Frederic W. Lucas (July 20, 1842 - May 13,1932) was a British solicitor and author. Born in Surrey, he was schooled at Brighton College, went to Cambridge, and became a solicitor in London where he worked in a family firm. Lucas was by discipline a historian of early exploration and an Americanist. While it is not known how disciplined a collector of maps he may have been - by family accounts he collected everything - his approach to the comparative study of maps appears to have been unmatched, and greatly aided by recent developments in the photography and printing, allowing him access to works of the greatest rarity that would previously have required years of travel to scrutinize. He published three books pertinent to the study of early maps, particularly of the Americas. The first represented a study of a 1763 map of North America etched on a powder horn. It is his 1898 book, however, which should excite the interest of every map enthusiast: The Annals of the Voyages of the Brothers Nicolo and Antonio Zeno in the North Atlantic about the end of the Fourteenth Century and the Claim founded thereon to a Venetian Discovery of America: A Criticism and an Indictment. The book represents the systematic and gleeful destruction of centuries’ worth of arguments on behalf of the 1558 map and book of Venetian politician Nicolo Zeno the Younger, revealing the account to not be in error but to be a deliberate fraud. With particular care Lucas dismantled the arguments of Richard Henry Major (October 3, 1818 – June 25, 1891) curated the map collection of the British Museum from 1844 until his retirement in 1880 and whose book on the subject of the Zeno Brothers proposed not only that their voyages were genuine, but that they actually supported the idea that America was in visited by Henry Sinclair, Earl of Orkney. Lucas’ book carefully compared the information presented on the Zeno map and found it to have been a pastiche of published maps and travelogues accessible to the 16th century Zeno. Unfortunately for posterity, Lucas’ book (the work after all of an enthusiast) fell out of print, while that of Major (curator of an illustrious museum and member of the Hakluyt Society) remained in continuous publication by that society, to the detriment of a century’s scholarship and permitting the spurious Sinclair narrative to fuel tinfoil hat conspiracy theories regarding the pre-Columbian establishment of Knights Templars in North America.

His third book, The new laws of the Indies for the good treatment and preservation of the Indians, promulgated by the emperor Charles the Fifth, 1542-1543 consisting of a facsimile reprint of the original Spanish laws on the treatment of Native Americans, together with a literal translation into English.

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