Francis Drake Lands in California

1590 depiction of Francis Drake's landing in what he called New Albion, now northern California
1590 depiction of Francis Drake's landing in what he called New Albion, now northern California

Historical Context

Sir Francis Drake, one of the great maritime navigators in history, also helped kick-start the English colonization of the Americas when he landed in what is now northern California in 1579. Drake was undertaking the second circumnavigation of the Earth when he landed on the Pacific coast of the Americas.

He claimed the entire territory for the English Crown, naming it New Albion. He only stayed for a few weeks before departing, and while the English had no ability to maintain a colony on America's Pacific Coast, the claim was not followed up, but it served to legitimize the idea that England could and should colonize the continent.

The exact location of Drake's landing has been a matter of historical debate for centuries. Most of his original logs and maps were destroyed in a 17th century fire, and he often hid certain locations so the rival Spanish would not find them. The officially recognized location is Drake's Cove, off Drakes Bay in Point Reyes.

Photo Info


Photographer: Unknown
Location taken: Drake's Cove, California, USA

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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