Thomas Cavendish’s Visit to Puná Island in 1587

By Susan Maxwell, published May 2017


In 1587 Thomas Cavendish reached Puná Island, Ecuador, where he planned to overhaul his fleet and replenish his supplies. This article describes the visit to the island, the surprise attack by Spanish soldiers and the eventual departure towards Mexico. Most discussions rely only on two English primary sources for Cavendish’s circumnavigation: N. H.’s account in the first edition of Richard Hakluyt’s Principall Navigations (1589) and Francis Pretty’s account in the second edition (1598). These sources have been supplemented with Spanish records for information about the growth of Spanish colonization in southern Ecuador, the growth of shipbuilding at Guayaquil and Puná Island, the attack on Cavendish’s men and Spanish actions before and after his arrival. This provides a much-needed reappraisal of the importance of Cavendish’s visit to Puná.

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Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Pacific
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

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