Marin County Points of Interest

Drakes Beach at Point Reyes National Seashore

Nova Albion Marker at Point Reyes National Seashore

Nova Albion Marker at Point Reyes National Seashore
All Photos 1 May 2014
(Click Photos to Zoom)

Engraving of Sir Francis Drake
Public domain engraving courtesy
National Park Service

Nova Albion Map
Courtesy National Park Service

Nova Albion
Drakes Beach
Point Reyes
Year 1579

The marker reads:

Nova Albion

On June 17, 1579, Captain Francis Drake sailed his ship, Golden Hinde, into the Gulf of the Farallones and the bay that now bears his name. He sighted these white cliffs and named the land Nova Albion.

During his 36 day encampment in California, Drake repaired his ship, established contact with local Indians, explored inland, took on supplies and water, and claimed the region for Queen Elizabeth I.

The Golden Hinde set sail on July 25 and ventured into the unknown Pacific. Reaching Plymouth, England on September 26, 1560, after a voyage of two years and nine months, Drake became the first Englishman and expedition commander to circumnavigate the earth.

Drake’s exploits and claim encouraged England to colonize Roanoke in 1585, and Jamestown in 1607. Captain John Smith, in 1616, named the east coast New England, a reflection of Drake’s Nova Albion.

Sir Francis Drake Quadricentennial Committee
June 16, 1979

Sir Francis Drake was a privateer for Queen Elizabeth I.

He was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the earth.

He was a slave trader.

He is being canceled in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Sir Francis Drake Boulevard traverses Marin County from the San Francisco Bay in the east to Point Reyes in the west. Its length is forty-three miles and it passes through six jurisdictions: San Rafael, Larkspur, Ross, San Anselmo, Fairfax, unincorporated areas of Marin County.

In 2021, Fairfax renamed the stretch of road in its jurisdiction to Coastal Miwok Trail.

Also in 2021, San Anselmo renamed Sir Francis Drake High School to Archie Williams High School. Williams was a Black gold medalist in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He was a Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. He taught math and computer science at the high school for twenty-two years. The school also changed its mascot to the Falcons rather than the Pirates because of the association of piracy with Drake.

Also in 2021, the City of Larkspur removed a public statue of Drake.

In 2022, the owner of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco announced that the name be changed to The Beacon Grand.

Prev | Next
Marin County: List | Map
California: List | Map