Bacalao (phantom island)

Bacalao, Bacallao, or Terra do Bacalhau was a phantom island depicted on several early 16th century Portuguese maps and nautical charts. The name first appears on a chart in 1508, but there are earlier accounts of Bacalao.[citation needed] The name is a variation of bacalhau, meaning "cod" or "stockfish".

According to Gaspar Frutuoso in his work Saudades da Terra, written in the 1570s, the Portuguese navigator João Vaz Corte-Real in 1472 was granted lands in the Azores by the king of Portugal, because of his discovery of the Terras do Bacalhau. Historians do not consider the work of Frutuoso as very reliable, as it contains a great deal of misinformation.[1] But, Bartolomé de las Casas also wrote about Portuguese voyages of discovery to Tierra de los Bacallao.[citation needed] There has been speculation that Corte-Real reached the Americas a couple of decades before Columbus.

Off the northeast tip of Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula is an island named Bacalaos, its name attested at least since 1556.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Diffie, Shafer, Winius, 1977, pp. 446–449


  • Diffie, Bailey Wallys; Shafer, Boyd C.; Winius, George Davison (1977), Foundations of the Portuguese Empire, 1415–1580, U of Minnesota Press, ISBN 9780816607822