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donated to site by Bideford, England's  Mayor Andy Powell
June 23, 2009


The “Zuñiga Chart” of Virginia, 1608





Sidebar giving the full text of Zuñiga’s letter to Philip III, 1608

(for the Gallery exhibit, “The ‘Zuñiga Chart’ of Virginia, 1608”)

Copy of a deciphered letter of
Don Pedro de Zuñiga to the
King of Spain, dated Higuete
[Highgate?], September 10, 1608.


“I have thought proper to send Y. M. [Your Majesty] a plan of Virginia [i.e., the “Zuñiga Chart,” item LVII in Brown] and another of the Fort [item LVIII in Brown] which the English have erected there, together with a report [item LIX in Brown] given me by a person who has been there. Still, I am trying to learn more and I shall report about it. I received just now, by way of Flanders, the letter which Y. M. was pleased to command to be written to me on the 16th of last month, with the Report which contains the reasons then existing for sending to the galleys the English, who in 1606 were found in our waters, and I shall make such use of it as I am commanded by Y. M. Whose Catholic and Royal person God preserve as all Christendom requires it.

“At Higuete [Highgate?] September 10. 1608.

“Don Pedro de Zuñiga.”

— Item LVI, “Zuñiga to Philip III”
from Alexander Brown’s
The Genesis of the United States,
volume I, pp. 183–4



copied from 

Reproduction only for non-commercial use.

First published in 1890 as a keyed drawing, item LVII in volume 1 of Alexander Brown’s The Genesis of the United States. Map notations A., B., etc. have been added by Brown.


THIS MS. CHART OF VIRGINIA is believed to have been one of the sources for the 1610/11 map of North America (or “Velasco Map”). In his interesting and detailed gloss of the 1608 Zuñiga chart (see below), Alexander Brown describes the connections between this chart and the Velasco map of 1610/11, both of which provided valuable intelligence not only for the Virginia Company and English court, but for the Spanish court as well.

Of note, Brown surmises that this English chart also proved useful to the Dutch, here suggesting

that copies of [Smith’s] “Relation” and of this chart were taken to Holland by Captain Henry Hudson in the latter part of 1608, and that they are referred to by Hudson as “letters and charts which one Captain Smith had sent him from Virginia, by which he (Smith) informed him (Hudson) that there was a sea leading into the Western Ocean by the North of the Southern English Colony,” about the latitude of forty degrees. On December 29, 1608 (0.S.), Captain Hudson, with the information derived by him in his native England, entered into a contract with the Dutch.

(Brown, Genesis of the United States I:184)




















© June 2006; revised 25 June 2008

19th-century printer's ornament

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