Late Medieval English gold coin discovered in Newfoundland

One never knows when an archaeological discovery will change the history books!

It’s certainly not from the period between 9,000 BC and 2,000 BC . . . which is the focus of this series of articles in The Americas Revealed . . . but is proof that “historical facts” can change overnight. In Part 12, we mentioned that Elizabethan Period historian, Richard Hakluyt, had claimed that English fishermen had re-discovered the Americas at least as early as the mid-1400s AD, perhaps in the 1300s.

Hakluyt also mentioned that peoples of the British Isles had a long tradition that another continent lay on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, whereas most Europeans to the south of England believed that the world ended somewhere out in the Atlantic. For two centuries, North American academicians had assumed that Hakluyt’s stories of early voyages to Americas from the British Isles were pure Elizabethan propaganda and so ignored that claim, plus many other things that he said about the New World.

You see . . . the same book that mentions the English fishermen in Newfoundland also told readers about the most advanced indigenous people north of Mexico . . . the real Apalache (or Apalache-te). Their capital was in the Apalachen Mountains. Their domain ran from southwest Virginia to southwest Georgia.

The “capital” towns visited in that region by the De Soto Expedition in 1540 AD were actually vassals of the Apalache. Hakluyt stated that the Spanish had kept their trade with Apalache a secret because the King of Spain did not want the other European nations to know that there were rich deposits of gold, copper and gems in the Apalachen Mountains.

Apalachen is the plural of Apalache and until the mid-1800s was solely the name of the mountains in Georgia. The Creek Indians called themselves Apalache or Palache until the late 1740s, when they switched to the coined word, Mvskoki (Muskogee).

Hakluyt told readers that one of the Apalache’s largest towns was built on the side of a mountain and called by the Spanish, Grand Copal, because the Maya priests of this town burned copal incense from the temple on top of the town, 24 hours a day.

Archaeologists call that archaeological site, the Track Rock Terrace Complex. Most of them go into a hissy fit, however, if you mention the word, “Maya” in the same sentence with “Track Rock.” They obviously have never heard of Richard Hakluyt, Queen Elizabeth’s favorite scholar.

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English coins minted before Columbus

In a press release last week, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador said that a late Medieval Period English gold coin in perfect condition was found during the summer of 2022 by Edward Hynes, a local amateur historian, who reported it to officials . . . as required under the province’s Historic Resources Act. The 600-year-old coin predates the first documented European contact with North America since the Vikings, in a region with a 9,000-year-old history of human settlement and rich Indigenous traditions.

After consultation with Paul Berry, a former curator of the Bank of Canada’s Currency Museum, the coin was identified as a Henry VI quarter noble, minted in London between 1422 and 1427. In the 1400s, the coin would have represented a significant sum of money, valued at 1 shilling 8 pence, or around 81 Canadian dollars ($61) today.

Prior to this discovery, a silver coin minted in the 1490s and found in 2021 at the province’s Cupids Cove Plantation Provincial Historic Site, was considered the oldest English coin ever found in Canada.

To learn more, go to the press release from the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador: 

https://www.gov.nl.ca/releases/2022/tcar/1109n05/

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