Land of Giants: The Drive to the Pacific Northwest, 1750- 1950

Land of Giants: The Drive to the Pacific Northwest, 1750- 1950

Land of Giants: The Drive to the Pacific Northwest, 1750- 1950

Land of Giants: The Drive to the Pacific Northwest, 1750- 1950

Excerpt

Spain was frightened. For almost a century, ever since Pope Alexander's bull dividing the New World, she had considered the Pacific as her private lake. And then suddenly, in the Year of Salvation 1579, red-bearded Francis Drake of England materialized--no Spaniard knew how--off the western coast of South America.

Helplessly the dons watched his single ship, the Golden Hind , raid their ports at Valparaiso and Callao de Lima. Next the Englishman seized a treasure galleon bound for Panama, and from her stripped strongboxes full of emeralds and pearls, thirteen chests of coined silver, eighty pounds of gold ingots, twenty-six tons of silver bars. Glutted with plunder, the Golden Hind then vanished toward the north.

North!

What attraction, the ravaged Spaniards wondered, could lie in that direction . . . unless it was the Strait of Anian, western end of the supposed Northwest Passage through America? Had Drake found the seaway? Was he planning to escape through the same channel by which he had come?

Other circumstances added to the fear. As Spanish agents in London were aware, a reformed semi-pirate named Martin Frobisher had already made two trips across the North Atlantic, hunting among the icebergs beyond Greenland for the eastern end of the passage. Was it only coincidence, then, that shortly before Drake's raids Frobisher had embarked on a third expedition? To be sure, his ostensible purpose was to dig for arctic gold. But what of the inlet whose mouth Frobisher had discovered on his earlier trips, an inlet reputedly pointing straight in the direction of Spain's Southern Sea? Did he and Drake plan to meet and concoct more devilment somewhere up in those bleak waterways?

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