Madoc: The Making of a Myth
Three hundred years before Columbus, Madoc, son of Prince Owain Gwynedd, sailed to North America in order to settle there. Soon thereafter, he ... Show synopsis Three hundred years before Columbus, Madoc, son of Prince Owain Gwynedd, sailed to North America in order to settle there. Soon thereafter, he returned to Wales, leaving behind some of his people to colonize the newly discovered land. First reported by Dr. John Dee to Queen Elizabeth I and publicized as the official view in 1580 in order to justify the English raids on Spanish-controlled North America, this myth greatly influenced American and Welsh history. Though now largely discredited, it still maintains a presence, as seen by the construction in 1958 of a monumental plaque in Alabama that commemorates Madoc's landing. Gwyn Williams offers the first full-length analysis of the Madoc myth, including a full description of how and why the Elizabethans developed it. He explores, in depth, the "Madoc fever" that gripped both sides of the Atlantic in the 1790s, concentrating particularly on the rapid increase in Welsh immigrations to the United States that resulted from the rush to discover the lost tribe of white, Welsh-speaking Indians left behind by Madoc. This unique work of historical detection not only recovers the factual origins of strange stories and influential beliefs, but also investigates how myth can actually create and shape history.