Sable Island


Sable Island
   Off the coast of Nova Scotia. It was known from about the beginning of the sixteenth century as Santa Cruz, and so appears on Reinel's map of 1505, and on the Cabot mappemonde of 1544. First appears under its present name on a map of Joannes Freire, dated 1546. Sir Humphrey Gilbert sailed for the island in 1583, and lost one of his ships among its treacherous shoals. He mentions that above thirty years before, the Portuguese had placed neat cattle and swine upon it to breed, and that these had multiplied exceedingly. In 1598 La Roche left fifty convicts upon the island, while he explored the coast, but his little ship was blown out to sea, and he returned to France without them. Five years later a ship was sent out to rescue the survivors, eleven in all. The earliest description of the island is in De Laet's Novus Orbis, 1633. It is at present twenty miles long, by about a mile wide, and is wasting away rapidly. At the end of the eighteenth century, it was forty miles long by two and a half wide; and when white men first visited the island, it must have been of quite a considerable size. Records exist of something over 187 wrecks, and this does not begin to represent the actual tribute in ships to this "Graveyard of the Atlantic."
   Bib.: Patterson, Sable Island: Its History and Phenomena(R. S. C., 1894); McDonald, Sable Island and Its Attendant Phenomena(N. S. Inst. of Science Trans., vi.); Taché, Les Sablons; Paul de Gazes, Ile de Sable (R. S. C., 1892).

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