Elizabeth Island (Cape Horn)

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Francis Fletcher's map of Elizabeth Island

In some accounts of Francis Drake's voyage, in September 1578 he is said to have landed on an island off the tip of South America. Called "Elizabeth Iland" in Francis Fletcher's account, it has been identified with Henderson Island, Hornos Island, or Pactolus Bank.

Another Elizabeth Island in the Straits of Magellan was named and claimed for England by Drake on 24 August 1578.[1]

Further confusing the issue, the entire Tierra del Fuego archipelago was called the Elizabethides or Elizabeth Islands.

Elizabeth Island is significant as one of the first English territorial claims in the New World, preceding Drake's claim of New Albion in 1579 and Humphrey Gilbert's claim of Newfoundland in 1583.[2] Only Martin Frobisher's claims in Baffin Island and Greenland were earlier.[3]


  1. ^ Drake, Francis; Francis Fletcher; et al. (1854). The World encompassed by Sir Francis Drake. Hakluyt Society. p. 75. 
  2. ^ Sugden, John (1990). Sir Francis Drake. Barrie & Jenkins. p. 118. ISBN 0-7126-2038-9. 
  3. ^ McDermott, James (2001). Martin Frobisher: Elizabethan privateer. New Haven: Yale University Press. pp. 190, 219. ISBN 0-300-08380-7.