I have to ask sorry again, for the sensationalist title, but it is in order to capture your attention, a more appropiated title would have been "L.F: MALDONADO, LIFE AND MIRACLES".
Now that there are some interesting, very interesting, I would say, discussions about the neverending subject of "Who was the actual discoverer of the Northwest Passage" (NWP for the friends), in the Russell blog or in the Ken McGoogan blog, I´ve taken advantage of this situation to show to all of you a strange and curious story which is intimately relationated with this.
This is the story of a strange man, a Spanish man, who, someday, claimed having crossed the NWP. Yes, folks, and he even deserves a book, I´ve only found a Spanish version, ...and perhaps I can read it when its turn came, likely in the year 2028, year more or year less. The review says that, even today, his trip is being discussed, perhaps this would be a good moment to arise another pugil to the fight, a pugil that had almost three hundred years of advantage.
Well, here comes the story,please stay five minutes to read this and learn something that it is probably completely new for both, for you and me.
It was the day 10th of august of 1557 when Lorenzo was born in Berja, Almería, Spain. Son of a soldier, Lorenzo, at his age of fourteen went as an arquebusier to Barcelona to join the Navy and fight against the Turkish in the Lepanto Battle. After the battle, Lorenzo with fifteen years old stayed in Mesina working to the Micer Joao Martines copying nautical charts and repairing old codices.
With eighteen years old, Lorenzo began his career as merchant in Cartagena together with Micer Martines. Soon after he went to Sevilla where he learn the arts of the navigation from Rodrigo Zamorano, the most important authority of the "La casa de contratación" (contract house) in that moment. He earned there his nautical title and he could go as Captain to the Philipine islands.
After that, he returned to Guadix, the town where the rest of his family were having bad times, he stayed there as a "Jurado", falsified some documents to recover some lands that the Spanish had won to the Moriscos in the previous wars. After this lamentable action, he got married with Isacia de Zafarraya y Montiel who died when she was given birth a child.
Then Lorenzo, deeply shocked departed in the 21 of march of 1588 on board the nao "Stella" to the arctic to participate in the fur trade. It was this voyage when he, allegedly, crossed the strait of Anian between the Atlantic ocean and the Pacific Ocean, as he told to the king Felipe III. After an eventful life, he died in 1625 and was buried in Madrid in the Desengaño street. ( I promise you to publish a photo of his grave when I can go there to visit it).
There never were any official version about this achievement. His information was inaccurate and full of contradictions and the latitudes and distances impossible. His voyage was considered false then.
The story is well narrated here, and there are more details about his life here, but in Spanish, I summarize the main points here:
Starting from the port of Lisboa to the Labrador peninsula, he cross the Davis Strait and the Baffin bay, he said get into the arctic islands, gate of the arctic ocean and then changed the course to the southwest after arriving at it. After finding earth, he found the Anian Strait. He said that the sun had been shining all the day and that they had had a fair temperature.
Lorenzo Ferrer Maldonado, in the illustrated circles was considered a deceiver because he had offered to the Royal court several fantastic artifices or machines that he never could make indeed. For example, the first fixed compass to navigate or, no less fantastic, the "Salomon clavicle" able to transform any metal in gold.
To tell the truth, this things tell few about his reliability but says much about his fanciful imagination and personality.
His account of the voyage is here, unfortunately only available in Spanish, but as the book is free available because it was written in 1866, I will transcript its content soon for those who are curious.
Just to plant a seed of doubt, Bauche de la Neuville, in 1789, a greatly known French cartographer, defended in the Science academy of Paris, the veracity of the maldonado voyage. Soon after, Malaspina and Alcalá Galiano went to prove the issue (All of you remember from my old post that Alcala fought in Trafalgar, ship side by ship side, with Franklin and that his son had an affair with Lady Franklin, Isn´t it?),.
If the intention of Bauche, was to provoke a new expedition or if in fact he believed the narration of maldonado, it eludes me. I suppose that if nobody have ever claimed a review of this process is because we have few posibilities to win this battle, a battle of more than a hundred years, but ...Who knows?. What if this is only the beginning?.