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Flashback Photo: Bartholomew Gosnold Catches a Fish, Names Cape Cod

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'Gosnold at Cuttyhunk, 1602' by Albert Bierstadt, 1858

'Gosnold at Cuttyhunk, 1602' by Albert Bierstadt, 1858

On May 15, 1602, Bartholomew Gosnold sailed into Provincetown Harbor, saw huge schools of fish and named the peninsula 'Cape Cod.'

Gosnold was an English lawyer who managed to get backing to found an English colony in North America. In March 1602, he set sail from England in a small bark, The Concord, with 32 men on board. Sailing due west from the Azores, he reached Cape Elizabeth in May. He skirted the coastline for a few days, anchored in York Harbor, Maine, and then sailed into Provincetown Harbor. On May 15, 1602, this is what he wrote:

The fifteenth day we had again sight of the land, which made ahead, being as we thought an island, by reason of a large sound that appeared westward between it and the main, for coming to the west end thereof, we did perceive a large opening, we called it Shoal Hope. Near this cape we came to fathom anchor in fifteen fathoms, where we took great store of codfish, for which we altered the name, and called it Cape Cod. Here we saw sculls of herring, mackerel, and other small fish, in great abundance.

 

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  1. Pingback: In 1603 Martin Pring Escapes New England with His Tail between His Legs - New England Historical Society

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