1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Malocello, Lanciloto

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MALOCELLO, LANCILOTO (“Lanzarote, the ‘Lancelot Maloisiel’ of the French”), leader of the first of modern European oceanic enterprises. This was a Genoese expedition, which about 1270 seems to have sailed into the Atlantic, re-discovered the “Fortunate Islands” or Canaries, and made something of a conquest and settlement in one of the most northerly isles of this archipelago, still known (after the Italian captain) as Lanzarote. According to a Spanish authority of about 1345, the anonymous Franciscan’s Conosçimiento de todos los reinos, “Lancarote” was killed by the Canarian natives; but the castle built by him was standing in 1402–1404, when it was utilized for the storage of grain by the French conquerors under Gadifer de la Salle. To Malocello’s enterprise, moreover, it is probable that Petrarch (born 1304) alludes when he tells how, within the memory of his parents, an armed fleet of Genoese penetrated to the “Fortunatae”; this passage some would refer, without sufficient authority, to the expedition of 1291. Malocello’s name and nationality are certainly preserved by those early Portolani or scientific charts (such as the “Dulcert” of 1339 and the “Laurentian Portolano” of 1351), in which the African islands appear, for the first time in history, in clear and recognizable form. Thus Dulcert reads Insula de Lanzarotus and Marocelus, the Laurentian map I. de Lanzarote, against Lanzarote Island, which is well depicted on both designs, and marked with the cross of Genoa. The Conosçimiento (as noticed above) explicitly derives the island-name from the Genoese commander who perished here. Malocello’s enterprise not only marks the beginning of the oversea expansion of western Europe in exploration, conquest and colonization (after the age of Scandinavian world-roving had passed); it is also probably not unconnected with the great Genoese venture of 1291 (in search of a waterway to India, which soon follows), with which this attempt at Canarian discovery and dominion has been by some unjustifiably identified.

See the Conosçimiento, p. 100, as edited by Marcos Jimenez de la Espada in the Boletin de la sociedad geográfica de Madrid, (February 1877); Le Canarien in P. Margry, Conquête des . . . Canaries, p. 177; M. A. P. d’Avezac in vol. vi., part ii., of L’Univers, pp. 1–41 (Îles africaines de l’océan atlantique); C. R. Beazley, Dawn of Modern Geography, iii. 411–413, 449, 451.