News / USA

California, Oregon Battle Over Landmark Status

US states argue over where first recorded contact between British and American Indians occurred

This engraving, published in 1590, depicts Sir Francis Drake’s interaction with American Indians on the U.S. West Coast 11 years earlier. (Library of Congress)
This engraving, published in 1590, depicts Sir Francis Drake’s interaction with American Indians on the U.S. West Coast 11 years earlier. (Library of Congress)
Ted Landphair
The U.S. National Park Service is about to convey landmark status upon a place on the California coast, not far from San Francisco’s famous Golden Gate Bridge.

That sounds kind of routine, but some people up the coast in Oregon are not at all happy about it. 
California, Oregon Battle Over Drake Landmark Status
California, Oregon Battle Over Drake Landmark Statusi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X


Sir Francis Drake, the daring British explorer, is said to have sailed to that little piece of California’s Pacific coastline 433 years ago, in 1579, in the middle of his epic three-year expedition around the world. 
This is a photo of Drake Bay. The terrain up in Oregon looks very similar and, of course, Sir Francis Drake didn’t know where he’d landed relative to future US state boundaries. (National Park Service)This is a photo of Drake Bay. The terrain up in Oregon looks very similar and, of course, Sir Francis Drake didn’t know where he’d landed relative to future US state boundaries. (National Park Service)
x
This is a photo of Drake Bay. The terrain up in Oregon looks very similar and, of course, Sir Francis Drake didn’t know where he’d landed relative to future US state boundaries. (National Park Service)
This is a photo of Drake Bay. The terrain up in Oregon looks very similar and, of course, Sir Francis Drake didn’t know where he’d landed relative to future US state boundaries. (National Park Service)

He mapped a cove where he landed - and named it and the surrounding cliffs “New Albion.”  Albion, which is Greek for “white,” was an early name for Britain, inspired by the famous white cliffs near Dover.​ 

Today, the California cove and bay are called “Drake’s Bay” in the explorer’s honor.

Drake is said to have hung around for five weeks, repairing his ships and interacting with Native American tribes. That’s the main reason the place is historic, for this was the first recorded contact between the British and American Indians.

So why should people up the coast in Oregon be upset?  

They say Drake’s “Albion” visit didn’t happen there at all, that he actually put ashore farther north on the rocky Pacific coast.

Amateur historian Gary Gitzen and other Oregonians say that first contact took place in and around Oregon’s Nehalem Bay.  

If you lay Drake’s own map of the cove he visited atop a map of Nehalem Bay, Gitzen says, “it’s the same outline.”  He’s writing a book, called "Oregon’s Stolen History," all about it.
This is Drake’s own map, with words in Latin, of the cove where he landed. He even named it “New Albion” in honor of his country, far away. (National Park Service)This is Drake’s own map, with words in Latin, of the cove where he landed. He even named it “New Albion” in honor of his country, far away. (National Park Service)
x
This is Drake’s own map, with words in Latin, of the cove where he landed. He even named it “New Albion” in honor of his country, far away. (National Park Service)
This is Drake’s own map, with words in Latin, of the cove where he landed. He even named it “New Albion” in honor of his country, far away. (National Park Service)

The National Park Service sent the conflicting claims to a couple of historic commissions, which ruled in California’s favor.

According to the Northwest News Network, the California location’s landmark designation will be a “done deal” as soon as U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signs the proclamation.

For now maybe, say the folks up north. They’re not about to give up their claim that the real Drake’s Bay should be in Oregon.

You May Like

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid