Coin found by treasure hunter confirms long disputed historical fact
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/5/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
A 16th century shilling, buried in clay on the shores of Vancouver Island has changed the course of Canadian history. An amateur treasure hunter with a hand-held metal detector discovered the 435-year-old coin and has given credence that British hero, Sir Francis Drake discovered Canada long before the Spanish.
Sir Francis Drake reportedly covered his discovery of Canada at the behest of Queen Elizabeth I, who supposedly wished to avoid confrontation over the new territory with Spain.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It has been a long-held theory that the British explorer made a secret voyage to Canada two centuries before it was discovered by the Spaniards.
Currently, official historical records say that the Spanish were the first Europeans to set foot on Canadian soil. The first incursion by Europeans is thought to have been in Canada's British Columbia province in 1774. This discovery was followed four years later by British Royal Navy Captain James Cook.
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The extraordinary shilling, which now casts Canadian history in a brand new life, was found by retired security systems installer Bruce Campbell. He found the coin in mid-December, along with a rare 1891 Canadian nickel, a 1960s dime and penny from 1900.
"I was getting fat and tired of watching TV," he said. He never imagined that his new found hobby would ever stir up controversy.
Conspiracy theorists along with some historians say that the silver coin, which was produced between 1551 and 1553, is evidence enough that English explorer Sir Francis Drake traveled as far north as Canada's Pacific Coast during an expedition to California in 1579, in search of the famed Northwest Passage.
Drake reportedly covered it up at the behest of Queen Elizabeth I, who supposedly wished to avoid confrontation over the new territory with Spain.
In reality, Spanish explorers had kept to more southern parts of the continent after seeing few apparent resources and natural ports in California.
A leading proponent of the so-called Drake theory and the author of a book on the subject, Samuel Bawlf, says the coin is proof the English arrived here first.
Bawlf noted two other finds that support the theory: a 1571 sixpence dug up in 1930 in the backyard of a Victoria home and another Tudor-era coin unearthed on nearby Quadra Island.
Drake would have given the coins to aboriginals he met "to show to later comers that England had already found (and staked a claim to) these lands," Bawlf says.
Royal British Columbia Museum curator Grant Keddie, tasked with examining the evidence, is skeptical.
He said his analysis typically looks at "what was written at the time, and archeological artifacts."
He argues that there is currently not enough evidence to support this theory, noting that Drake's logs were burned in a London fire a century later.
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