The Extraordinary Journey of David Ingram: An Elizabethan Sailor in Native North America

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In The Extraordinary Journey of David Ingram, author Dean Snow rights the record on a shipwrecked sailor who traversed the length of the North American continent only to be maligned as deceitful storyteller.

In the autumn of 1569, a French ship rescued David Ingram and two other English sailors from the shore of the Gulf of Maine. The men had walked over 3000 miles in less than a year after being marooned near Tampico, Mexico. They were the only three men to escape alive and uncaptured, out of a hundred put ashore at the close of John Hawkins's disastrous third slaving expedition. A dozen years later, Ingram was called in for questioning by Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth's spymaster. In 1589, the historian Richard Hakluyt published his version of Ingram's story based on the records of that interrogation. For four centuries historians have used that publication as evidence that Ingram was an egregious travel liar, an unreliable early source for information about the people of interior eastern North America before severe historic epidemics devastated them.

In The Extraordinary Journey of David Ingram, author and recognized archaeologist Dean Snow shows that Ingram was not a fraud, contradicting the longstanding narrative of his life. Snow's careful examination of three long-neglected surviving records of Ingram's interrogation reveals that the confusion in the 1589 publication was the result of disorganization by court recorders and poor editing by Richard Hakluyt. Restoration of Ingram's testimony has reinstated him as a trustworthy source on the peoples of West Africa, the Caribbean, and eastern North America in the middle sixteenth century. Ingram's life story, with his long traverse through North America at its core, can now finally be understood and appreciated for what it was: the tale of a unique, bold adventurer.

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Oxford University Press Inc
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