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The so-called Drake's Plate of Brass is a forgery that purports to be the brass plaque that Francis Drake posted upon landing in Northern California in 1579. The hoax was successful for forty years, despite early doubts. After the plate came to public attention in 1936, historians immediately raised questions regarding the plate's wording, spelling, and manufacture. The hoax's perpetrators even tried to tip off the plate's finders as to its origins. But many presumed the plate to be real after an early metallurgical study concluded it was genuine. Then, in the late 1970s, scientists determined that the plate was a modern creation after it failed a battery of physical and chemical tests. Much of the mystery surrounding the plate continued until 2003, when historians finally advanced a theory about who created the plate and why, showing the plate to be a practical joke by local historians gone very awry. The plate was acquired by—and until 2005 was on display at—the Bancroft Library (Wikipedia page [1]) of the University of California, Berkeley [2].

More information on the Wikipedia page [3].

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