Well Cook wasn’t for sure…that’s a fact.
When my good old friend Andrew (that's TDW for you guys), came over, I couldn't understand why he was so interested in Portuguese naval history, and our boats, to the point where he spent a whole day at the Portuguese Navy Museum (museu da Marinha)..
He also brought me a gift, that now, a few months later I had the pleasure of finally enjoying to the fullest, only because of my lack of time....
the gift?? A book by a known Australian Journalistic investigator writer called Peter Trickett..the book is called "Beyond Capricorn"...let me tell you, not because I am Portuguese and in love with Naval history, especially that of my Country, richer than any other country's history...but probably the best book I have read in many years.
In this book, Peter Trickett explains how, in 1522, that’s 250 years before Cook, and 90 years before the Dutch (1606), a Portuguese Captain called Cristovao Mendonca, had sailed around Australia and New Zealand, and mapped the land he called Terra Java. He took with him a Nau (Carrack), a Caravel, a bergantim and an Indian boat called a Prau. All but the Carrack sank, and the crews probably stayed in Australia, and mixed with the arborigines. (see later in this thread).
Peter Tricket seriously investigated this, when once by accident he stumbled upon the Vallard Atlas, dated 1547, now in a collection in the Huntington Library in Los Angeles, CA, whose features seriously resembled that of the Australian coast line
The original Portuguese map was lost, or not, but in 1547, a French made Atlas called the Vallard Atlas, made in Dieppe, was made and all the words in it are Portuguese, as can be seen in that map. CLICK HERE
), a former captain with Vasco da Gama (found India in 1499), was either a traitor or a spy and seeks refuge in France in or around 1525…hence the maps with the coast of Australia being made in France.
By the way, at the time, they made the maps with the south on top, because the Portuguese sailors sailed south first, out of Portugal, so when you google these maps, turn them upside down)
The finding of Australia by Portuguese is surrounded by mystery and political plots and secrecy.
One of the reasons it is believed that Terra Java (Australia) was never mentioned is because of the treaty of Tordesillas, (click here
) signed in 1494, where the World was divided in two parts, one given to the Portuguese, the other to the Spanish, (curiously, with that division – see photo bellow - Portugal kept Brasil and the part where gold was found 6 years later in 1500, meaning Portugal already knew Brasil was there before Pedro Alvares Cabral officially found it in 1500 !!!). If the Portuguese claimed having been in Terra Java, they would be in the Spanish half, and had to pay the Spanish for violating the treaty..
Photo bellow shows the red line
Tordesillas treaty and clearly shows how Portugal kept Brasil in 1494, when it was only found in 1500. The bellow map is at the entrance to the Museu da Marinha in Lisbon.
Was it impossible for the 1520 Portuguese to have sailed to Australia?? NOT AT ALL, they were already in where is now Timor and Indonesia, a mere 300 miles from Australia..Certainly a captain that sailed all around the World from Portugal to India, China and Indonesia, wouldn’t mind a few more miles and see what was there..
Another possibility for the maps ending up in France, was the fact that French, instead of discovering or setting sail (the first French expedition to the Pacific is pretty pathetic and ridiculous, with the Captains’ retreating to their cabins to write poems, and play music, when the ships were either attacked or in storms..this is true!!..any way)…resorted to sail around the North Africa coast, and acting as corsairs or pirates would raid the Portuguese Carracks and caravels coming from India (typical)…they actually had orders to invade Portuguese ships just for the maps..this way, maybe the maps were stolen and ended up in France..
I strongly recommend if you can, read this book…as it is..Pretty amazing.
The boats they used were the Carrack (NAU in Portuguese), click here
, the Caravel, and the Bergantim (that later the English used also hence the English Term Brigantine or Brig), which was in its early stages almost a barge with square sails, derived from the Mediterranian sea.
Models in the Museu da Marinha (photos by TDW)
Nau or Carrack Click Here
perfect to haul cargo and as Admiral ships. But deep draft, and poor at pointing.
The Caravela (Caravel in ENGLISH) a shallow draft ship, perfect to explore coastal features
and bellow a real Caravela replica, for size is a good example.
One can only imagine what it was like..back then they could find whwere they were longitudinally, North / South, but East West, was only done by estimate using boat speed.
The Portuguese boats were at the time, the fastest boats in the Worls, averaging 5 to 6 knots..
A curiosity, a league, (today almost 3 NM), back then was a measure, not in distance as we know it now, but how much "an average sail boat could sail in one hour", and was around 5 miles...funny IMS racing is almost like this...distance in time for rating...coincidence? maybe not..
Vasco da Gama found India 1499
Pedro Alvares Cabral (official founder of Brasil 1500)
Hope you enjoy a little history, although stubbornly denied by Australian Orthodox (read English butt kissers) academics, after reading the book..no questions are left…the Portuguese were in fact there…
They have canons, vestiges of stone constructions, aborigines that called Cook saying “venka”, in Portuguese we say “vem ca”, means come here, strong muscular aborigine tribes in North West Australia (the Brits wiped them out, by the way), that are whiter and have typical European physiognomy (remember the boats that I said sank there? Where did the crews swim to?? Not Portugal for sure..and even a fishing lead sinker carbon dated to 1500, and they just blindly refuse to accept..one wonders why…even a tribe that sang a Portuguese shanty…
None of this diminishes Cook…what are they afraid of???
Please…see if you can read the book, then come here..it’s so amazing
Sorry for the long post..if this thread evolves, I have more to tell..
Original Vallard Atlas photo
, Los Angles
Portuguese map dated 1594 (see on top right corner), that shows Java in the left lower corner, altough not exactly correct as far as shape goes..but none the less, pretty amazing, considering.