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Annual Meeting

57th Annual Meeting of the
Society for the History of Discoveries

September 22 (Thursday) - September 24 (Saturday) 2016

Newport, Rhode Island


Abstracts of Papers to be delivered at the 57th Annual Meeting of the
Society for the History of Discoveries
Newport, Rhode Island, September 22-24, 2016

Arranged Alphabetically by Author


"How So Many of James Cook's Ships got to Rhode Island without the Great Navigator: The After-Glow of Discovery"

Biographical Sketch: D.K. (Kathy) Abbass is the director of the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project, which she founded in 1989. Abbass received her doctorate in anthropology at Southern Illinois University in 1979 and was a post-doctoral researcher in maritime history at Harvard University and University of California-Berkeley. She was a professor of anthropology and sociology for 10 years at Norfolk State University and then "ran away to sea" to work on tall ships and to apprentice as a marine surveyor, becoming the first woman in the country to do so. From 1989 to 1990, Abbass was the director of the Museum of Yachting in Newport, Rhode Island; she turned her maritime interests to underwater archaeology in 1991. She has worked around the world on different anthropology, archaeology, and maritime history projects, ranging from African topics to searching for Captain Cook’s ship. Abbass has published widely.


“Jesuits at Sea:  Jose Quiroga and Jose Cardiel—Two Different Views of Patagonia 1745-1746”

Before becoming a Jesuit, José Quiroga (1707-1784) had been a naval officer and a navigator. Great maritime experience in navigation and maritime cartography largely determined Quiroga's subsequent activity as a Jesuit. After he had joined the Society of Jesus (1736/1739) and became a missionary in Paraguay, he continued his work as an explorer and a cartographer of the sea. José Cardiel (1704-1781) was a Jesuit from a very different educational and professional background. After he had spent fifteen years as a missionary among the Abipones and Guaraníes, he decided to join forces with Quiroga and sail out to the seas of the South Atlantic, having the adventure of their lifetime.

In 1745/1746 together with another Jesuit, Matthias Strobl (1696-1769), José Cardiel and José Quiroga led a maritime expedition along the Patagonian coast. Although this adventure was part of an effort to expand the Jesuit missions in the area of the southern regions of the Rio de la Plata, the final goal was more ambitious: the exploration of Patagonia and reaching the Strait of Magellan – the most important natural passage between the Atlantic and the Pacific.

As the expedition sailed mostly in the open sea, Quiroga’s navigational skills came to the fore. Based on his own survey, soundings and astronomical observations, Quiroga made a nautical chart of the Patagonian coast, which confirms his exceptional navigational and cartographic skills. What is more, his diary is much more than merely a register of nautical observations. Quiroga's narratives give us an insight into the knowledge of navigation and natural history of the region. At the same time, José Cardiel, also kept a diary and made a map of Patagonia, which represents a counterpoint to Quiroga's view on the same space. Cardiel'sunderstanding of this area was primarily determined by the missionary experience and therefore his map and diary represent a compendium of human geography of Patagonia. Quiroga and Cardiel were both highly appreciated by Jean Baptiste d'Anville, and as such strongly influenced European knowledge of Patagonia.

This paper is based on a comparative analysis of Cardiel's and Quiroga's manuscript maps and their narratives.

Biographical Sketch:  Dr. Mirela Altić is a chief research fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences in Zagreb, Croatia. In the Department of History, University of Zagreb, Dr. Altic holds the rank of full professor and lectures on the history of cartography and historical geography. She is the author of twelve books, numerous scholarly papers and a contributor to The History of Cartography Project. For the academic year 2013–14 she was awarded the David Woodward Memorial Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Recently, she was awarded the McColl Research Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She is member of SHD and Vice-chair of ICA Commission on the History of Cartography.


“The Desert Mariner: Understanding the Global Experiences of G.F. Lyon in the Sahara and Arctic”

During the early 1800s, British naval officers were at the forefront of a wave of exploration into Africa and the Arctic.  This paper examines the journeys of George Francis Lyon who in the late 1810s and early 1820s explored the Sahara on a quest for fabled Timbuktu and then traveled to the Arctic searching for the Northwest Passage as part of two of William Parry’s expeditions.  Sent on behalf of the British government, Lyon, a naval officer, was enthralled by the natural environment as well as the peoples of these two regions. While these missions have often been conceptualized as feats of nationalism to enrich Great Britain, Lyon demonstrates the significance of how global experiences shaped the way new places and peoples were viewed and understood.  In particular, Lyon’s writings and artwork reveal how his experiences with the Bedouin in the Sahara influenced his understandings of the Inuit in the Arctic.  Rather than a wasteland or an exotic place full of danger, Lyon embraced each locale for producing a rich culture, yet he used his Saharan experience as a lens to understand the Inuit’s customs and their relationship with the environment.  Further, as part of expeditions launched by the British Admiralty, his lessons and advice, in addition to his published books, circulated widely.  This paper argues that we need to understand such moments of encounter as part of a larger global process where the interconnections of experiences and knowledge production have shaped world history.

Biographical Sketch: Thomas J. Anderson is an assistant professor of History at Merrimack College, specializing in World History, including Global Environmental, Exploration, and Indian Ocean Histories.   He is currently finishing a manuscript on the environmental history and exploration of Madagascar, entitled Reassembling the Strange: Naturalists, Missionaries, and the Understanding of Madagascar and its Environment.


“Rhode Island and Yorkshire:  Colonial Rhode Island's Religious Tolerance and the Quaker Connections to Maritime Trade”

Biographical Sketch:  Stephen Baines attended Cambridge University, where he studied theology, did a post-graduate year at Oxford, and then trained as a teacher in London.  He taught English in a comprehensive school in Colchester, where he introduced extension activities. He moved to the Sixth Form College when it opened in 1987 where he taught Religious Studies, General Studies and Philosophy, and introduced the International Baccalaureate (the College being one of the first State Schools in the UK to do so). After retiring from full-time teaching in 2006, he lectured part-time on ancient Greek philosophy at the University of Essex for two years. He has written articles on a range of topics, including Anglo-Norman sculpture, problem solving, educating very able children, the sheep-breeder Jonas Webb, and mediaeval drinking habits; and some of his poems have appeared in print. His first book was The Yorkshire Mary Rose, The General Carleton of Whitby (Blackthorn Press. 2010). His recent book is Captain Cook's Merchant Ships, Freelove, Three Brothers, Mary, Friendship, Endeavour, Adventure, Resolution and Discovery (The History Press. 2015).


“Extramarital Explorationsin the Early Spanish Atlantic”

Adultery and bigamy have long been considered undesirable in Spanish society. Laws dating from the medieval period had informed social expectations and norms for centuries by the time Europeans arrived to the Americas. The pressures exerted by the transatlantic or transpacific displacement of one spouse led people of both genders to seek new lovers and partners without securing adivorce or annulment.The Inquisition in particular sought out individuals who transgressed their marriage vows by either marrying a second person or initiating relations with individuals other than their spouse. Because women in particular tended to furnish the home with domestic goods as part of their dowries, their traveling husbands found themselves deprived of certain material as well as practical comforts while abroad.Women, meanwhile, suffered economically without the salary or regular arrival of funds from their husbands; they raised children and defended the family’s domestic and business interests, in addition to attending to other needs, on their own. These important factors demonstrate that more than lust informed the decision to re-marry or take a lover while one’s spouse was away from the family home.

One of the tasks given to the Inquisition when it established its office in the Americas was to pursue violations of the sacrament and contract of marriage. As a result of the tenacity of its programme of documentation both abroad and in Europe, today a wealth of resources reveals the complex nature of extramarital relationships. From these histories we can develop an understanding about the particular circumstances and difficulties of transatlantic marriage. In particular, we hear the voices of women who provided testimony during trials and whose intimate letters to their husbands and lovers had been confiscated by inquisitors as evidence in those proceedings.

This presentation will provide legal and historical context for extramarital relationships in the early modern period while also narrating specific cases of adultery and bigamy. The sources it draws upon expose women’s voices in little-studied ways while its exploration of material culture provides a unique frame within which to understand matrimonial challenges, all of which will cast important light on this subject for scholars working in all fields of the history of discovery and exploration.

Biographical Sketch: Lauren Beckspecialises in the early modern Spanish and transatlantic world, with research interests in the culture of cartography and exploration, as well as book illustration. Lately she’s been looking at the roles and voices of women and indigenous peoples within these contexts. Her recent publications include a book, Transforming the Enemy in Spanish Culture (2013); an exhibition catalogue, Mapping North America: Early Modern Narratives of Discovery and Exploration in the Davidson Collection (2015), an edited collection of essays, Visualising the Text from Manuscript Culture to the Age of Caricature (forthcoming), and several articles and book chapters. As editor of TI, she recently has organized a thematic issue devoted to the roles of women within the history of discovery and exploration, and a second thematic issue exploring the Asian discovery and knowledge of the Americas is in development.


“Napalm Colonization: Indigenous Peoples and Exploration in Brazil’s Aeronautical Frontiers”

In the early 1940s, the Vargas government of Brazil launched the Marcha Para o Oeste (March to the West), a program focused on exploring and settling the frontiers of central-west Brazil and the southern Amazon. One of the central pieces to this effort was the ExpediçãoRoncador-Xingú (ERX, Roncador-Xingú Expedition), which started advancing into the mostly unexplored region of central-west Brazil.Their method was to explore, map and spearhead colonization by building several airstrips along the route of the expedition. Brazilian leaders had long suggested that the vast territories could be united by aviation, dreaming of interior cities served in their transportation needs primarily by airports. These were far off dreams in the 1920s and 30s. However, as a result of the Brazilian-American alliance during World War II, as well as the National Campaign for Aviation, the country was now home to a vastly larger fleet of airplanes, aviation personnel and infrastructure after WWII. The past dreams of an aeronautical frontier had become feasible.

To understand this phenomenon of aeronautical exploration and colonization, we will delve into the mechanics of the ERX and other military expeditions with the same goals. Here we will see how a region is colonized primarily by air, and how this expansion of the state in remote regions affected the lives of those already living there. While during the March to the West there was a ground expedition leading the way and building airstrips that would be used to re-supply and settle, by the 1960s the Brazilian Air Force had created a more extreme version of this method. To secure what the military saw as strategic security areas, the air force took to building several airstrips without the use of ground support. Instead, they used napalm, paratroopers and indigenous labor to build far flung landing strips in order to expand the reach of the Brazilian state into its most remote regions—a true militarization of this new aeronautical frontier.
All of this resulted in a rather peculiar frontier, one served primarily by air. But what did this mean for the state’s plan to integrate the vast nation? How does a frontier settled by air differ from other historical scenarios of frontier settlement? And most importantly, how did it affect the lives of people living in these regions, and the ones that flew in? This essay will seek to answer these questions by examining two scenarios that exemplify the concept of an aeronautical frontier: the ERX and the Força Aérea Brasileira’s (FAB, Brazilian Air Force) operations codenamed Parima and Mapuera.

Biographical Sketch:  Felipe Fernandes Cruz is assistant professor of History at Tulane University.  A native of São Paulo, Brazil, he earned his Ph.D. in 2016 from the University of Texas at Austin.  He is a co-founder of The Appendix, a journal of experimental and narrative history, for which he currently serves as managing editor. He also is the writer and co-director of a newly released historical documentary titled The Balloonists: Brazil's Underground Folk Artists. Based on his MA thesis, it explores the world of the popular, yet illegal, practice of designing and launching fire balloons as a folk art form. Dr. Cruzreceived several fellowships for his dissertation research, including an IDRF grant from the Social Sciences Research Council, a history of science fellowship from the American Meteorological Society, a visiting fellowship at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum and also at the Linda Hall Library of Science and Engineering. He is also the recipient of the Kranzberg prize for dissertation research from the Society for the History of Technology, and of the Edward H. Moseley Award from the Southeastern Council of Latin American Studies.  The essay he presents here received the SHD Student Prize for 2015.


"What Finding the Endeavour Means to the Modern World: 150th Anniversary Plans in England, Australia,and (by the way) the Media”

Biographical Sketch: Dr Nigel Erskine is Head of Research at the Australian National Maritime Museum. As a maritime archaeologist, he has worked extensively in the South Pacific and was Director of the Norfolk Island Museum 2000 – 2003. His PhD focused on the foundation of the mutineer settlement at Pitcairn Island, and his areas of historical interest include Pacific exploration, cultural contact and European settlement in Australia. As a curator, he has developed several major exhibitions, including ones on Charles Darwin; Australia’s colonial links with India; and the quest for longitude. Nigel is a strong advocate for international collaboration and is currently working on projects in Turkey, Indonesia, the United States and Japan.


“Curious Tastes: Experimental Eating on Ship and on Land”

In the early modern era, people—perhaps particularly men of letters – daringly consumed all manner of things. Some unusual edibles became well-known and made the leap into everyday life, such as cacao and coffee—but many did not. At home in London, the savant Robert Hooke (curator of experiments for the Royal Society in the seventeenth century) kept detailed diaries recording his ingestion of things from wine steeped with steel to flowers of sulphur—most of which acted as vomitives. This regimen was as much a part of Hooke’s life of inquiry as his experiments with microscopes. This presentation will use as a case study the eating reports of a German traveler, the mathematician-ethnographer Peter Kolb (1675-1726) who wrote a detailed account of his voyage to and from the Cape of Good Hope, as well as of his life there over the course of eight years. Beginning with consuming fish he had never seen before while onboard ship, and speculating about those creatures (“Was this the type that actually swallowed Jonah?”) Peter Kolb describes tasting and eating dozens of different types of plants and animals. At first glance, Kolb’s description of these forays seems random and even naïve, but in the context of the culture of curiosity, his eating experiments take on new significance. Kolb was in fact acting as a member of the Republic of Letters, testing the full range of discovery, and probably hoping for the next big find in terms of a tradeable commodity. While much has been written about the Columbian Exchange and the global movement of edible plants and animals, the change in dietary possibilities since the sixteenth century, and eventually the manner of food consumption in the Enlightenment, very little attention has been paid to taste in the baroque culture of curiosity. Experimental eating is at the intersection of taste and science; cuisine and potential materiamedica. Thus, this presentation will offer a new perspective on a certain type of early modern consumption, and it is based on research in primary sources of travelers and men of letters.

Biographic sketch: Dr. Good has taught History at Reinhardt University in Waleska for the past 10 years, and is proud of the work she has done in shaping a new generation of young historians in North Georgia. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 2005. Her dissertation was on Peter Kolb (1675-1726), a German traveler from the early eighteenth century, who spent the most significant part of his life in South Africa and wrote the first detailed account of the Khoikhoi, the indigenous people who lived there. While teaching at Reinhardt, she has remained active as a scholar, presenting at conferences and publishing on topics in early modern history.


“The Search for the Lord Sandwich ex Endeavour:  The 2016 Update on RIMAP's Archaeological Progress”

Biographical Sketch: Kerry Lynch, Ph.D., is an archaeologist at the UMass Amherst ArchServices  She is the RIMAP field supervisor in the study of the Newport Revolutionary War transport fleet.


“Agustin Codazzi and Nation Building in Nineteenth-Century Venezuela”

    In 1840, Italian engineer, geographer, and soldier of fortune, AgustínCodazzi, published the Atlas físico y político de la República de Venezuela, the earliest national atlas produced by any Latin American country. The Atlas consisted of nineteen pages with thirty one chromolithographed maps. It was part of an elaborate publication project that included publication of single maps as well as two other published volumes, one a history of Venezuela and the other a geographical account of the country.

This paper is based on an examination of both the Atlas and on a collection of ten manuscript field maps by Codazzi recently acquired by the Library of Congress.  In my view, Codazzi’s selection, arrangement, and presentation of maps is closely related to the Atlas’ function as an instrument of nation building and consolidation of power. The Atlas was the fruit of almost eight years (1830-38) of surveying during a period fraught with potential political fragmentation, uncertainty, and instability (the separation from Gran Colombia and two uprisings), border disputes, as well as financial problems.  The Atlas was designed with the government in mind, specifically for use by legislators and administrators. The thirty one maps were carefully produced not only to meet the practical needs of governing but also to project the image of a stable and united country.  The maps were arranged with chronology in mind: one of the first maps portrayed numerous Native American nations existing in Venezuela at the time of European exploration; the next group of mapswas devoted to depicting the locations of battle sites and the extent of campaigns during the lengthy, turbulent, and destructive wars of Independence from Spain. However, the focus of the atlas was on the “chorographic” maps of the thirteen provinces, with their cantons, military itinerarios(routes), towns, and rivers. These maps were the first large scale maps of newly formed administrative districts.

Relatively little has been written about this publication project or the political and economic circumstances surrounding its creation, planning, and publication. Thus, this essay will also examine the close relationship between Codazzi and José Antonio Páez, Venezuela’s first president, who was responsible for having the legislature appoint Codazzi as geographer of Venezuela. Between 1830 and 1840, Codazzi carried out extensive surveying in all the provinces related to roads, harbors, and military fortifications. During the 1830s, Codazzi not only performed difficult and exacting survey work but also took up arms, at least twice, in defense of the country and of Páez against “reformers”, some of whom now wanted to secede from Venezuela.

Biographical Sketch: Anthony Mullan is senior reference specialist in the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress with a specialty in the cartographic history of Latin America and the Caribbean Basin. Trained as an art historian, he has a long, abiding interest in the relationship of art and cartography. A member of SHD, his publications include "The Luso-Hispanic World in Maps: A Selective Guide to Manuscript Maps to 1900 in the Collections of the Library of Congress" (1999), various articles and book reviews such as "Jouhan de la Guilbaudiere and His 'Buccaneer's Atlas', and the Beginnings of French Trade along the Pacific Coast of South America ca. 1700.”


“Charting Casco Bay: Lemuel Moody’s signature (and unrecognized) contribution towards saving mariners’ lives in and around Portland Harbor, Maine, 1825”

Being captured and imprisoned by French privateers in 1799 while captaining the merchant vessel Betsey is an exciting footnote in Lemuel Moody’s life as mariner. And building the Portland Observatory in 1807, today the last standing signaling observatory on the Atlantic seaboard, stands as one of Moody’s most enduring and best-known legacies. However, Capt. Moody’s most important contribution to maritime life, but least remembered, was his creation of a new chart of Portland Harbor and islands in Casco Bay in 1825. Details of the making of this chart have recently come to light.

The Osher Map Library holds Lemuel Moody’s scientific and business papers documenting the production of a new chart of Portland Harbor. These materials illustrate, in a new way, Capt. Moody’s contributions to Portland’s maritime history and give us an opportunity to imagine a nautical world with few lighthouses, inaccurate and incomplete charts and faulty, outdated sailing directions.

In Moody’s words, “The Charts of this coast, published by the English prior to the American revolution [the Atlantic Neptune series] were deficient in marking the ledges on the sea board (the most essential part of the mariners chart) hence the necessity of a close survey.” Original research into Moody’s business accounts, correspondence and daily logs lend insight into this little known, but crucial aid to the navigation of Portland Harbor in the first quarter of the 19th century. During the summer of 1825 Moody conducted a close survey of Portland Harbor and the adjacent islands. Three hundred and twenty charts were engraved between 1825 and 1838 based on his survey. Yet modern day researchers have failed to include Capt. Moody’s name among their lists of mapmakers.

Moody’s ‘Chart of Portland Harbour” served the sailing community for more than thirty four years from 1825 to 1859 at which point the U.S. government was able to bring to bear its resources to survey the harbor with the latest scientific instruments. Throughout his entire life, Capt. Moody was anxiously concerned with the needs of the age in which he lived, and he centered his many deliberations on its exigencies and requirements. The earnestness and perseverance that he brought to bear on solving the difficult problems of navigation in his day is instructive. The number of lives saved with the publication of his chart, untold.

Biographical Sketch: Frances Pollitt obtained Masters degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Southern Maine. She has worked as cataloger on Maine Memory Network, serves as ad hoc curator for the cartographic collections at the Maine Historical Society and assisted with describing the Lemuel Moody materials at the Osher Map Library. Her original research with maps in the Society’s collections has led to presentations in 2003 in Cambridge and Portland at the International Conference on the History of Cartography, in 2006 in Ottawa at the Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives conference, in 2008 in Quebec at the International Federation of Library Associations congress, in 2011 in Portland at the annual meeting of the Society for the History of Discoveries, and in 2012 in Winnipeg at the University of Winnipeg Ruperts Land Colloquium. Though retired, she continues to volunteer her time cataloging and studying maps.


"Captain Grace O'Malley and the Irish Seas: Piracy, Rebellion, and Cartographic Espionage in the Elizabethan Era"

During the Elizabethan era of the mid to late 1500s, the British expanded their empire by invading and finally conquering all of Ireland. Many initial attempts at conquest in western Ireland had been fended off by Irish clans, including the O'Malleys, O'Flahertys, and Burkes, who were able to keep the British at bay because the British had no good maps of western Ireland and the west Irish seas, where they often shipwrecked. Only the local Irish fisherman knew how to navigate the complex mosaic of submerged offshore geological formations that formed death traps for the British.

The O'Malley clan, led by seafaring merchant and trader Dubdara O'Malley, protected their traditional clan landholdings in northwest Ireland, with a stronghold at Clew Bay. Dubdara was not only chief of his clan, but chief of a confederation of local chieftains who cooperated economically and politically in the area. Dubdara had only one child with his wife Margaret, his daughter Grace or "Granuaille", and he raised her to follow him as a trader, map maker and sea captain. Unusual for a woman of that era, Grace eventually she took part in commanding his fleet, and eventually inherited it as an adult, sailing regularly to trade in Portugal, the Mediterranean, and even along the Barbary Coast of Africa. As a sea captain, Grace was geographically savvy and fluent in many languages, accomplished in trade and diplomacy, and her knowledge of coastal and continental geography and her skill in navigation won her the utmost respect of her crew.
Later in the 1500s, after Dubdara O’Malley had passed away and as the British persisted in their efforts to subdue the Irish of the western coast, Grace was elected to lead an alliance of clans who took up piracy against British ships, using plundered trade goods to fund the fight against the British themselves. She became a legend in her own time, commanding her fleet and leading Irish resistance well into her 7th decade of life. Ultimately, however, there were traitors in her midst, including her own son, who secretly collaborated with the British on what was perhaps the world's first use of cartographic espionage, which paved the way for the final invasion and takeover of the last Irish holdouts and their territories in western Ireland. This presentation will show the importance of maps in the trade, navigation, piracy and conquest of the era, while telling the tale of Grace’s colorful life as it will soon be portrayed in an upcoming documentary for the Minnesota Alliance for Geographic education and on Minnesota’s Lakeland Public TV.

Biographical Sketch: Janet C. Rith-Najarian, Ph.D., is a biogeographer from northern Minnesota, where she does biological survey and water resource habitat assessment for various state natural resource programs.She also works with the Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education on special projects in historical cartography, and geographic and environmental education. She is a Living History reenactor and is currently working on several educational film projects about famous explorers, adventurers, and expedition naturalists from the past.

“Jean Ribault: Huguenot Explorer in the Atlantic World”

In 1565, as leader of the second French attempt to establish a colony near modern day Jacksonville, Jean Ribault, a French officer and Huguenot, was in command of some 400+ colonists—including some 80 women (and 10 or so children, some recently born in the “New World”).  The Spanish, who had learned of this French attempt to colonize in “their” territory, had sent Spanish forces to eradicate the “Lutheran” presence in Spanish (and Catholic) Florida.  Unfortunately, Ribault and his men were shipwrecked by storms and marooned on a small strip of land just north of present-day St. Augustine.  After being promised safe treatment by Menendez, the Spanish leader of the forces sent to destroy the French colony, Ribault surrendered himself and his fellow Protestants.  Menendez promptly executed every man, woman and some children, sparing only those who were apparently Catholic and under the age of twelve (those he mostly sold into slavery).  Ribault, like the others, was tied up upon his surrender and, after answering “no” to the question “Are you a Catholic?”,was stabbed and left to bleed out as the next group of 10 French were led to the waiting and armed Spanish questioners. Ribault was murdered by Menendez' brother-in-law, Solis de Meres, and an officer named San Vicente.  Earlier, Ribault had published a pamphlet (some thirty-odd pages) concerning his first exploration of Florida and a much longer and more detailed book was published by a survivor of the ill-fated 1565 second expedition. While Ribault’s life ended on that lonely strip of beach, my paper seeks to examine how Ribault fits in this ‘global phenomena’ of explorers, hoping to understand how he represents underlying patterns of exploration, discovery and adventure.

Biographical Sketch:  Thomas Rushford has beena member of the History faculty at North Virginia Community College, Annandale since 2012. Professor Rushford previously served as the first digital historian/projects director for the Office of the House Historian, United States House of Representatives. And during a post-doctoral fellowship at George Mason University, he was project editor for the Roy RosenzweigCenter for History and New Media (CHNM), for which he created The Making of the History of 1989.  He earned his Ph.D. in 2007 from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst; his dissertation was titled: “Burnings and Blessings: The Cultural Reality of the Supernatural Across Early Modern European Spaces.”

“From Sea to Shining Sea:  Measuring North America in the 16th Century”

Local historians (Garry D Gitzen, Oregon, and James Alan Egan, Newport) have called attention to two controversial artifacts on opposite coasts of the United States:  an extensive arrangement of cairns and incised stones, found on a remote mountainside near Nehalem Bay, Oregon, and an elaborate stone tower situated in Newport, Rhode Island.  Although these authors don’t seem to be aware of each other’s publications, their explanatory theories have several features in common:  a time period ca. 1580; the presence of Elizabethan explorers in North America; and the capacity to determine longitude at a fixed point on land.  This is different from, and somewhat easier than, the determination of longitude at sea—a technical problem that was eventually solved in the 16th century. But why would English officials, geographers or navigators have wanted to know the longitudes of two widely separated places on the coasts of the American continent in the 16th century? I suggest that the mountainside artifact in Oregon and the tower at Newport could be the remains of an ambitious project, dating from the late 1570s, of which most Elizabethans remained unaware.  Its purpose was measuring the breadth of North America from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific, so that a vast new territory could be claimed for English expansion.

My current research provides a basis for substantiating this possibility.  It focuses on a little-known Elizabethan organization, the “Colleagues of the Fellowship for the Discovery of the Northwest Passage,” which flourished in the 1580s.  As I reported at last year’s annual meeting of SHD, the Colleagues included visionaries (John Dee, Francis Walsingham, Philip Sidney) and leading mariners (Francis Drake, Walter Raleigh, Martin Frobisher, John Davis) plus merchants and others with strong interests in the English colonization of America as well as the discovery of trade routes to Asia.  In this paper, I will argue that the puzzling artifacts in Oregon and Rhode Island were created by men who became members of the Colleagues’ unique organization or were closely associated with it.

Briefly stated, there is strong circumstantial evidence that Drake landed on Oregon’s coast in 1579, during the voyage of circumnavigation, and his crew surveyed a location at Neahkahnie Mountain (Latitude 45° North, Longitude 123° West, approximately).  This “point of position” appears without explanation on maps published by Ortelius and Hondius in the 1580s, but on no other contemporary maps of the area, perhaps because Drake was forbidden to divulge the details of his activities.  Meanwhile, John Dee had urged the construction of the Newport tower (Latitude 41° North, Longitude 71° West, approximately) from which a variety of stellar, solar, and lunar observations could be made.  Drake, Dee and certain other Europeans were aware that, given the coordinates of two different places on land,  the distance between them could be calculated; in this instance 2,600 miles.  This finding represented an embarrassing intellectual defeat for Dee, who had delineated a much narrower America in his 1582 map. Raleigh then took Dee’s place among the leaders of the expansionist movement.  Larger dimensions were drawn on new maps—especially on the Molyneux terrestrial globe presented to Queen Elizabeth in 1592, to celebrate the achievements of Raleigh, Drake, Davis, and other favored Colleagues.

Biographical Sketch: Charles Sullivan studied history, psychology and English literature at Swarthmore College. After working in business and local government for several years, he earned a Ph.D. in organizationalpsychology from New York University, and held various teaching and administrative posts at Georgetown and other institutions, while writing and editing a number of books dealing with cultural subjects. In recent years he has resumed the study of history, doing research at Oxford and elsewhere on Cabot, Drake, and the Tudor age of exploration and expansion.  Sullivan is a member (now a Council member) of the Society for the History of Discover-ies and a collector of 16th century maps, contributing book reviews to Terrae Incognitae and Maplines.  He presented a paper, “New Light on Raleigh, the Gilberts, and Other Elizabethans:  Colleagues of the Fellowship for the Discovery of the Northwest Passage,” at the 2015 annual meeting of SHD in London.


“Your Affectionate Son”: Family Letters of Samuel Shaw from Revolutionary War to Consulship at Canton (1775-1794)”

Samuel Shaw, born in 1754, was the third son of Francis and Sarah Shaw, an important merchant family in Boston. Although carefully cultivated by his father to become a successful merchant, Samuel Shaw joined the Continental Army in December 1775, was promoted to captain of the third battalion of artillery in April 1780, and served until the end of the war. In 1784, he sailed to Canton as a supercargo with Empress of China, the very first ship sent to China from the United States. He was appointed as the first consul at Canton in 1786, got re-appointed in 1790, and held the position until his death in 1794.
In his papers that are now preserved in the Massachusetts Historical Society, Samuel Shaw left 86 letters, among which 73 were addressed to his family. These letters can help us better understand this once famous but long forgotten revolutionary soldier turned sailor’s family life both in America and abroad. The revolutionary part of the letters shows us the list of items within a typical revolutionary family letter – patriotism, piety, and care for the family – and can help challenge the general impression that the American Revolution loosened the family relationship by encouraging the young to rebel against their parents as indicated by the correspondence between Abigail and John Adams. His family letters from China were among those first written from abroad. They show us that the first US adventurers into the East Indies immediately turned to the help of their family, and that the colonial conflict between the master and the normal sailor lasted into the age of the Old China Trade.

The paper also deals with the remembrance of Samuel Shaw after his death in 1794 near Cape Hope when sailing back. Although celebrated as an important revolutionary soldier immediately after his death by his fellow Bostonians, he was soon forgotten and was only revived by the publication of his journals at the request of the China trade merchants of Boston who wanted to know more about China. For over a century, he was again forgotten, and was re-referred to after the establishment of the socialist regime in China, when the governments on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait pursued different lines of historical memory. With the development of Sino-American relationship in recent years, Samuel Shaw re-entered the Chinese mind: his Journals was gifted to the Guangzhou Government by the Boston Government in 2014 and two Chinese translations of the Journals appeared in 2015.

Biographical Sketch: Simon H. Z. Sun is an early American historian from the People’s Republic of China. Currently he is a doctoral student of American Studies at Harvard University. He obtained a BA in History from the Department of World History, College of History, Nankai University, Tianjin, and an MA in History with a focus on American history from the History Department of Peking University, Beijing. He is particularly interested in the proto-globalization and the connections between early America and his own part of the world. Previously, he had written articles on Hu Shi, contemporary Chinese politics, and early Canadian history.


“To Regulate or Not to Regulate: the Seven Years’ War and William Pitt’s attempt to control British Privateers”

British privateers played an important role during the Seven Years’ War, both militarily and diplomatically.  British privateers had a significant impact on French shipping during the war, which not only affected France’s ability to send men and supplies across the Atlantic, but also compromised France’s ability to supply her colonies and maintain her maritime economy.  In addition to this, British privateers played an important role politically as they brought England to the brink of war with neutral nations such as Russia, Sweden and the Dutch.  As a result of this, Pitt’s administration would be forced to regulate privateers during a time of war through an Act of Parliament for the first time.  The continued abuse of neutral ships by British privateers throughout the war would also reveal a growing tension between Pitt’s administration and governing officials in the colonies.   

This paper will demonstrate, through extensive use of primary sources, that during the war France turned increasingly to neutral powers to maintain its trade and bring supplies to and from its colonies; that this involvement of neutral powers led to a dramatic increase in the number of privateers, an increase which rivaled the wartime increase in privateers experienced in all of the previous wars of the eighteenth century, and that this increase forced the British government to regulate privateers in an unprecedented manner.  This paper will further demonstrate that though these regulations proved nearly ineffective in slowing the predation of British privateers, they do reveal a growing friction between Whitehall and the colonies, as colonial courts proved willing to ignore royal edicts when it benefited their communities and challenged Whitehall’s authority to regulate maritime activity.

This paper is based heavily upon original research of primary documents and challenges many historiographical assumptions regarding the role of privateers during the Seven Years’ War.  Rather than demonstrating that the war was a turning point for British maritime power, in which the government relied more heavily on the Imperial Navy allowing Britain to “tame the seas” and end the tradition of relying on privateers during war, this paper demonstrates, through the use of letters, official correspondences and diplomatic complaints, court cases and news accounts, that Pitt’s administration was not able to regulate maritime activity due to local assertions that maritime activity was outside legal authority and due to loyalties to local interests.  

Biographical Sketch: Lydia Towns is a Ph.D. student in the Transatlantic History Program at the University of Texas at Arlington.  Her dissertation research looks at English maritime activity during the reign of Henry VIII and the opening of the Atlantic world to English commerce and exploration.  Her general research interests are in English exploration and maritime activity, specifically privateering and pirate activity from the sixteenth through the eighteenth century.  She currently serve as president for the Transatlantic History Student Organization.  Recently, she has published an article titled “English Privateers, Pirates and the Transatlantic Slave Trade” in Traversea.  Additionally, she has presented papers on English exploration and privateers at the Western Conference on British Studies, the 15th and 16th Annual International Graduate Student Conference on Transatlantic History, and at the 56th Annual Meeting of the Society for the History of Discoveries.


“The Cartographer Sets Sail: Eyewitness Records and Early Modern Maps”

In this paper I will examine the surprisingly rich and complex evidence found on maps and in closely related texts that indicates the maps were made on the basis of first-hand observation by the cartographer—that is, that the cartographer went to sea. I will do so by examining two closely-related sets of evidence, namely early nautical charts and isolarios, or island books illustrated with maps.

The importance of eyewitness evidence had been clearly understood since classical antiquity, and we know from documents that many early makers of nautical charts were mariners, but there are very few claims on early nautical charts that the charts were created based on the cartographers’ own observations. Because they are so few in number, I will examine closely the cases in which the creators of nautical chars do claim that their charts were based on their own experiences aboard ship. To account for the rarity of these claims, I will suggest that chart-making was more an artistic enterprise than as a medium for recording discoveries: early nautical charts, after all, were a very traditional medium. This conception of nautical charts changed in the late fifteenth century with the advent of the Age of Discoveries, and from that point forward claims that charts were made based on eyewitness information become much more common.

The case with isolarios is very different, despite the fact that the maps in isolarios derive from the nautical chart tradition. Cristoforo Buondelmonti, the creator of the first isolario in about 1420, does claim that he created his book on the basis of first-hand observation. Some creators of later isolarios make this same claim, but not always truthfully: in some cases they copied their texts or their maps from earlier works. Other authors viewed the creation of an isolario as an intellectual exercise, and neither sailed among the islands they describe nor claim to have visited them.

Biographical Sketch:  Chet Van Duzer has published extensively on medieval and Renaissance maps in journals such as Imago Mundi, Terrae Incognitae and Word & Image. He is the author of Johann Schöner’s Globe of 1515: Transcription and Study, the first detailed analysis of one of the earliest surviving terrestrial globes that includes the New World; and (with John Hessler) Seeing the World Anew: The Radical Vision of Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 & 1516 World Maps. His book Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps was published in 2013 by the British Library, and in 2014 the Library of Congress published a study of Christopher Columbus’s Book of Privileges, which he co-authored with John Hessler and Daniel De Simone. His latest books are The World for a King: Pierre Desceliers’ Map of 1550 (2015) from the British Library, and Apocalyptic Cartography: Thematic Maps and the End of the World in a Fifteenth-Century Manuscript, co-authored with Ilya Dines and published by Brill. His current book project is a study of Henricus Martellus’s world map of c. 1491 at Yale University based on multispectral imagery.


“Amundsen's Difficult Search for the Elusive North Magnetic Pole during His Northwest Passage”

During his epoch voyage through the Northwest Passage, Roald Amundsen had as a primary goal the identification of the location of the north magnetic pole. This is the point where the magnetic field dips downwards, pointing directly into the Earth. In 1903 he interrupted his Northwest Passage voyage, which he might have completed that year, in order to establish a winter camp at Gjoahavn in northern Canada, where he set up a temporary magnetic observatory.During the spring of 1904 he journeyed to the vicinity of the north magnetic pole, establishing that its general location had moved northward since its initial discovery by James Ross in 1831. Over the course of several weeks he attempted to pinpoint its precise location by repeated measurements of the local magnetic direction, but was frustrated that the point where the magnetic field is vertical appeared to move, seeming to wander significantly each day. Amundsen wrote that "our journey was not a brilliant success". He did not understand why the north magnetic pole was so elusive and could not be exactly located. Because of his difficulty in locating the pole, he remained at Gjoahavn for an additional winter for additional exploration.  This prolonged stay provided a beneficial opportunity to learn from the local Inuit their skills for adaption and survival in the Arctic, which enabled the success of his future polar explorations.

An explanation of Amundsen's difficulties and apparent lack of success in his search for the magnetic pole can now be provided by the modern understanding of geomagnetism, particularly the sources of magnetic variations at polar latitudes. The instantaneous magnetic field at the Earth's surface is a combination of the internally generated magnetic field, which is generally steady from day to day, and the externally generated magnetic field due to ionospheric currents that vary in the polar cap and the auroral zone on faster timescales of minutes to hours. Furthermore, it has recently been determined that the north magnetic pole due to the internally generated magnetic field has moved northwards since Amundsen's time, so that it is now in the middle of the Arctic Ocean and is expected to reach Siberia by 2050.      This paper will describe Amundsen's search for the north magnetic pole, including the motivation and its difficulties. The modern understanding of geomagnetic variations will be used to explain why his search was so difficult and why he thought he was not successful. In addition, it will describe his prolonged stay at Gjoahavn and his interactions with the local Inuit.

Biographical Sketch: Dr. Richard R. Vondrak received his bachelor's degree in physics from the University of California at Berkeley and his doctorate in space physics and astronomy from Rice University. After postdoctoral research positions in Sweden and at Rice University, he joined the Stanford Research Institute for research in ionospheric and magnetospheric physics. Later he joined the Space Sciences Laboratory at the Lockheed Palo Alto Research Laboratory, ultimately becoming the Director of Space Physics.  A NASA employee since 1995, he served as the first Director of the Solar System Exploration Division at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, with responsibility for research and flight projects in planetary science, astrochemistry, astrobiology, and space geodesy. Since retiring in 2013 he is a Consultant for Lunar Science and Exploration at the Goddard Space Flight Center.  His primary research interests are in lunar science, including lunar volatiles and the interaction of the solar wind with the Moon, and in space plasma physics, particularly the electrodynamics of the aurora and the polar ionosphere.  He has published more than 130 papers in scientific and technical journals, and presented more than 300 papers at national or international meetings.


“John Hoskins’ Chart of the Northwest Coast of America: An Unrecorded Legacy of the 1790-1793 Voyage of the Columbia Rediviva, and a Record of the Earliest Encounters”

This paper will be a power point presentation of a descriptive and contextual analysis of a previously unpublished chart of the Pacific Northwest coast drawn by clerk John Box Hoskins during the second voyage of the Columbia Rediviva to the Pacific Northwest from 1790-1793. The analysis sheds new light about contemporary knowledge both of the geography of the area and of Native people during the earliest years of American maritime voyages to the Pacific Northwest.  I will also discuss Hoskins’ map in the broader context of extant English and American manuscript and printed maps of the Pacific Northwest during the last decade of the eighteenth century. Source materials include Internet archives and personal review of primary documents at the U.S. National Archives, the Library of Congress, Massachusetts Historical Society, and the Oregon Historical Society.

Compared with other extant fur traders’ maps during this time, Hoskins’ map covered more coastal detail in relatively large scale between 450- 550 N. Latitude, and it was among the first to illustrate new, albeit imperfect, knowledge of the Columbia River and the possible insularity of Vancouver Island. The principal value of the map to a modern reader is Hoskins’ extensive documentation of Native place names along the coast. In 1798, the published charts of George Vancouver became the benchmark for navigation in the area. But while Vancouver’s maps illuminated knowledge of coastal geography, they simultaneously helped to efface knowledge of a Native presence while constructing an alternative, pre-colonization Imperial identity for the region. Hoskins’ map, devoid of details of ship’s tracks, soundings, and precise surveying particulars, documented an extensive and diverse Native presence. Hoskins and Vancouver constructed much of their cartography at the same time in 1792, so that even as the Native presence was being inscribed in the toponomy in one map, it was, even then, being displaced on the other.

During the last decade of the eighteenth century, American maritime fur traders operated without the same institutionalized cartographic establishment, commercial monopolies, and geopolitical focus that existed in England.  A review of these differences will provide some understanding why Hoskins’ map received little or no contemporary recognition.

Biographical Sketch:  Jim Walker is a retired physician, long time member of SHD, map collector, and independent researcher with primary interests in the cartographic history of the Pacific Northwest from pre-exploration to 18th. C. maritime exploration and 19th. C. trans-Mississippi west exploration. He has presented several papers at SHD meetings, and has been a contributor to Terrae Incognitae, Mercator's World, the Philip Lee Phillips Society Occasional Papers, the Oregon Historical Quarterly, and other publications. He is the co-author (with William L. Lang) of the reference book Explorers of the Maritime Pacific Northwest.  Mapping the World through Primary Documents (May 2016).

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