Peter Carder’s Strange Adventures Revealed
Peter Carder sailed with Drake during the famous 1577-80 circumnavigation of the world. His account of his adventure in South America was published in London in 1625 and widely accepted as truth. Was Carder a skilled sailor, great mathematician, attacked and held captive? Did he live amongst cannibals? Could he have paddled 1,900 nautical miles in a frail canoe? Is his account more ‘Boy’s Own’ adventure than factual reporting? The book describes how he became separated from the expedition in the Straits of Magellan with seven companions. All his companions died while attempting to make their way back to England via the South American coast. Carder reached Salvador and was imprisoned. He escaped and returned to England nine years after his original departure. Critical review and comparison with other sources reveal inconsistencies in the narrative. Some of the episodes are confirmed but the veracity of many is doubtful and the whole account appears to have been sensationalised to satisfy an adventure-hungry readership. It is not known whether Carder himself or his editor Samuel Purchas was responsible.