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Drake California

Drake's "Treasure Map" has been a matter of public record for over 400 years and is formally known as the Hondius Broadside Map of 1595 with Insets.

Scholars and treasure-hunters alike have speculated about the true meaning of the map's various images. 

Decoding the Map

"Perspective" is the artistic concept that refers to the use of shading/shadowing to create the perception of distance. In the late 1500s, perspective was the accepted standard for creating drawings and paintings. However, mapmakers could not apply this concept to their work and maps were drawn "flat". In earlier times, before "perspective" became widely understood, drawings and paintings were also done "flat". During Drake's lifetime, the science of mapmaking was a branch of geometry and Jocodus Hondius was considered to be the premier mapmaker. Maps were created by drawing landforms onto a piece of paper which was then rolled-up to form a three-dimensional picture. This method had been used for many centuries and was known as Map Projection. In order to create the map of Nova Albion, Hondius not only developed a new map projection technique, he also combined this new technique with two other ancient map projection methods and created the maps images according to the long-forgotten concepts associated with creating "flat" landscapes. To create a "flat" landscape, the artist only drew the outline of what he saw as opposed to the details of what he saw. Immediately below is an example of how this concept was applied to the Hondius map of Nova Albion.

 Image of Shoreline from

The Hondius Broadside Map of 1595


Drake California

Google Earth Image  Ridge Above Larkspur Landing

 Look at the shoreline (upper edge) of the body of water with the three-masted ship immediately below. Next, compare it to the Google Earth Image of the top of the ridge surrounding Larkspur Landing. The shape of the shoreline and the outline of the top of the ridge are identical...right down to the dark area shown in the upper right-hand portion of each! The image of the "shoreline" is not a picture of a shoreline at all. It is a representation of the outline of the ridge that would be visible when sailing into Larkspur Landing. This ridge was used by Drake to travel between "The Cove" and "The Treasure Site". The outlines of the features of the landscape visible from "The Cove" were then disguised as the images on the map of Nova Albion.

Drake California

Here is another example of the "flat" concept of perspective.

The ridgeline of the hill leading to the Treasure Site is shown as the shoreline of the "water".

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