The Expedition

>>>Searching for a beautiful fragment of history.

Origins: a chance encounter.

In 1602, an English expedition led by Bartholomew Gosnold reached the coast of what we now know as the United States of America. Gosnold was the first English explorer to reach the coast of Maine. His chroniclers described this first encounter with the local indigenous people: they were sailing in a Basque chalupa vessel, dressed in European clothing, and they mentioned that men from San Juan de Luz had been fishing in the surrounding area. They also explained that they came from Placentia. Gosnold understood this to mean “Placentia of Newfoundland”, the well-known Basque settlement located at the south of Terranova. This was extremely far from the coast of Maine.

Centuries later, Xabier Agote, a maritime researcher, looked into the details of this encounter. He doubted that Native Americans had travelled from Canadian Placentia – over 700 miles away – in such a vessel. He began to look into the evidence and discovered that near to this meeting point there was a small uninhabited island, also known as Placentia. After sharing his impressions with local historians and archaeologists, Agote came to suspect that in this place, whose very name was so strongly resonant with Basque fishermen, Native Americans could indeed have coexisted with these men.

In summer 2016, Xabier Agote led a multidisciplinary exhibition to the island to search for evidence of this encounter.