|25-01-2019 (948 lectures)||Categoria: Articles|
New Documents Concerning the French Basque Pilot, Martin de Hoyarsabal, Author of the First Detailed Rutter for the â€śNew Found Landâ€ť (1579)
Michael M BarkhamÂ
San Sebastion Naval MuseumÂ
1 ABOUT 1900 THE ONLY KNOWN COPY of the first edition of an important sixteenth-century book was added to the collections of theÂ BibliothĂ¨que nationale de France in Paris. This wasÂ Les voyages avantureux du capitaine Martin de Hoyarsabal, habitant de Cubiburu. Contenant les reigles & enseignemens necessaires Ă la bonne & seure navigation (The Adventurous Voyages of Captain Martin de Hoyarsabal, Inhabitant of Cubiburu. Containing the Rules and Instructions Necessary for Good and Safe Navigation).1 According to the title page it was published in 1579 in Bordeaux â€śFrom the press of Jean Chouinâ€ť (â€śDe l'imprimerie de Iean Chouinâ€ť), although evidence indicates that this was a false typographic address and that it was actually published in La Rochelle (Figure 1).2 A notice on page 2 from the printer-publisher to the reader reads:
I beg you (dear reader) to excuse me, because in this present treatise or mariners' rutter there are several words from various languages, and of diverse spellings, all the more so since the author of this present book is in no way French but is Basque from the frontiers of Spain, and desired that it should be published in the same way as his [original] copy was written, which I have done collating it with the copy to the great contentment of the said author.3No author is specifically mentioned but the title suggests that the author was Martin de Hoyarsabal -- a captain from the French Basque port of Ă§ubiburu. â€śĂ‡ubiburuâ€ť(now Ziburu in Basque and Ciboure in French) means â€śhead of the bridgeâ€ť in Basque and owes this name to its location close to a bridge across the river Nivelle on the other side of which lies the port of Saint-Jean-de-Luz.
ÂTitle pages of the Hoyarsabal rutter
Figure 11579 edition. BibliothĂ¨que nationale, Paris.
Figure 21632 edition. James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota.
Figure 3One of the 1633 editions. BibliothĂ¨que nationale, Paris.
Figure 41669 edition. Courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library, Brown University.
Figure 51677 Basque edition. BibliothĂ¨que nationale, Paris.
2 This unique volume bears an old stamp of the library of the Jesuit Royal College of Loyola, birthplace of the Order's founder, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, in the Spanish Basque province of Gipuzkoa. The remarkably detailed inventory of everything in the College, begun in April 1767, following the King's instructions to expel the Order from Spain, shows that the volume now at theÂ BibliothĂ¨que nationale in Paris was indeed then at the Royal College of Loyola.4 Part Two of the inventory lists â€śeverything found on the walls of the passageways and in the roomsâ€ť, and in the section relating to the contents of the room of father Joseph de Zubimendi an entry reads: â€śItem: another book with parchment the title of which isÂ Boiages Abentureros Du Capitane D'Oiarzabal without author: published in Bordeaux the year of 1579â€ť.5 The Jesuits' expulsion took place that same April and it would appear that this book eventually reached theÂ BibliothĂ¨que nationale when it was donated to the institution by the scientist and bascologist Antoine d'Abbadie (1810-1897).6
3 The book is a very useful rutter, that is, a pilot book or book of sailing directions for mariners. Of its 132 pages, the first three-quarters (pages 3 to 97) gives sailing directions for and descriptions of the coasts of Atlantic and Mediterranean Spain, France, Flanders, England, Wales and Ireland with a brief mention of Scotland.7 The final pages of text (97 to 114) are concerned with â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť or â€śles Terres Neufvesâ€ť, that vast region which at the time encompassed, broadly speaking, the Canadian maritime provinces, eastern QuĂ©bec, the island of Newfoundland and southern Labrador, in other words the North American Atlantic seaboard between approximately 45Â° and 55Â° North. More precisely, they provide sailing directions for and descriptions of the south coast of Newfoundland (particularly from the Burin Peninsula eastwards to Cape Race) and the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon (with indications for navigating from Cape Breton to these islands), the east coast of Newfoundland and the south coast of Labrador or north shore of the Strait of Belle Isle as far west as â€śBrestâ€ť (present day Bonne EspĂ©rance Harbour) 40 kilometers west of Blanc-Sablon. Prior to approximately 1580 these were the principal areas of â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť, â€śTerra Novaâ€ť or the â€śNew Found Landâ€ť frequented by Basque mariners and by their counterparts from England, France, Spain and Portugal. The River and Gulf of Saint Lawrence, which were then much less often used by Basques and other Europeans, are not mentioned.
4 This transatlantic section is entitled â€śThere follow the routes, leagues, soundings, entrances and recognition of the ports of Terre Neufve that each and every pilot who sails upon the sea should know in order to protect himself from dangerous placesâ€ť and it cites close to 80 toponyms or place names for those coasts and their adjacent islands.8 The last two paragraphs are a â€śregiment for taking the height of the sun and of the north star for the Terres Neufvesâ€ť.9 The remaining 19 pages of the volume (115 to 133) consist of solar declination tables, related astronomical/navigational â€śregimentsâ€ť and a table of contents on the final page. From the details given in the pilot book it seems clear that it was written by a mariner-pilot with considerable first-hand knowledge of navigation in both European and northeastern North American waters.
5 Les voyages avantureux du capitaine Martin de Hoyarsabal was not, of course, the first published rutter containing information on how to sail along the coasts of Europe and on how to safely enter various ports. In that respect it resembles several other rutters printed earlier in the sixteenth or even late fifteenth centuries.10 One such book isÂ Le routier de la mer written by Pierre Garcie â€ścalled Ferrandeâ€ť in 1483/84, published in Rouen between 1502 and 1510, and eventually republished as the much more extensiveÂ Le grant routtier et pillotage et enseignement pour encrer tant es ports, havres, que aultres lieux de la mer (orÂ Le grant routtier et pillotage, et encrage de la mer) in Poitiers in 1520. The latter was the first pilot book to be illustrated with coastal elevations or outlines as seen from the sea in a total of 59 woodcuts. This remarkable work saw no less than 31 editions in Poitiers, Rouen and La Rochelle during the sixteenth and first half of the seventeenth century. These were the first sailing directions printed in French, while the first rutter printed in English,Â The Rutter of the See (London, 1528), was Robert Copland's translation of Garcie'sÂ Le routier de la mer.11
6 What givesÂ Les voyages avantureux du capitaine Martin de Hoyarsabal its considerable importance is that the portion of the book concerned with â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť is the earliest known detailed set of sailing directions for that part of the New World. This was indicated in 1904 by Charles de la RonciĂ¨re, who described the contents of the book which had only recently reached theÂ BibliothĂ¨que nationale, suggesting that it had been written in connection with the naming of TroĂŻlus du Mesgouez, Marquis de la Roche, as the first French viceroy for â€śles Terres Neufvesâ€ť or New France in 1577/1578.12 Until then it was thought that the first edition of the book was the 1632 Rouen edition and, as Selma Huxley (Barkham) has noted: â€śHoyarsabal's contribution would not have seemed that important, because the east coast of Newfoundland was much better known in 1632 than half a century earlierâ€ť.13 Even though the 1579 Hoyarsabal rutter with its significant section on â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť became known to scholars in 1904, for much of the twentieth century it was under-appreciated. Most researchers concerned with Canada's sixteenth-century history remained little familiar with the first edition of the pilot book and the man who wrote it.14
7 Twenty years before the publication of Hoyarsabal's book a few instructions for navigating off â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť had appeared in a type of rutter by the pilot and â€ścaptain very expert at seaâ€ť Jean Alfonse (long resident in La Rochelle):Â Les voyages avantureux du capitaine Ian Alfonce, sainctongeois, contenant les reigles et enseignemens nĂ©cessaires Ă la bonne et seure navigation, written around 1536 although only published posthumously in 1559.15 This is really more of a geographical description of the coastal regions of most of the world known to Europeans at that time. The sailing instructions for â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť which are given on folios 27 r. to 28 v. (barely four pages) are exceptionally limited and brief. In 1542/43 Alfonse served as the â€śexcellent pilotâ€ť to Roberval's expedition, in one of the first official French expeditions to Canada. The following year, in 1544, just prior to his death, Alfonse finished a manuscript rutter and cosmography calledÂ La Cosmographie avec l'espĂ¨re et rĂ©gime du soleil et du nord which remained unpublished for three and a half centuries until it was edited by Musset in 1904. In it Alfonse gave somewhat better sailing directions for â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť but these are still much less detailed than those in Hoyarsabal's rutter of 1579.16 For instance, Alfonse'sÂ Cosmographie includes only 26 or 27 place names in his description of the coasts and coastal waters from Cape Breton and the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon to Cape Race and from there northwards up Newfoundland's east coast to the Strait of Belle Isle, whereas there are close to 80 place names listed for the same areas in Hoyarsabal's rutter.Â Les voyages avantureux du capitaine Martin de Hoyarsabal is therefore the first detailed rutter for the â€śNew Found Landâ€ť. The extensive information provided was not improved upon until Captain Cook's work, two centuries later.
8 Although it had its limitations, Alfonse'sÂ Voyages avantureux met with considerable success among mariners, appearing in at least ten editions in Poitiers, La Rochelle, Rouen and Paris between 1559 and 1605.17 Hoyarsabal'sÂ Voyages avantureux also gained widespread acceptance and approval within the Basque and French maritime communities, as it was reprinted for almost a century after the first edition in 1579. It was re-edited in the original French a minimum of five times: at Rouen in 163218 (Figure 2), at Bordeaux in 1633 (it would seem at least twice)19 (Figure 3) and at La Rochelle in 1636 and 166920 (Figure 4). It superceded Alfonse's book and, above all, became the basic pilot book of French â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť mariners, including the cod fishermen and whalers of the French Basque coast. In 1677, a new edition of the Hoyarsabal book was published in Bayonne, this time in Basque, specifically for Basque mariners. It was translated and elaborated by the French Basque mariner and pilot, Pierre Detcheverry called â€śDorreâ€ť, from Saint-Jean-de-Luz. In 1689 the same Detcheverry drew a map of Newfoundland and Atlantic Canada (including the St. Lawrence River and Gulf areas) for the governor of Plaisance in Newfoundland.21Detcheverry's Basque edition of Hoyarsabal's rutter was the only publication of its kind in Basque (Figure 5).22
9 Detcheverry was evidently very familiar with Atlantic Canadian waters. Besides translating the book with small changes he added two new sections: one providing sailing directions for the south coast of Newfoundland from the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon to Cape Ray and for the west coast of the island from Cape Ray to the Strait of Belle Isle, and the other sailing directions from Cape Ray to PercĂ© Island, describing the coastline and harbours of the GaspĂ© Peninsula and Chaleur Bay.23 The south coast of Newfoundland west of Hermitage Bay and Bay d'Espoir all the way to Port aux Basques was considered dangerous for sailors and their ships, the other regions were areas in which cod fishing had developed and which were now more frequented by Basque ships than when Hoyarsabal's rutter was first published.
10 In 1536, when Cartier returned to Europe following his second voyage into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, he sailed along that dangerous western half of the south coast, and he reported that â€śalong the said coast we found several very dangerous islands and shoalsâ€ť.24 By the later 1500s that part of the coast became known to mariners and cartographers as â€śBergesâ€ť, â€śVergesâ€ť or â€śLes Viergesâ€ť (and other variants), a term derived in all likelihood from the early sixteenth-century Portuguese toponym â€śArchipelago of the Eleven Thousand Virginsâ€ť (â€śarĂ§epelleguo das honze mill virgeensâ€ť), a toponym that is a likely origin of the modern name of Burgeo.25 In the next century, Detcheverry himself echoed Cartier's description that the coast was dangerous for ships and navigation, writing in one of the sections he added to his 1677 Basque translation of the Hoyarsabal rutter:
Know that the coast between Saint Pierre and Cadarrai [Cape Ray], or that which is called Berges, is a bad stretch and there is nothing except hidden shoals, uncovered banks or small islands. You must also know that there are great currents of uncontrollable strength ... for this reason if the weather is not very good you should sail separated by at least two leagues from the coast.26On the map of Newfoundland and Atlantic Canada he drew in 1689, Detcheverry noted â€śthis whole coast is bad for at least one and a half leagues [offshore]â€ť.27
11 Detcheverry did not add any other routes that were also in use by then, such as those to the Saguenay or to Canso and Arishat, to his version of the Hoyarsabal book, and it can only be assumed that the GaspĂ© and west coast routes that he contributed were those that he knew best, or that he was describing, for the inexperienced, what he considered to be the routes most frequently used by Basque fishermen. Throughout the seventeenth century the west coast of Newfoundland was almost exclusively a fishing preserve of the Basques, who gave Basque names to the previously anonymous capes, bays, anchorages and other geographical features, many of which are recorded in Detcheverry's translation and on his map of 1689.28 In 1591 two large Spanish Basque whaling ships loaded with whale oil and baleen were wrecked in St. George's Bay on that coast, apparently coming from the Strait of Belle Isle or from the QuĂ©bec north shore and heading south to leave for Europe via the Cabot Strait.29
12 The next known specific reference to Basque presence on the west coast is for the voyage, in 1632, of the Spanish Basque shipÂ San Pedro, Antonio de Yturribalzaga captain. The ship and crew were heading for â€śLos Hornosâ€ť, now the anchorage between Lily and Nelly Islands and the mainland just east of the Pinware River on the north shore of the Strait of Belle Isle, to catch fish, seals and whales. Yturribalzaga did not head there via the Strait's Atlantic entrance, however, taking instead the Cabot Strait entrance into the Gulf and setting a course up the west coast. This seems to have been because the southerly route was free of ice earlier in the season than the northerly route into the Strait of Belle Isle. On 7 June theÂ San Pedro was anchored at â€śthe island of Saint Georgeâ€ť (â€śla ysla de San Jorgeâ€ť), now Red Island off Cape St. George and the Port au Port Peninsula, where the captain drew up the will of a dying sailor. About ten days later the seaman was buried at â€śFerrolâ€ť further north, now Old Ferrol Harbour at Plum Point.30
13 There is no sure evidence that Yturribalzaga's crew fished or sealed on the west coast in 1632 but certainly other Basque mariners began doing so, as their presence on that coast became consolidated.31 In the summer of 1675 two French warships,Â le Vigilant andÂ le Brillant, ordered to go to Newfoundland because of reports of Dutch plans to send several warships to seize French fishing vessels in those waters, circumnavigated the island in clockwise direction. In 1676, one of the officers ofÂ le Vigilant, the Sieur de Courcelle, drew a map of the island on which he wrote information about the shores and harbours they had visited as well as the number of fishing vessels they had found in ports from Cape Race around to Notre Dame Bay. Regarding the west coast, Courcelle noted the presence of eight ships: one â€śSpanishâ€ť ship was at Red Island, two ships were in Port au Port Bay, another two â€śSpanishâ€ť vessels were in the Bay of Islands, Port au Choix was defined as â€śa harbour where two Spanish ships goâ€ť, and one last vessel was at Ferrol (Old Ferrol Harbour). The five ships Courcelle called â€śSpanishâ€ť were almost without question Spanish Basque, as the others may well have been.32
14 In the 1690s a French memorandum about the state of their colonization efforts reported: â€śThe coast that runs from Cape Ray to the Island of Saint George [Red Island off the Port au Port Peninsula] is perfectly good ... and that is why the Basques carry out their fishery from that place all the way to the Grand Bay [Strait of Belle Isle]â€ť33. In 1694 the French officer, Lahontan, referred to â€śthe Spaniards who follow the same [cod] fishery at Portuchoua [Port au Choix]â€ť, these â€śSpaniardsâ€ť -- as in the case of the Courcelle map -- being undoubtedly Spanish Basques.34 Similarly, in 1714, the French Basque captain, Dehalldy, in his â€śInformationâ€ť about the west coast of Newfoundland which describes the coast, its harbours and fishing and trading activity there, reported the presence of only â€śBiscayersâ€ť or Basques and French (probably meaning French Basque) fishermen on that coast (with the exception of one Canadian planter or settler at Port au Choix).35 That the European presence on the west coast of Newfoundland during the entire seventeenth century was overwhelmingly Basque is further suggested by theÂ Plan GĂ©omĂ©trale de l'Isle de Terre-Neuve, a French map of Newfoundland drawn shortly after the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, on which as a fitting tribute to those pioneers of the west coast, that whole shore is specifically called the â€śCote des Basquesâ€ť or â€śThe Basque Coastâ€ť.36
15 While there is little reason to question the date of publication given on the title page of the first edition of the Hoyarsabal rutter (1579), it now seems certain that the typographic address on that title page (â€śAt Bourdeaux. From the press of Iean Chouinâ€ť) is false -- there having been no printer-publisher by the name of Jean Chouin in that city -- and that the book was in fact not printed and published in Bordeaux but in the port-city and Protestant stronghold of La Rochelle by the Protestant printer-publisher and propagandist Jean Portau.37 False typographic addresses were a relatively common practice at that time, particularly among Protestants wanting their books to avoid censorship and to be accepted by the catholic readership. Portau is known to have printed other works with false typographic addresses, such as books supposedly published in Bordeaux by the well known catholic printer-publisher Simon Millanges, while catholic publications were sometimes given Portau's typographic address so they would be read by the protestant public. EugĂ©nie Droz's comparison of the typographic characters used inÂ Les voyages avantureux du capitaine Martin de Hoyarsabal (1579) shows that it came from the press run by Portau, from which had or would come editions of two other widely circulated rutters. In 1576 Portau took over the press of La Rochelle's first printer, the protestant BarthĂ©lemy Berton, who had arrived there in 1562/63. Berton had died by late 1572 and between the time of his death and 1575 his establishment was run by his widow's second husband ThĂ©ophile Bouquet. Two editions of Garcie'sÂ Le grant routtier et pillotage, et encrage de la mer (1520) seem to have been published by Berton between 1562/63 and 1571, another was published by Portau in 1579, and they may have printed further editions. Alfonse'sÂ Les voyages avantureux du capitaine Ian Alfonce (1559) appeared twice at Portau's press, once between 1578 and 1582 and once after.38
16 Portau may have used a false typographic address in the case of the 1579 Hoyarsabal book for commercial reasons, in other words to facilitate the sale of the apparently new rutter in the many catholic ports of France from which by then numerous fishing ships were sailing to â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť, and whose masters and pilots would evidently have been attracted by the book's novel and detailed section dealing with the â€śNew Found Landâ€ť.39 Garcie'sÂ Le grant routtier et pillotage, et encrage de la mer, of which Portau published an edition with his own typographic address also in 1579, had already appeared at least 17 times in Poitiers, Rouen and La Rochelle but it did not have sailing directions for that or any other part of the New World.40 Alfonse'sÂ Les voyages avantureux du capitaine Ian Alfonce, of which Portau published two editions with his own typographic address after 1578, had appeared three times before in Poitiers and Rouen but as indicated above its sailing directions for â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť were minimal.41 Portau perhaps published the Hoyarsabal rutter because there was a demand for such a novelty. Commercial connections may also have played a role. Hoyarsabal did business in La Rochelle and had the backing of some of the city's merchants. A few years earlier, several respected protestant merchants of La Rochelle financially supported the operation of BarthĂ©lemy Berton's printing shop on the condition that they might order the publication of books they liked and set the number of copies to be printed.42
17 In spite of the significance ofÂ Les voyages avantureux du capitaine Martin de Hoyarsabal almost nothing is known about the identity and maritime activities of the book's author, the French Basque captain mentioned in the title, partly because of the loss of most French Basque parish and notarial records of the sixteenth century. For example, the earliest surviving parish records of Hoyarsabal's home town, the port of Ciboure, which would have helped reconstruct his family history, date only to 1637.43 The aim of this paper is to help fill this lacuna through an analysis of several unpublished notarial documents from the 1570s, 1580s and 1590s that I have come upon during the past two decades, in the archives of the notarial records of the Spanish Basque province of Gipuzkoa (Archivo HistĂłrico de Protocolos de Gipuzkoa, OĂ±ate), in the archives of theÂ DiputaciĂłn Foral of the adjacent Spanish Basque province of Bizkaia (Archivo Foral de Bizkaia) and in the notarial records of La Rochelle housed in theÂ Archives dĂ©partementales de la Charente-Maritime in La Rochelle.
18 In 1904 Charles de la RonciĂ¨re wrote thatÂ Les voyages avantureux du capitaine Martin de Hoyarsabal (1579) was a copy or an imitation ofÂ Les voyages avantureux du capitaine Ian Alfonce (1559), a statement that was repeated in 1912 by J. Vinson.44 But that is clearly not the case; as Huxley (Barkham) noted, â€śapart from the title and subtitle, Hoyarsabal and his publisher did not pirate anything from Alfonse's bookâ€ť.45 Hoyarsabal'sÂ Voyages avantureux is much more a true pilot book than Alfonse'sÂ Voyages avantureux. The fact that Hoyarsabal and his publisher borrowed the title of Alfonse's book almost exactly was, it seems, simply an attempt on their part to take advantage of the success of Alfonse's volume. This practice was not uncommon at the time for books dealing with the same or similar subjects. In 1912 Vinson even suggested that the captain Martin de Hoyarsabal of Ciboure might not have existed and that if he did he may not have been the author of the sailing directions: â€śif theÂ Voyages of 1579 are an imitation of those of 1559 it is possible to believe that the name Martin de Hoyarzabal is invented, or that if this captain really existed he did nothing but lend his name to a form of commercial speculation quite common at that timeâ€ť. Vinson at least acknowledged: â€śOne would have to research whether there is an HoyarĂ§abal house or family in Ciboure ..., and whether the old parish registers contain a trace of this Martinâ€ť.46
19 As Arcocha has indicated, neither Vinson (nor de la Ronciç±Ą before him) realized that a decade earlier, in 1902 and 1903, the Basque priest and historian, Pierre Haristoy, had published part of a document, apparently dating from 1600. This document confirms without a doubt that a pilot named Martin de Hoyarsabal did in fact live in Ciboure in the later 1500s, and, furthermore, that he wrote one or more pilot books, partly concerned with â€śles Terres Neufvesâ€ť, which were considered very useful by his contemporaries. The document relates to Ciboure's efforts to obtain its ownÂ commune or municipality, separate from that of Urrugne, a goal attained in 1603. The document mentions, among past notable achievements by Ciboure's inhabitants:
... one named master Martin Doyarsabal, pilot and native of this place [Ciboure], who made known many places to mariners, pilot books have been published thanks to which one navigates throughout all the Terres Neufves, Europe, Africa and the whole of the Levant. There are several in this very town who will testify to this, as they have sailed with these books, published by the King's permission at La Rochelle.47All the indications are that this pilot Martin de Hoyarsabal was the author of the 1579 rutterÂ Voyages avantureux that bears his name -- indications that include both the title of the book and the notice from the printer-publisher to the reader stressing the author's Basque origin.
20 More recently Laurier Turgeon and Evelyne Picot-Bermond have found in the notarial records of Bordeaux (housed in theÂ Archives dĂ©partementales de la Gironde in Bordeaux) a number of later sixteenth-century documents regarding a Martin de Hoyarsabal from Ciboure and other individuals with the same Basque surname or its variant spellings such as OyarĂ§aval, OiarĂ§abal, etc., who at the time were mariners, shipowners and merchants often involved in voyages to â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť. In 1565 the pilot Jehan Doyerceval was resident in San SebastiĂˇn, the principal port-city of the Spanish Basque province of Gipuzkoa. In 1575 Micheau de Hoyarsabal from Ciboure was master of the shipÂ Marie de Saint-Vincent; while in the 1570s and early 1580s the merchants Jehan and Marie Doyharsabal, brother and sister, were agents in San SebastiĂˇn for Bertrand de Harryet, a Bordeaux-based French Basque merchant-outfitter heavily engaged in the â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť trade.48 In 1580 a Martin de Hoyarsabal was co-owner of theÂ Marie de Saint-Vincent with his brother Micheau de Hoyarsabal, who as master of the vessel sailed it to â€śla grande baye de Terreneufveâ€ť (the Strait of Belle Isle and its immediate western extension into the Gulf of St. Lawrence) to the cod and whale fisheries and to trade with â€śthe savagesâ€ť.49 For much of the 1580s the same Micheau and his son PĂ©trissans continued to be involved in combined fishing, whaling and trading voyages to â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť and â€śCanadaâ€ť (meaning then most of the lowlands bordering the St. Lawrence estuary upriver from GaspĂ©). They used theÂ Marie de Saint-Vincent of 100 tons, probably still co-owned by his brother Martin, and at least one other small vessel.50 These expeditions by French Basque mariners and ships, among the first such commercial ventures by Europeans to â€śCanadaâ€ť, had the financial backing of merchants of both La Rochelle and Bordeaux. One of the Bordeaux documents refers to a Martin de Hoyarsabal from Ciboure who died in 1586 (or shortly before).51
21 Manuscript records dating from between 1578 and 1591 refer to not one but two inhabitants of Ciboure called Martin de Hoyarsabal, something that has gone unnoticed until now. These were both mariners or at least men closely connected with the maritime world in the later 1500s. Their signatures show that the two men knew how to read and write and therefore that they had received a certain level of education, as was common among Basque pilots and ship masters of that period.52 One was presumably the self-described â€śpilotâ€ť and writer of books of sailing directions, including the 1579 Hoyarsabal rutter. It is clear that some documents concern another separate individual not only because one Martin de Hoyarsabal is known to have died in 1586 (or shortly before) while the other one was still alive in 1591, but also because the handwriting style and spelling of their respective signatures are different. Which Hoyarsabal wrote the rutter remains unclear.53
22 I have found five signatures from 1578 and 1579 for one of them, whom I shall call Martin de Hoyarsabal I. He signed â€śMartyn de Hoyarsabalâ€ť (often underlined) spelling Martin with a â€śyâ€ť and Hoyarsabal with an â€śhâ€ť, an â€śsâ€ť and a â€śbâ€ť (Figures 6 to 10). Unless there was a third contemporary Martin de Hoyarsabal from Ciboure active at that time, this was the Martin who died in 1586, or shortly before. The indications are that it was this Martin who was Micheau's brother, with whom he owned a ship that sailed to â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť in 1580. I have found two signatures for the second Martin, whom I will call Martin de Hoyarsabal II. He signed both â€śM. de Oyarsavalâ€ť (in 1583) and â€śMartin de OyarĂ§avalâ€ť (in 1591), spelling Martin with an â€śiâ€ť and Hoyarsabal without an â€śhâ€ť, with an â€śsâ€ť or a â€śĂ§â€ť and with a â€śvâ€ť instead of a â€śbâ€ť (Figures 11 and 12), and he was described as being the son of Johannis (in French) or Juanes (in Spanish).54
23 Martin de Hoyarsabal I (â€śMartyn de Hoyarsabalâ€ť) is mentioned in documents concerning various events in 1578 and 1579. On 16 April 1578 in San SebastiĂˇn Martin and another Frenchman, merchant Guillaume Fremont from the town of Niort, 60 kilometers west-northwest of La Rochelle, bought 42 sacks of washed wool from Navarre from Joan Rogel â€śmerchantâ€ť of San SebastiĂˇn, on behalf of Juan de Sada a merchant of SangĂĽesa in southern Navarre, for the significant sum of 798 ducats.55 According to the sale contract, drawn up by the local notary Francisco de Aramburu, the two purchasers made a down payment of 20 ducats and agreed to come back to San SebastiĂˇn within the following 30 days to receive the sacks and to pay the total amount due. If they did not, Rogel could compel them to buy the wool or he could keep the down payment and sell the sacks to someone else. If they did return within the 30 days but Rogel failed to hand over the wool, Hoyarsabal and Fremont could buy the same amount and type of wool from some other supplier at Rogel's expense. Additionally, whichever party did not keep the agreement was bound to pay the other party 100 ducats (of which half was for the royal treasury) as well as damages and costs. The three men duly signed the contract but as the document preserved in the archives is a copy of the original made at the time it does not bear the original signatures.56
24 Fortunately for us, however, on 16 May, at the end of the alloted time, Hoyarsabal and Fremont had not taken delivery of nor paid for the sacks of wool. That day in San SebastiĂˇn, Rogel ceded all his rights contained within the sale contract to the owner of the wool, the merchant Sada, and by another legal instrument issued the same day the latter demanded that Hoyarsabal (who was present and was described as a â€śFrench merchantâ€ť) and his partner receive and pay for the goods otherwise he would exert his rights.57 To this Hoyarsabal replied: â€śthat tomorrow Saturday between seven and eight o'clock in the morning he would go to the said warehouse and would visit the said sacks of wool, and that he was not giving any other answerâ€ť.58 On Sunday 18 May the merchant Sada issued another document whereby he gave the two Frenchmen, both described as â€śmerchantsâ€ť, a 30-day extension to the sale contract, which they accepted. This original document contains the original signatures of all three men and, as can be seen in Figure 6, Hoyarsabal signed â€śMartyn de Hoyarsabalâ€ť.59 Nine and a half weeks later, on 24 July 1578, this Martin was to be found in La Rochelle. There he chartered a small vessel, theÂ TrinitĂ© of Bilbao, Francisco de Marcayda master, on which he loaded a mixed cargo of tar, woad, combs, paper, cloth and other items belonging to him and to two other merchants, one of them MartĂn de Lasso of Bilbao, for delivery to that port, the principal port-city of the Spanish Basque province of Bizkaia. Both Marcayda and Hoyarsabal signed the charter-party, done before the notary BounynÂ pĂ¨re (Figure 7).60
25 In 1579 Martin de Hoyarsabal I is linked with events that reveal far more about his identity and activities. In the spring of that year, two well-known merchants Juan GarcĂa de Urrupain and AndrĂ©s de Yturbe from the inland Spanish Basque towns of Eibar (Gipuzkoa) and Elorrio (Bizkaia) respectively, who were among the many Spanish Basque producers and exporters of iron bars and other manufactures (harquebuses, anvils, horseshoes, barrel hoops, etc.), loaded a small ship, theÂ Nuestra SeĂ±ora de Yciar of Deva (Gipuzkoa), with a mixed cargo of iron products for Seville.61 During the voyage the vessel was seized by â€śarmed corsairsâ€ť. These were apparently French protestant corsairs, as the merchants eventually heard that theÂ Nuestra SeĂ±ora de Yciar had been taken to â€śAguillonâ€ť (presumably the cove Anse de l'Aiguillon 15 kilometers north of the French protestant stronghold of La Rochelle) or to â€śother parts of the kingdom of Franceâ€ť. Attacks on Spanish ships by protestant corsairs based in La Rochelle had become common since the late 1560s, when the port-city became the haven of many Huguenot privateers.62Signatures
Figure 6Martin de Hoyarsabal I in San SebastiĂˇn, 1578. Archivo HistoricĂł de Protocolos de Gipuzkoa-OĂ±ate, partido de Vergara, 2594, 47v.
Figure 7Martin de Hoyarsabal I in La Rochelle, 1578. Conseil GĂ©nĂ©ral de la Charente-Maritime, Archives dĂ©partementales, 3 E 2033, 141v-142r.
Figure 8Martin de Hoyarsabal I in Bilbao, 1579. Archivo Foral de Bizkaia, Corregimiento, 1157/90.
Figure 9Martin de Hoyarsabal I in La Rochelle, 1579. Conseil GĂ©nĂ©ral de la Charente-Maritime, Archives dĂ©partementales, 3 E 2033, 340v-341r.
Figure 10Martin de Hoyarsabal I in La Rochelle, 1579. Conseil GĂ©nĂ©ral de la Charente-Maritime, Archives dĂ©partementales, 3 E 2033, 341r-341v.
Figure 11Martin de Hoyarsabal I in La Rochelle, 1583. Conseil GĂ©nĂ©ral de la Charente-Maritime, Archives dĂ©partementales, 3 E 2154, 60r-60v.
Figure 12Martin de Hoyarsabal I in Bilbao, 1591. Archivo Foral de Bizkaia, Corregimiento, 87/276.
26 Having received news of this set-back, the two merchants decided to attempt to recover the ship and its cargo, and by means of a notarial contract drawn up in Bilbao, apparently in mid-1579 by a local notary, Lope GarcĂa de MeĂ±aca, they hired Martin de Hoyarsabal â€śburgess of Ă‡ubiburu of the kingdom of Franceâ€ť to carry out the task â€śby his person or by others that he should think appropriateâ€ť.63 Hoyarsabal undertook to leave for France and â€śto make and put all the diligence possible within the following two monthsâ€ť to â€śreach and recover the said vessel and goods wherever they should be and are to be found in the said kingdom of France by his person and by others that he should think necessaryâ€ť.64 If he succeeded in doing this and in bringing theÂ Nuestra SeĂ±ora de Yciarand its cargo safely back to the vessel's home port of Deva, or to another Spanish Basque port, the two merchants agreed to pay him one third of the cargo after his costs and expenses had been deducted from the value of the vessel and its cargo. The document was signed by both parties, the two wealthy merchants and Hoyarsabal, who again signed â€śMartyn de Hoyarsabalâ€ť (Figure 8).
27 According to another notarial contract, drawn up at that time by the same notary of Bilbao, Lope GarcĂa de MeĂ±aca, the two merchants also hired a burgess of Bilbao, Santiago de Berri, to go â€śpersonally and in the company ofâ€ť Hoyarsabal â€śto the parts of La Rochelle and its district of the kingdom of Franceâ€ť.65 This agreement states that if the ship and its cargo or either one of them were brought back to the Spanish Basque coast the merchants would pay Berri 80 ducats â€śfor his costs and diligence and workâ€ť carried out alongside Hoyarsabal, but that if neither ship nor cargo were recovered Berri would only receive 24 ducats. It also stipulates that â€śin case it were necessary [to pay] ransom for the said shipâ€ť the merchants had given Berri a bill of exchange for the sum of 400 ducats, signed by the Bilbao merchant Pedro de Billareal and directed to â€śOliver de Consui, Sancho de [torn] and Jean Bobierâ€ť (evidently merchants resident in France) who would hand over the money so that Hoyarsabal and Berri could pay the ransom amount that they had settled on with the corsairs. If there was no ransom Berri was obliged to return the bill of exchange. This document was signed by Berri and by the two merchants.
28 Whether or not Hoyarsabal and Berri managed to recover theÂ Nuestra SeĂ±ora de Yciar and its cargo remains unknown but two notarial documents from La Rochelle, dated 26 December of the same year, 1579, confirm that Martin de Hoyarsabal I did travel to that French port-city and that he was present there on that day, several months after signing the agreement in Bilbao with the merchants Yturbe and Urrupain. Both December 1579 instruments were done before the previously mentioned notary BounynÂ pĂ¨re who drew up the July 1578 charter-party for Hoyarsabal. With the first document, Hoyarsabal I made over the sum of 190 Ă©cus and 10 sols tournois to Claude Varin, merchant and â€śpairâ€ť (peer) of La Rochelle.66 By the second document, Hoyarsabal I and the same Varin ceded 22 tons of wheat to Guillaume Fremont, the same merchant from Niort, not far inland from La Rochelle, who in April 1578 had purchased the 42 sacks of wool in San SebastiĂˇn with Hoyarsabal.67 The two instruments bear the signatures of Varin and Hoyarsabal I -- whose signature â€śMartyn de Hoyarsabalâ€ť is essentially identical to that on the above three mansucripts (Figures 9 and 10) -- as well as those of the notary and two witnesses while the second one was also signed by Fremont.68 It was apparently this Martin who at that time co-owned theÂ Marie de Saint-Vincent with his brother Micheau who took the ship to â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť the following spring.
29 Martin de Hoyarsabal II (â€śMartin de Oyarsavalâ€ť) is referred to in five notarial contracts of 1583, 1584, 1589 and 1591 from La Rochelle and Bilbao. On 28 March 1583 in La Rochelle, before notary Naudin, Martin de Hoyarsabal, described as â€śmariner of the place of Sibourou, son and in the name of Johannis de Hoyarsabal, merchant of Sibourou, master and owner of the ship called theÂ Marie de Sibourouâ€ť, borrowed the sum of 33.33Â Ă©cus, in the form of monies and of two tons of wine, from Jehan de Piccassarry an important merchant of La Rochelle. The loan was to help fit out the ship for the voyage it was about to undertake to the â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť cod fishery and was to be repaid, upon the vessel's return, by father or son along with another 8.33Â Ă©cus, being the interest on the capital borrowed at 25 percent -- the usual rate then charged in La Rochelle and Bordeaux for such trans-Atlantic voyages. At that time in those ports and elsewhere loans for â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť were usually bottomry loans made â€śa la grosse aventureâ€ť (in French) or â€śa la gruesa venturaâ€ť (in Spanish). If the ship for which the money had been lent was lost, the lender lost his capital and the expected interest; if the ship returned safely to port, the borrower repaid the sum lent plus the interest. Martin signed this loan agreement in the abbreviated form â€śM. de Oyarsavalâ€ť (Figure 11) in the presence of the ship's â€śdespancierâ€ť or storekeeper, Johannis Decheberry, fellow inhabitant of Ciboure.69
30 Seven days earlier, on 21 March 1583, also before notary Naudin, Johannis de Hoyarsabal, described here as â€śmerchant mariner ... master and ownerâ€ť of theMarie de Sibourou of 160 tons, had borrowed a further 200Â Ă©cus, at the same interest rate of 25 percent, to fit out the ship from the same Piccassarry and from Leonard Sauvignon, â€śpairâ€ť and merchant of La Rochelle.70 Martin's father could not write and therefore acknowledged this bottomry loan with a mark.71
31 In La Rochelle a year later, on 7 and 14 April 1584, Johannis de Hoyarsabal, owner of the same ship theÂ Marie de Saint-Vincent of 160 tons, the master of which in this instance was his son Martin, took out two separate bottomry loans from local merchants Ă‰tienne de Harriette and Jehan de Belac for the vessel's forthcoming â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť cod fishing venture. Johannis signed both contracts with the same mark he made on the loan document of 21 March 1583.72 Saint Vincent was the patron saint of the parish of Ă‡ubiburu/Sibourou -- set up as separate from the parish of Saint-Vincent d'Urrugne in 1555 -- and ships from that port were often interchangeably calledÂ Marie de Sibourou andÂ Marie de Saint-Vincent.
32 The other two manuscripts in which Martin de Hoyarsabal II appears were written later in Bilbao. On 30 November 1589, a wealthy merchant of that port-city, MartĂn de Belarro, issued a power of attorney to MartĂn de Rulandro, an inhabitant of the port of SantoĂ±a 45 kilometers to the west, enabling him to collect 255 ducats owed to Belarro by Martin and Juan/Juanes de Hoyarsabal, â€śowners and master of the ship called theÂ Maria de Sant Bicenteâ€ť, by virtue of a promissory note they had issued in his favour.73 The merchant Belarro and his wife, DoĂ±a MarĂa Ruiz de Bergara, were regular lenders of money to Spanish and French Basque â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť shipowners and outfitters, the latter commonly taking out loans not only from merchants in La Rochelle and Bordeaux but also from moneylenders in San SebastiĂˇn and Bilbao as well as in smaller ports in between.74 The sum owed to Belarro by the Hoyarsabals almost certainly represented capital borrowed, plus the accrued interest which in Spanish promissory notes was included in the total amount due. This would have helped finance a previous fishing or whaling venture to â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť. In Bilbao at that time the bottomery interest was normally 27.5 percent for the return voyage Basque coast-â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť-Basque coast or 30 percent if the ship stopped over at La Rochelle or elsewhere to pick up supplies on the outward leg of the journey. The 255 ducats owed to Belarro was probably for a â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť loan of 200 ducats at 27.5 percent.75
33 This 1589 power of attorney evidently does not carry either Martin or Juan/Juanes de Hoyarsabal's signature, but it undoubtedly refers to the Martin and Juanes de Hoyarsabal mentioned in another instrument drawn up in Bilbao, by notary Lope GarcĂa de MeĂ±aca, a year and a quarter later. The document is an agreement between Martin de Hoyarsabal II, described as â€śburgess of Cubiburu master of the ship called theMaria de Sant Vicente of which his father Juanes de OiarĂ§abal is ownerâ€ť, and Domingo de Olascoaga, also from Ciboure, signed on 7 March 1591 before theÂ Fiel or President andÂ Consules of theÂ Consulado of Bilbao, the city's consortium of ship masters, sea captains and merchants, and commercial tribunal.76 Olascoaga was outfitter or charterer as well as captain of the Hoyarsabals' ship for the â€śTierranobaâ€ť whaling expedition from which they had both just returned, with Martin II sailing as master. Generally speaking, on Basque â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť voyages ships carried both a captain and a master. The captain, who was one of the charterers or their delegate, was in charge of the fishing or whaling aspect of the venture. The master, who was one of the ship's owners or their delegate, was responsible for the ship itself. According to the manuscript, Hoyarsabal and Olascoaga had begun a lawsuit soon after their arrival before those commercial judges over the voyage's financial accounts. But on that day they told theÂ Fiel andÂ Consules that they had agreed to put their differences in the hands of two â€śgood menâ€ť, also burgesses of Ciboure, who would pass a definitive judgement on the matter, which the litigants would abide by at the risk of a penalty of 500 ducats if they did not. Martin de Penoia was to act for Olascoaga while Martin Saez de Sarria would represent Martin de Hoyarsabal and his father (evidently not present), who Martin guaranteed would also fully abide by this agreement. At Hoyarsabal and Olascoaga's request, theÂ Fiel andÂ Consules confirmed the accord and required the two â€śgood menâ€ť to properly carry out the assignment. The document was signed by theÂ Fiel HortuĂ±o del Barco and theÂ Consules Antonio de Jugo and MartĂn de Ugazhormaeche, as well as by Olascoaga and Hoyarsabal - who signed â€śMartin de Oyarsavalâ€ť (Figure 12).
34 At present it is impossible to determine which of the two Martin de Hoyarsabals from Ciboure was the â€śpilotâ€ť and writer of books of sailing directions, including the 1579 Hoyarsabal rutter. Either could have been the pilot-author, given that the manuscript records reveal that both individuals had the formation and skills, as well as the contacts one would expect of such a maritime man.
35 The 1578 and 1579 documents concerning Martin de Hoyarsabal I show that he was a merchant and that he regularly travelled between La Rochelle, Bilbao and San SebastiĂˇn, in all of which he was known and did business. They also show he was in La Rochelle in 1579 -- precisely the place and timeÂ Les voyages avantureux du capitaine Martin de Hoyarsabal was first published. It appears to have been this Martin who was Micheau's brother and co-owner with him of the shipÂ Marie de Saint-Vincent, which the latter took to â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť in 1580 and subsequent years on combined fishing, whaling and trading expeditions. Furthermore, the manuscripts regarding Martin being hired in Bilbao by two Spanish Basques in 1579 to go â€śto the parts of La Rochelle and its districtâ€ť to negotiate the recovery of the capturedÂ Nuestra SeĂ±ora de Yciar, indicate that he was considered by these merchants to have the necessary contacts in that area and the requisite personal qualities and skills to be entrusted with this kind of relatively delicate task. At the same time, the manuscripts indicate that he was also a mariner, as he himself was apparently meant to sail the ship back to northern Spain. In several manuscripts he is called a â€śmerchantâ€ť but this does not necessarily mean that he was not a mariner as well: in one of the two 1583 â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť loan documents Johannis de Hoyarsabal is described as a â€śmerchantâ€ť and â€śmaster and ownerâ€ť of theMarie de Sibourou, whereas in the other one he is described as a â€śmerchant marinerâ€ť and â€śmaster and ownerâ€ť of the same vessel.
36 There is no evidence, so far, of Martin I having navigated as a ship's pilot or master in â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť waters nor of him having extensively navigated in Europe, which would have been a pre-requisite for writing the Hoyarsabal rutter. But it is probable that by 1580 he was at least 40 or 50 years old and perhaps considerably older: by the later 1570s he was well established as a merchant-entrepreneur; he died in 1586 or shortly before; and his brother Micheau had an adult son by then. During the sixteenth century, it was not unusual for men in Basque ports to sail as apprentice seamen, seamen, master mariners and pilots during their youth and middle age, and then give up an active life at sea to set themselves up on dry land as merchant-entrepreneurs investing in shipbuilding, shipowning, the fisheries and trade.77 It is therefore altogether possible that earlier in his career and prior to 1579 he had gained the sailing experience to compile one or more volumes of sailing directions.
37 As far as Martin de Hoyarsabal II is concerned, the documents of 1583, 1584, 1589 and 1591 prove that he was a mariner who from the first half of the 1580s until the early 1590s at least was familiar as a ship's master with the trans-Atlantic route to â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť. Even though familiar with those shores, there is, as yet, no confirmation of his having had first-hand knowledge of the European coasts covered by the Hoyarsabal book, other than those of the Bay of Biscay. He was in La Rochelle shortly after the rutter's publication there and, like his namesake, was well acquainted with ports between La Rochelle and Bilbao.
38 Although Martin de Hoyarsabal II could have been the pilot-author ofÂ Les voyages avantureux, evidence suggests that at the beginning of the 1580s he was still a relatively young man. In 1583, when he borrowed money in La Rochelle on his and his father's behalf for a â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť voyage by theÂ Marie de Sibourou, it was his father and not he who was named as master as well as owner of the ship. In 1584, although his father was still named as owner of the vessel, Martin was listed as its master for that year's fishing expedition, just as he was master of the same or anotherÂ Marie owned by his father (and perhaps in part by himself) on another â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť venture seven years later. This may indicate that in the early 1580s Martin de Hoyarsabal II was a young adult learning the art of navigation alongside his father and other mariners. If this was the case it would appear unlikely that prior to the publication of the Hoyarsabal rutter in 1579 he could have gained sufficient experience of sailing in Europe and northeastern North America to have been able to compile such a pilot book. This would leave Martin de Hoyarsabal I -- confirmed maritime negotiator of some standing, merchant-entrepreneur, and apparent shipowner with definite â€śTerre Neufveâ€ť connections -- as the pilot-author of the first real rutter for Atlantic Canada.
39 Further research may well resolve this question. For the time being, though, we can only conclude that whichever of the two men wroteÂ Les voyages avantureux du capitaine Martin de Hoyarsabal, he is revealed -- as suggested by the very quality of his rutter -- as a good example of the active and expert Basque maritime entrepreneur of the second half of the sixteenth century, who had good contacts in many ports of western Europe and who could sail frequently and with ease in the waters of both the Old and New Worlds.78
The author wishes to thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Association of Commonwealth Universities (London) and the Welford-Thompson fund (Emmanuel College, Cambridge) for support of his doctoral research and the SSHRCC and the Institute of Social and Economic Research at Memorial University of Newfoundland for support of his post-doctoral research, in the course of which he came upon the present documents. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the conferenceÂ JournĂ©es d'anthropologie de la pĂŞche et de la mer en Pays Basque (Eusko Ikaskuntza/SociĂ©tĂ© d'Ă‰tudes Basques), Saint-Jean-de-Luz (France), 11-12 May 2000.