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> Issue 70 > Page 60 - John Cabot's Landfall, 1497 - "It WAS Cape Breton!"

Page 60 - John Cabot's Landfall, 1497 - "It WAS Cape Breton!"

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1996/6/1 (185 reads)

the authenticity of these maps or offered other interpretations of them. And it must be admitted that the history of the Cosa map has been such as to make it not impossible to offer room for doubt: this celebrated map was completed in October 1500; from the hands of the Spanish sovereigns it passed into the Ar? chives of the Trading Department of Seville; from there it was transferred to the Archives of the Indies; then it probably found its way into some monastery, and it might have been the Cosa chart seen in 1514 by Pedro Martir Angleria in the chamber of the Bishop of Burgos; it disappeared and was later discovered and purchased in France by the well known geographer Baron Walckenaer, then Minister for Holland at Paris; after Baron Walckenaer's death in 1853 it was purchased by the Spanish Government and placed in the Naval Museum at Madrid. Al? though many authorities concede that the outline of the north- em part of America on the Cosa map is based on John Cabot's map of his voyage of 1497, G. R. F. Prowse attributes the flagged part of the Cosa map to Thome and Elyot rather than to r Sydney MUC'WorkJ'imiudr I CUSTOM KITCHENS I WE PAINT & STAIN I WALL UNITS I COUNTERTOPS I CUSTOM WOOD WORK I CUSTOM FRAMING FREE ESTIIVIATES 562-5344 50 BROOKLAND ST. '''Brln?? 'your Idtas to Life!' Caution is critical ' Public Works Honourable RicNe Mann Cabot, and says that some of the flags mark points in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. There is, as Professor Brebner says in The Ex? plorers of North America, a remote possibility that Robert Thome and Hugh Elyot reached Newfoundland in 1494. But whether they did or not, there is little to indicate that the flagged part of the Cosa map has any coimexion with their voy? age, whereas the Spanish ambassador in London had procured a copy of Cabot's chart by 1498, and practically all other au? thorities are unwilling to accept Prowse's view that the Cosa map has to do with the circumnavigation of the Gulf of St. Lawrence: Ganong declares that there were many maps of the Atlantic coast before Cartier but that not one of them laid down indubitably any part of the Gulf of St. Lawrence except its bare entrances. So far as the Sebastian Cabot map is concerned, Har- risse has an elaborate theory to attempt to prove that Sebastian Cabot lied when he placed the landfall at Cape Breton, and G. R. F. Prowse apparently agrees with that theory and tries to prove that Sebastian ti-ansferred "the legend (of the landfall) from Newfoundland to Cape Breton." On this point, however, S. E. Dawson says that even if Sebastian were a liar, which he does not believe, and even if Sebastian never existed, the evi? dence of the Cosa map is sufficient. "It is strangely assumed," Dawson writes, "that, because Sebastian Cabot in 1544 said the landfall was at Cape Breton, therefore it was somewhere else • at Labrador, Bonavista, Cape St. John, Mount Squirrel • anywhere, in fact, but where he said it was." It is easier for many of the authorities to agree that Cabot first made land in 1497 at Cape Breton Island 'an for them to be unanimous as to the precise site of the landfall. [Here Dr. Fer? gusson discusses and dismisses tiie Mount Squirrel theory • one that suggests that Cabot missed the cape of Cape Breton and New? foundland, entered the Gulf of St. Lawrence and landed near Grand Etang in Invemess County.]... That...leaves two others • 'the Cape North theory and the Cape Breton theory. The Cape North theory puts the landfall near Sugar Loaf and iden? tifies Cabot's St. John island as St. Paul's island. This theory is based in great measure upon a certain in? terpretation of the Sebastian Cabot map of 1544 • on the understand? ing that Cabot meant that the land made was at the most northerly point rather than the most easterly part of Cape Breton Island. On this point, however, there is disagreement, and so strong a case has been made for the vicinity of Cape Breton, just east of Baleine, with Louisbourg near at hand on the one side of the cape and Scata? ri island near at hand on the other, that the committee of the Royal Society of Canada which arranged for the Cabot celebration of 1897 emphatically declared that "the greatly preponderating weight of evidence" pointed to Sie eastem- most cape of Cape Breton Island as the landfall. This theory is sup? ported by the very fact that Cape Breton is a natural landfall. If a vessel continue past Cape Race on a westerly course she will make Scatari as her landfall. Haliburton, IlSfeed Mjur AttoiticMi 0??r we'??Jk ?i?ew J$ Jtece for ev?ig??iB?'?? ??fe' • <4??a*t put *?? ifl slow diiamti ma' diiv? anrefia8:f' Tage'tef we ?aA aia&e; our 60
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