Discovering Francis Drake's California Harbor

 Francis Drake

Nova Albion

                                               Drake's California Harbor

The following key points identify Drake's harbor of Nova Albion (New England) in California.

Latitude 38 degrees north.

Native Americans of the Coast Miwok People, who inhabited Marin and part of Sonoma Counties, north of the entrance to San Francisco Bay.

The Farallon Islands lying a short distance downwind (southwest) of Drake's harbor. They are the only offshore islands in the region.

An easy entry into a good bay where the Golden Hind could anchor safely.
A safe inner harbor within the bay where the difficult work of repairing the Golden Hind could be carried out free of current, wind, waves, and excessive tidal range .

Extremely cold and foggy weather from late June through July.

Barren land.

An inland region a short distance from Drake's harbor with a notably better climate. Distinctive white cliffs which lie toward the sea from Drake's harbor, which inspired him to name the land Nova Albion after the similar white cliffs along the English Channel.

Artifacts left behind by Drake's men and firmly identified to the 1570s. Drake captured four chests of Chinese porcelains from a ship off Central America. Numerous porcelain sherds found in Native-American sites at Drakes Bay have been identified as abandoned cargo from Drake's Golden Hind.

A close match of the harbor with a sketch deriving from the voyage. This sketch, shown on the map known as the Hondius Broadside Map, published within Drake's lifetime, names the inner harbor as Portus Novae Albionis, or Port of New England. In it, the Golden Hind is shown at anchor, protected by bluffs, hills, and sand spits. Drake's fortified encampment is shown on the shore near the ship. The site can be seen today.

These, and many more points of evidence, match only one location: Drake's Cove at the western side of the mouth of Drakes Estero where the Estero joins Drakes Bay.

The Guild's research has been studied in depth and accepted by numerous scholars in many fields. Many of them are listed in the Guild's book Discovering Francis Drake's California Harbor.

The Board of Supervisors of Marin County has officially declared Drakes Bay as the landing place of Sir Francis Drake in resoltion No. 94-129. (click to see Resolution)



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