Friday, June 10, 2016


On July 4, 1584, two English barks under the command of Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe began their exploration of the "New World." They had been sent by Sir Walter Raleigh to locate a suitable site to establish an English colony on the American coast. More expeditions were to follow.

In 1590 Thomas Hariot published A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia. This volume included an engraving (below) by Theodor de Bry based on watercolor illustrations made by Capt. John White, commander of the 1587 expedition sent by Raleigh. It shows the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Please enlarge the map to view a better image.

This 1590 map is oriented with North (Septentrio) to the right, and shows Wokokon (Ocracoke) just above the sailing ship on the left.

The detail below shows Wokokon more clearly. Wokokon is identified in a key to the White-de Bry map in Appendix I of David B. Quinn's Roanoke Voyages (London, 1955):

"Wokokon: 1. An inlet near, or identical with, present-day Ocracoke Inlet. 2. An Island, which Arthur Barlowe called 'an out Island vninhabited,' probably consisting of the southern half of modern Ocracoke Island. The etymology of Wokokon (perhaps from Proto-Algonquian waxkahikani, 'stockade' or 'stronghold') and the palisade symbol northeast of the inlet may indicate a palisaded town abandoned before English contact. De Bry used this symbol with some lack of restraint to indicate towns without palisades, such as Pomeiock (which see), and perhaps other things; so it is far from certain what the symbol signifies here."

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the dramatic story of life-saver Rasmus Midgett and his rescue of the crew of the barkentine Priscilla in August, 1899. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous8:34 AM

    The confidence of early cartographers to take quill in hand and take to paper to ink up their illustration of the New World. Do you suppose the person that actually experienced the landscape takes note plein air then the cartographer in his/her studio fleshes out the map?? Does any one know? Thomas Friedman where are you??

  2. Anonymous10:05 AM

    Philip, do I detect a typo? Should "Capt. John White, commander of the 1857 expedition sent by Raleigh" actually note 1587? Regardless, this is a FASCINATING map. Thanks for posting, as always.

    1. Yes, indeed, that was a typo. I made the correction. Thanks!!

  3. Anonymous5:51 PM

    SIDE BAR: USCGC Ocracoke (WPB-1307) is an Island Class Cutter of the United States Coast Guard.[1] She is homeported in Maine, where she patrols international and territorial waters as a humanitarian, law enforcement, and Homeland Security asset. Her primary missions are Search and Rescue, Counter-Smuggling Activities, and Homeland Security.[2]
    As of 2014 she was working out of Portland, Maine

    The Island-class patrol boats were constructed in Bollinger Shipyards, Lockport, Louisiana. Ocracoke has an overall length of 110 feet (34 m). It had a beam of 21 feet (6.4 m) and a draft of 7 feet (2.1 m) at the time of construction. The patrol boat has a displacement of 154 tonnes (152 long tons; 170 short tons) at full load and 137 tonnes (135 long tons; 151 short tons) at half load. It is powered two Paxman-Valenta 16 CM diesel engines or two Caterpillar 3516 diesel engines. It has two 99 kilowatts (135 PS; 133 shp) 3304T diesel generators made by Caterpillar; these can serve as motor–generators. Its hull is constructed from highly strong steel, and the superstructure and major deck are constructed from aluminium.
    The Island-class patrol boats have maximum sustained speeds of 29.5 knots (54.6 km/h; 33.9 mph). It is fitted with one 25 millimetres (0.98 in) machine gun and two 7.62 millimetres (0.300 in) M60 light machine guns; it may also be fitted with two Browning .50 Caliber Machine Guns. It is fitted with satellite navigation systems, collision avoidance systems, surface radar, and a Loran C system. It has a range of 3,330 miles (2,890 nmi; 5,360 km) and an endurance of five days. Its complement is sixteen (two officers and fourteen crew members). Island-class patrol boats are based on Vosper Thornycroft 33 metres (108 ft) patrol boats and have similar dimensions.

  4. Anonymous8:59 AM

    Hmm, it appears that the Coast Guard names the ships after a Lighthouse every now and then.....

  5. Anonymous3:38 PM

    Lighthouse?....I took it as being named after an island....what am I missing?