Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation, by Richard Hakluyt

The most ancient Discovery of the West Indies by Madoc the sonne of Owen Guyneth Prince of North-wales, in the yeere 1170: taken out of the history of Wales, lately published by M. Dauid Powel Doctor of Diuinity.4

After the death of Owen Guyneth, his sonnes fell at debate who should inherit after him: for the eldest sonne borne in matrimony, Edward or Iorweth Drwydion, was counted vnmeet to gouerne, because of the maime upon his face: and Howell that tooke vpon him all the rule was a base sonne, begotten upon an Irish woman. Therefore Dauid gathered all the power he could, and came against Howel, and fighting with him, slew him; and afterwards inioyed quietly the whole land of Northwales, vntil his brother Iorwerths sonne came to age. Madoc the son of Owen Guyneth. Madoc another of Owen Guyneth his sonnes left the land in contention betwixt his brethren, and prepared certaine ships, with men and munition, and sought aduentures by Seas, sailing West, and leauing the coast of Ireland so farre North, that he came vnto a land vnknowen, where he saw many strange things.

Humf. Llyod. This land most needs be some part of that Countrey of which the Spanyards affirme themselues to be the first finders since Hannos time. Whereupon it is manifest that that countrey was by Britaines discouered, long before Columbus led any Spanyards thither.

Of the voyage and returne of this Madoc there be many fables feined, as the common people doe vse in distance of place and length of time rather to augment then to diminish: but sure it is there he was. The second voyage of Madoc the sonne of Owen Guyneth. And after he had returned home, and declared the pleasant and fruitfull countreys that he had seen without inhabitants, and vpon the contrary part, for what barren and wild ground his brethren and nephews did murther one another, he prepared a number of ships, and got with him such men and women as were desirous to liue in quietness: and taking leaue of his friends, tooke his journey thitherward againe. Gomara. lib. 2. cap. 16. Therefore it is to be supposed that he and his people inhabited part of those countreys: for it appeareth by Francis Lopez de Gomara, that in Acuzamil and other places the people honored the crosse. Wherby it may be gathered that Christians had bene there before the comming of the Spanyards. But because this people were not many, they followed the maners of the land which they came vnto, and vsed the language they found there.

M. Powels addition. Gutyn Owen. This Madoc arriuing in that Westerne countrey, vnto the which he came in the yere 1170, left most of his people there, and returning backe for more of his owne nation, acquaintance and friends to inhabit that faire and large countrey, went thither againe with ten sailes, as I find noted by Gutyn Owen. I am of opinion that the land whereunto he came was some part of the West Indies.5

4 The History of Wales, written by Caradoc of Llancarvan, Glamorganshire, in the British Language, translated into English by Humphrey Llwyd, and edited by Dr. David Powel in 1584, is the book here quoted. It is very rare.

5 If Madoc ever existed, it seems more probable that the land he discovered was Madeira or the Azores. Such at least is the view taken by Robertson, and also by Jeremiah Belknap (American Biography, 8vo, Boston, 1774). Southey founded one of his poems on this tradition.

Last updated Monday, March 10, 2014 at 21:52