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Monday, January 30, 2012

Sir Francis Drake's Elusive Horse Sighting

Sir Francis Drake and his wondrous pantaloons.
While looking into the history of horses in America, I frequently come across the claim that Sir Francis Drake was able to see large herds of wild horses as he sailed up the coast of California and Oregon in 1579, long before the Spanish reached the territory.

Drake allegedly saw large "bands of wild horses," and wondered how it could be, since the Spaniards found no horses in Mexico or South America.

I can find the quote credited to two sources.

The first, and most common, seems to be Arcano Del Mare, by Robert Dudley, Earl of Northumberland, in 1630.

I have also found it credited to Richard Hakluyt's description of Drake's landing in California.

The problem is that I cannot find a copy of either of these accounts, either a hard copy, or digital. The Library of Congress has a copy of the Arcano Del Mare, but not online.

I was tempted to dismiss this as a non-existent quote, created by some misguided LDS member trying to defend the Church, but I got more curious when I saw this account referenced by a non-LDS source. Archive.org has a document from UCLA which references the event.

If anyone reading this can provide me with a reliable source for this account, I will give them a batch of home-made cookies (from the supermarket of their choice,) and the biggest hug they've ever seen.


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