I looked into some of the stories you have cited. For me, I "stumbled"
quite randomly to a book Northern Mists, by a well-known US academic
geographer, Carl Sauer. In fact, I was studying geography at the time at
the University of Texas. A student of Carl Sauer, professor Robin


was present to help explain the book. Finding the book was odd, because
I picked it up at random from literally hundreds of thousands of books
in the PCL library at the University of Texas and open the book to pages
on the Name. That led me to dig deeper. In the Harry Ransom center of
the University, where they store such artifacts as a Guetenberg bible, I
found a microfiche that described sailors having testified to finding
the island of Brasil to the Irish Congress around the 1640s. The claimed
they could not find their way back however. People they picked up from
this island, they call O'Brasil. That was in the testimony. This
microfiche can only be viewed on premises however and I do not have
access to these notes. However, I have access to the text I typed in
from this very informal geography book...

Coincidently, even though my name, Francisco comes from my mother's side
of the family, which is Hispanic, there was a "Francisco Brazile",
last and first name spelled identicle to my name, registered in 
Tuscalusca, Alabama in the 1860 census, if I do recall correctly.  
Quite bizarre.


Frank Brazile         | Internet: [email protected] 
Researcher            | University of Zurich, Geography Institute 
Generalization Group  | Winterthurerstr. 190 
number: 41 1 635 5255 | 8057 Zuerich, CH 

Taken from various chapters of Northern mists, by Sauer, C.
Double spaces represent  separation of chapters in book.

Perhaps because Bristol had a privileged position with regard  to
Ireland, the ancient Irish legend of the Isle of Brasil took root
there. Its quest from Bristol has been documented as far back  as reported as returning to an Irish port on  September  18,  having
been  driven back by storm without finding the island. On July 6, purpose  of  ``examining  and finding a certain island called the
isle of brasil. The ships belonged to a  partnership  of  Bristol
merchants.  It  is known by Bristol records that the ships sialed
and returned but not what they found. The chief participant,  one
Thomas  Croft,  was  given  exemption of duty on forty bushels of
salt loaded on each ship as not being merchandise but  for  ``the
intent  to  search  and  fynde  the  Isle of Brasil.'' This might
satisfy the customs record, but why so much salt unless it was to
be  used  as  Professor Quinn has surmised, for salting fish at a
western fishing ground  already  known  to  Bristol?  If  men  of
Bristol  had  discovered the great fishery off NewFoundLand, they
might not have advertised it in a public record...

sending two or more sips to go in search of Brasil,  which  would
place the beginnings of the search in 1491 or eariler...

from Bristol to American shores? By the quantity  of  salt  taken
west   from   Bristol   in  4181,  the  conjecture  is  that  the
congregation of cod along the American shores was known then  and
that they were being taken there.

In medieval Christian tradition the  lost  Paradise  lay  in  the
farthest  East.  In older classical lore the Fortunate Islands or
blessed lands were in the western oceans. The  Celtic  Otherworld
also  lay in to the west. Cardinal directions have deep reiligous
significance, differing by particular culture.   The  premise  is
offered  the  Irish pre-Christian mysticism looked to the west as
the promised land or other world, and that  this  direction  held
into Christian time.

The Atlantic Ocean of the Middle Ages  was  thought  strewn  with
islands,  some imagined as places of perfect nature and as abodes
of the blessed, either spirits or living persons.  The  legendary
islands  acquired  widely known names when cartographers began to
transfer stories of the sea to their maps.  From  the  thirteenth
century  on,  island names appeared on maps in increasing numbers
and in changing locations, to the distress of  modern  historians
of cartography.

Other than the Fortunate Islands, which were the dimly remembered
reality  of  the  Canary  Islands, the oldest and most persistent
island names on maps derive from Celtic  sources.  Insofar  as  I
know the oldest of these is Yma, the isl of the blessed nameed in
the life of St. Machutus, which St. Brendan and St. Male set  out
to  find.  In  various  spellings the name appears on maps of the
fourteenth century and through the fifteenth, by  which  time  it
had become one of the Antilles.

Honorius of Autun in his De Imagine  Mundi  (ca.1130)  added  the
island  Perdita:   ``There  lies  in the Ocean an island which is
called the Lost(Perdita); in charm and all kinds of fertility  it
far  surpasses  every  other land, but is unknown to men. Now and
again it may be found by chance; but if  one  seeks  for  it,  it
cannot  be found and therefore is called 'the Lost.' Men say that
it was this island that Brandanus  came  to.''  The  Ebstorf  Map
(1207?)  entered  an  Insula perdita, with the Latin inscription,
``This is the island found by Saint Brendan, and after he  sailed
for  it,  never after has it been found by any man.'' BY 1300 the
Hereford Map stated that Fortunate Islands, six  in  number,  are
the  islands  of  St.  Brendan.''  This map maker interpreted St.
Brendan's alleged  discovery  as  identical  with  the  Fortunate
Islands of antiquity, the Canaries.

These early map  makers  were  wholly  ignorant  of  geographical
position.  The  tale of voyaging of St. Brendan first passed into
chronicle and map in western Europe and later  was  taken  up  by
Italian  and  Catalan  cartographers.  Celtic  legends provided a
major part of the concept of  the  western  oceans  until  Prince
Henry  introduced  recorded  exploration.  As late as 1492 Martin
Behaim placed St. Brendan's Isle on his globe  in  midocean  near
the  the  equator  with the inscription ``in the year 565 A.D. S.
Brandon came in his ship to this  island.  He  saw  many  marvels
there  and  after  seven  years left again for his own country.''
Benhaim is remembered mainly for the terrestrial  globe  he  made
before the discovery of Columbus, the only such that has survived
from that century; his knowledge was a good deal less  than  that
of his time.

The most persistent of the legendary islands was that os  Brasil,
which  had  a  separate and migratory existence on maps and later
became confused with a name of different origin and meaning. E.T.
Hamy  showed  in  1887  that  Brasil was from the Gaelic term for
fortunate or blessed (breas-ail, hy-breasail, o'brasil, etc.) The
vernacular  Irish name for the isle of the blessed is first shown
cartographically on the Italian Dalorto map of 1325, as lying  to
the  west  of Ireland. Thereafter it appears on many maps, Itialn
and Catalan, continuing well into the fifteenth century.  On  the
Pizigani map (1367) it was places far west in the Atlantic in the
latitude of Brittany. On the Phillipps Chart (1424) it  is  shown
as  a  large  disk to the west of Ireland and in the same form on
the Pareto map (1455), the latter having also an  island  of  Mam
(Yma?)  to  the  south,  in  the form of a crescent. -See Armondo
Cortesao for refer.

The earilier locations  of  Brasil  are  in  the  ocean  west  of
Ireland.  this  tradition seems to derive from the voyages of St.
Brendan and St. MAlo and was kept alive in folk memory.  In  1480
Bristol,  as  previously noted, sent out one Thloyde (Lloyd), the
most `knowledgable seamen  of  the  whole  of  England''  to  the
``Island  of  Brasylle''  to the west of Ireland. A Welsh mariner
who had the knowledge to sail  west  to  the  Island  of  Brasil?
Another  expedition  was  sent out the following year to find the
``isle of Brasil,'' and apparently succeeded,  as  related  under
the  Bristol  voyages.  Brasil  of the Celtic tradition became in
fact the new found land, which neither proves nor  disproves  how
far  the voyages attributed to St. Brendan got. The tradition was
so strong that many centuried  later  voyages  from  bristol  set
their  course  west  across  the  Atlantic  toward  its  supposed
location. -9

        9.  The  island  existed  in  the  mind  of  the  British
Admiralty  into the latter         nineteenth century (1873?). An made ``under the superintendence of the Society for the Diffusion
of         Useful Knowledge,'' has a``Brazil Rock High''  in  the
deep ocean about 250         miles west of Tralee.

 Late in the fourteenth century map  malers  began  to  place  an
island  Brasil i a different location, guessed at as representing
the Azores and even the  Canaries.  The  maps  were  Italian  and
Cataln,  made  in  remote  reception  of  Atlantic  knowledge and
surmise and still ignorant of geographic  position.   Speculation
as  to the identity of this island has proposed a derivation from
a  rootword  ``bras,''  flame-colored,  as  in  brazilwood.  This
dyewood was an item of medieval trade from the Far East but it is
not native to islands  of the Eastern Atlantic. It was  therefore
suggested  that   the  inferred dyewood-island name was applied to
islands providing a  less  vivid  dye  from  lichens.  This  dye,
however,  has a name that was familiar at the time, archil in its
English form, orseille in French, orchilla in Spanish, and so on.
The substitution of brasil for its unlikely, aside from the doubt
that the Azores or Madeira were then known. One  might  speculate
that  a  place  had  been  discovered thus early where brazilwood
grew. This would have been in the West Indies or  South  America,
which is about improbable as the lichen attribution.

The preferable option seems to be that  the  Gaelic  name  brasil
wandered south in the Atlantic by misinformation of Mediterranean
map makers, perhaps by misinterpretation of the Navigation of St.
Brendan or of another Gaelic seafarer such as St. Malo.

The legendary Gaelic isle of the blessed, Brasil, had nothing  to
do with the naming of the South American country, which was known
as Santa Cruz until 1507, when  it  was  given  the  name  Brazil
because  of  its wealth of that dyewood.  What facts of discovery
may be contained in the legendary voyages of St.  Brendan  remain

The promised land of Irish tradition lay in  the  western  ocean,
and  passed  into  Christian  mythology  with  St. Brendan as the
legendary seafarer. The Irish were indeed the first nation of the
Middle  Ages to go out onto the high Atlantic.  Shortly the mists
of legend gave way to historical fact.

However illegible the facts are in  the  Irish  sea  legend,  the
Irish  looked to the sea for adventure and discovery in praise of
God, not in fear of mishap and danger nor for gain. A  persistent
theme is that the land of the blessed, called the Isle of Brasil,
lay in the ocean to the west. St. Brendan whose legend  tells  of
years  of  romantic  sailing, was a real abbot of known parts who
did go to the sea...

Seven Cities, both to be  the  object  of  search.  Thus  men  of
Bristol  found  the  prime cod fishing grounds on Canadian shores
and perhaps learned to appreciate  the  fine  pelts  the  Indians
Thanks Frank the
Contribution is appreciated 
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