An Atlas of Drake’s Last Voyage

By Jules Sottas, published May 1912


A manuscript atlas illustrating Drake’s last voyage (1595–6) is preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris. It consists of 23 plates each containing one or more profiles of the coast seen from the sea drawn by someone aboard Drake’s flagship Defiance. All but six plates include a drawing of a galleon marking the position at sea from which the profile has been taken. It is clear that it is always the same type of three-masted ship and possibly the Defiance. However, in one case the ship is depicted with four masts. The paper concludes by recalling Drake’s association with Guillaume Le Testu in their 1573 attack on a Spanish gold- and silver-laden mule train in the Isthmus.

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Filed under: Atlantic | Francis Drake | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Science & Exploration

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