Bry firm published other volumes on the Americas, and then went on to publish books on Africa, southern Asia, and the Far East. Ultimately there would be 13 volumes on the Americas and 14 on Africa and Asia.

Part 2 of this blog will follow shortly


Jerald T. Milanich is Emeritus Professor at the University of Florida. He is the author of more than twenty books describing the Indian societies of the Americas and their interactions with Europeans during the colonial and post-colonial periods. Presently he divides his time between New York City and the Catskill Mountains.


[i] European researchers like Michiel van Groesen, Christian Feest, and others have done much to clarify the sources of de Bry engravings and the le Moyne-de Bry connection. See van Groesen, The Representations of the Overseas World in the De Bry Collection of Voyages (1590-1634) (Leiden: Brill, 2012); Feest, “Jacques Le Moyne Minus Four,” European Review of Native American Studies 1(1):33-38; 1988; John Faupel, “An Appraisal of the Illustrations,” in A Foothold in Florida, The Eye-Witness Account of Four Voyages made by the French to that Region, by Sarah Lawson (East Grinstead, West Sussex, England: Antique Atlas Publications, 1992), pp. 150-178.

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Programme: The Hakluyt Society Conference, Hull, 13-14 November

The Hakluyt Society Conference:

Maritime Trade, Travel and Cultural Encounter in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries’

Location: Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation, 27 High Street, Hull. HU1 1NE

Friday 13 November – Saturday 14 November 2015

** Registration is free for Hakluyt Society members and £30 to non-members **

Order your tickets here


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PROGRAMME 

The Hakluyt Society Conference programme

Friday 13 November 2015

9.15 Registration and Coffee

9.45 Welcome (President of the Hakluyt Society)

10.00-12.00 Panel 1: Travel Accounts and Logbooks

Chair: Nigel Rigby

Paul Sivitz (Idaho State University),Ship Captains and Science: Linking Physical and Virtual Mobilities in the Eighteenth Century’

Natalie Cox (University of Warwick) and Steven Gray (University of Portsmouth), ‘Tales from the “Happy Ships” of Empire: The Westminster Press ‘Log Series’ and the emergence of Naval travel writing, 1883-1910’

Lena Moser (University of Tuebingen), ‘“Totally unfit for an English Naval Officer”: The travels and career of Friedrich Lappenberg of Bremen, Master RN’

Donald Laskey (Central Michigan State University), ‘Joshua Slocum and the Nineteenth Century Planetary Performers’

12.00-1.00 Lunch

1.00-3.00 Panel 2: Cultural Exchange

Chair: Jenny Balfour-Paul

Nigel Rigby (National Maritime Museum, Greenwich), ‘Exhibiting Captain Cook at the National Maritime Museum, 1937-2018’.

Ryan Holroyd (Pennsylvania State University),Responsibility, Red Tape, & Wretchedness: The English East India Company’s Disappointment in the Chinese Port of Xiamen, 1684 – 1720’

Tika Ramadhini (Leiden University), ‘The Arabs in the Lesser Sunda Islands: Cultural Brokers from a Diaspora in the Late 19th Century’

Paul Hughes, ‘Restoration: Portrait of a Seventeenth Century Navigator’

3.00-3.30 Tea/Coffee

3.30-5.30 Panel 3: Empires

Chair: Guido van Meersbergen

Noelle Nadiah Richardson (European University Institute), ‘Abandoned Backwater? Revisiting Goa and Global Trade in the Eighteenth Century’

 Nida Nebahat Nalçacı (Istanbul University),Dissolution of Ottoman Diplomatic Arrogance: The Case of POWs in Ottoman Istanbul’

 Chris Petrakos (University of Toronto Mississauga), The Yukon Commissioner’s British Tour: The Atlantic and the Making of the Canadian West, 1897-1900

 Guy Collender (Birkbeck, University of London), Strikes and solidarity: Parallels between dockers’ unions in Great Britain and Australia in the late 19th century

6.00 p.m. Reception – Blaydes House

7.00 p.m. Keynote Lecture at WISE – David Richardson (WISE, University of Hull), ‘Inside out: Technological and cultural change in shaping Atlantic history, 1650-1860’

Evening: Free time for delegates


Saturday 14 November

9.30 Coffee

10.00-12.00: Panel 4 – Slavery

Chair: David Richardson

Lauren Bell (University of Hull), ‘Captive passengers: Connecting the slave trade and convict transportation through cultural encounters and voyages of exploration’

Kimberly Monk (University of Bristol), ‘“A Most Valuable Cargo”: The Design and Development of the West Indiaman, 1773-1843’

 Jamie Goodall (Stevenson University), ‘Tippling Houses, Rum Shops, & Taverns: How Alcohol Fueled Informal Commercial Networks and Knowledge Exchange in the West Indies’

Molly Corlett (University of Oxford),Transatlantic Blackness in Eighteenth-Century England’

12.00-1.00 Lunch

1.00 – 2.30 Panel 5 – Knowledge Construction, Survey and Hydrography in West Africa

Chair: Nicholas J. Evans

Suzanne Schwarz (University of Worcester), ‘“A Just and Honourable Commerce”: Abolitionist Experimentation in Sierra Leone in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries’

Michael Barritt (President of the Hakluyt Society), ‘“A proper person to succeed Mr Dalrymple”: Captain Edward Henry Columbine and hydrographic data-gathering by the Royal Navy in the Great War 1795-1815’

Silke Strickrodt (Centre of Modern Oriental Studies, Berlin), ‘Cartography in the Service of Abolitionism: The Royal Navy’s Surveys of the West African Coast in the Nineteenth Century’

2.30-3.00 Coffee

3.00-4.30  Panel 6 – Sierra Leone

Chair: Suzanne Schwarz

Mary Wills (WISE, University of Hull), ‘Cultural encounters between West Africans and Royal Navy officers of the 19th century anti-slavery squadron’

Erika Melek Delgado (University of Worcester), ‘Liberated African Children: Recaptives in the Crown Colony of Sierra Leone, c. 1808-1819’

Nicholas J. Evans (WISE, University of Hull) – ‘Jewish Traders on the West Coast of Africa’

Close


Free Town, Sierra Leone. From: Thomas Eyre Poole, 'Life, Scenery, and Customs in Sierra Leone and the Gambia' (London: 1850). Courtesy of the British Library.
Free Town, Sierra Leone. From: Thomas Eyre Poole, ‘Life, Scenery, and Customs in Sierra Leone and the Gambia’ (London: 1850). Courtesy of the British Library.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Getting to the conference venue

The conference will be held at the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE), Oriel Chambers, 27 High Street, Hull, HU1 1NE, United Kingdom.

Hull has good transport links to the major cities of England. The city is located 200 miles from London, 100 miles from Manchester and around an hour’s drive from Leeds and York. It has easy access to several airports including Humberside, Manchester, Leeds/Bradford, and Teesside. P&O Ferries also offers daily overnight services to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge from Hull’s own port. Hull is served by rail and bus at the Paragon Interchange, which is a 15 minute walk from the conference venue. National Express coaches, local buses and taxis depart at the Paragon Interchange.

Accommodation

Please find below a non-comprehensive selection of nearby hotels to aid your booking process

http://www.premierinn.com/en/hotel/HULBAR/hull-city-centre
http://www.mercure.com/gb/hotel-8203-mercure-hull-royal-hotel/index.shtml
http://www.kingstontheatrehotel.com/
http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-3479-ibis-hull/index.shtml
http://www.holidayinn.com/hotels/gb/en/hull/huynh/hoteldetail?
http://www.hiexpress.com/hotels/gb/en/hd/united-kingdom/kingston-upon-hull-hotels

Registration

Registration is free for new and existing Hakluyt Society members and £30 to non-members. To order your ticket simply click here and fill in the online registration form. You can join the Hakluyt Society as a new member online at www.hakluyt.com. Please be advised that advance registration will close on 7 November 2015.

If you have any questions regarding this event, please contact the conference administrator, Dr. Guido van Meersbergen, at guido.meersbergen.09@ucl.ac.uk

The Hakluyt Society and WISE look forward to welcoming you in Hull


@HakluytSociety – Become a member at www.hakluyt.com

The Cabot Project

After an absence that grew far too quickly, we’re happy to say that our newest blog post is indeed a particularly interesting one. Dr Heather Dalton (University of Melbourne) reveals the spectacular findings of collaborative research on the late fifteenth-century explorer John Cabot, who together with his son Sebastian set sail from Bristol for the New World in 1497. Based on the research of the Cabot Project, Dr Dalton argues that Bristol witnessed a period of intense exploratory activity during the 1490s and 1500s which remains poorly understood.


– Join the Hakluyt Society on www.hakluyt.com


In compiling Diverse Voyages (1582), Richard Hakluyt was keen to establish the historical precedent that ‘we of England’ had only to reclaim North America rather than conquer it. However, finding texts that proved that these lands ‘of equitie and right appertaine vnto us’ was problematic and Hakluyt opened this book with a document related to a voyage from Bristol led by a Genoese navigator. This was ‘A latine copie of the letters patentes of King Henrie the Seuenth, graunted vnto Iohn Gabote and his three sonnes, Lewes, Sebastian, and Santius, for the discouering of newe and vnknowen landes’. [See: Hakluyt Society First Series, no. 7] Although Hakluyt added works to Principal Navigations (1589) echoing Dee’s claim that England’s relationship with the Americas went back to the time of King Arthur, documents related to the voyages of John Cabot and his son Sebastian continued to be important to Hakluyt’s project.

The Cabot Project was set up in 2009 to investigate early Bristol discovery voyages and those of John Cabot in particular [See: Hakluyt Society Second Series, No. 120]. With the blessing of Henry VII, John Cabot (also known as Giovanni Caboto, Juan Cabotto or Zuan Chabotto) and his son Sebastian had set sail from Bristol in May 1497 across the Atlantic in the Matthew, a vessel of only 50 tons. Although Cabot’s landfall has not been identified, the official position of the Canadian and United Kingdom governments is that he was the first European to land on Newfoundland since the Vikings. Cabot thought he had landed in China and, after being rewarded by the king and granted a second patent, he sailed from Bristol again with four to five ships in May 1498. The fleet was last sighted off the Irish coast and it is generally accepted that Cabot was lost at sea.

TNA C82 332 piece 61 Weston letter text copy
Henry VII’s letter to John Morton, re William Weston, c. 1499, C82/332 piece 61 out of 74, TNA:PRO. Courtesy of The National Archives. 

Click here for an annotated transcription of the letter.

The initial aim of the Cabot Project’s instigator, Dr Evan Jones (University of Bristol), was to investigate the research claims of the late Dr Alwyn Ruddock, a Reader at Birkbeck College. Dr Ruddock dominated research into Bristol’s voyages from the 1960s, making finds that promised to ‘revolutionise’ our understanding of Europe’s early engagement with North America. However, Ruddock never published her key findings and, after her death in 2005, her work was destroyed in keeping with her instructions. After much detective work, Dr Jones and his research partner, Margaret Condon, a Henry VII specialist, found evidence supporting many of Ruddock’s claims, including: that there was a greater royal commitment to Cabot’s ventures than hitherto thought; and that Cabot returned from his 1498 voyage. Another significant find indicates that William Weston, a Bristol merchant and associate of Cabot, led an expedition to the ‘New Found Land’ circa 1499. An article by Dr Jones and Ms Condon about this previously unknown, first English-led voyage to the Americas is to be published shortly.

Dr Francesco Guidi Bruscoli (University of Florence & Queen Mary, London) and I joined the project in the summer of 2010. Dr Bruscoli has recently published articles in both English and Italian, focusing on his recent finds regarding John Cabot’s Italian financiers. My research centres on John Cabot’s son, Sebastian, and my book, Merchants and Explorers: Roger Barlow, Sebastian Cabot and Networks of Atlantic Exchange and Discovery, 1500 – 1560, will be published by Oxford University Press in 2016. Others associated with the project include: Prof Peter Pope (Memorial University, Newfoundland); Dr Fernando Cervantes, Mr Gonzalo Velasco Berenguer, Dr Richard Stone and Ms Tricha Passes (University of Bristol); Dr Jeffrey Reed (Washington D.C.); and Ms Susan Snelgrove (Newfoundland).

The core work of the project to date reveals how poor our understanding of early voyaging has been and suggests that there was a period of intense exploration activity in Bristol, beginning before Cabot arrived at the port in 1495 and lasting until at least 1508. Further details regarding ongoing findings and publications, funding and opportunities for research can be found at: 

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/history/research/cabot/


Dr Heather Dalton is an ARC Early Career Research Fellow, and Honorary Associate Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence History of Emotions, at the University of Melbourne. She is also a member of The Cabot Project at the University of Bristol and in 2013 was a Resident Research Visitor at the Advanced Studies Centre, Keble College, Oxford. Her work deals with merchant networks in the fifteenth and sixteenth-century Atlantic as well as with trade and exploration in the Atlantic and Pacific regions more widely.


@HakluytSociety – Become a member at www.hakluyt.com