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Introduc(k)tion

Welcome to Duckburg!


The city of Duckburg, Calisota is the home of world famous characters like $crooge McDuck (the richest duck in the world), Donald Duck (his nephew), Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck (Donald's three nephews who are playing an important role in the local boyscout-like organization The Junior Woodchucks), Daisy Duck (Donald's girlfriend), Grandma (Elvira) Duck (daughter of Clinton Coot, and Donald's grandmother on his father's side), Gladstone Gander (Donald's extremely lucky cousin), Gyro Gearloose (the famous inventor), The Beagle Boys (the bandits who keep trying to steal $crooge's fortune) and many more.

The face of Duckburg
Illustration 1 - Duckburg, ca. 1947.

Like every society whether it's a small village, a town, a city or a giant metropolis, the city of Duckburg, Calisota of course also has a past history. However, until the late 1980's only very little was actually known about the comprehensive and dramatic past of this famous city. Things changed remarkably when Don Rosa came along and started to give detailed hints (small and big) about central historic events which have taken place in Duckburg's past. Don Rosa's many references to Duckburgian history are the main source for the presentation in these pages. Also included are similar references and hints given by the old duck-master (and Don Rosa's source of inspiration); Carl Barks. The presentation of the years 1947-1967 is mostly based on Barks' stories from within that period.

From Burbank to Duckburg

The name Duckburg probably first occurred in October 1944 in the last panel of the Barks story (WDC 49) "High-wire Daredevils"/"The tight-wire Artist" where a sign along the railway says "Duckburg 2096 miles".

Sign mentioning Duckburg
Illustration 2 - The name Duckburg was first mentioned on a sign (October, 1944).

According to recent donaldistic research Duckburg is a medium sized American city with an estimated population of 250.000 - 350.000 people. It is a costal city located in the state of Calisota on the American western coast. Its known history goes back to June 1579 when English colonists and adventurers led by Sir Francis Drake and Malcolm McDuck, landed in the area and on behalf of queen Elisabeth I, took possession of the land - then named Nova Albion.

Please note:
European publishers (like Danish Egmont) often consider Mickey Mouse's hometown (Mouseton/Mouseville) and Duckburg to be the same city, and are thus using the same name - usually a direct translation of the name Duckburg (like Andeby, Ankeborg, Ankkalinna, Entenhausen, etc.) in both cases. In this presentation Duckburg refers to the American standards where Duckburg is the home of the ducks only (actually in Don Rosa's version of the Duck-universe Mickey Mouse and the rest of the mice are totally non-existing). This presentation also ignores several European attempts to locate Duckburg in Europe and thus making the city a lot older than the present American civilization.

The location of Duckburg

Map showing the coast at the Duckburg area Map showing Calisota
Illustrations 3 and 4 - The location of Duckburg.
Maps by Carl Barks (left) and Don Rosa (right).


As well as giving Duckburg a centuries long history, Don Rosa has also pin-pointed Duckburg's geographic location on the map. In his version of the Duck-universe Calisota, the state in where Duckburg is located, is equivalent to the northern third of California as we know it. Barks originally located Donald's home to Burbank in Los Angeles County in southern California as that's where Disney have their studios. Actually he kept locating the home of his ducks in whatever surroundings needed to make his stories work, and quickly gave Donald's home a winter climate unknown to the south of California (as in "Snow Fun", WDC 40, 1944). Soon after he named Donald's home Duckburg (WDC 49, 1944), and later, in panel 1 on page 26 of "The Gilded Man" (FC 422, 1952), he clearly located Duckburg in another state - the state of Calisota. Once Barks even showed a map of the Duckburgian coastline (WDC 155, 1953) in which the coastline, unlike most of the Californian coastline, clearly seems to be oriented directly north-southwards - just like in the northern parts of California, Oregon and the state of Washington. That coastline, including the Duckburg Bay, looks very much like the actual coastline of the actual city of Eureka in Humboldt County in the northern California. Don Rosa's map seems to be based on this old Barksian map.

About Fictional Fiction Carl Barks was never the same continuity-freak as is Don Rosa, so even though most of Barks' work is pretty much consistent, there still are some stories that don't fit well into the larger picture - like imaginative space adventures such as US 24a "The Twenty-four Carat Moon" (1959), US 29a "Island in the Sky" (1960) and US 53a "Interplanetary Postman" (1964). Don Rosa therefore sees this kind of stories as fictional tales even by Duckburg standards - so called fictional fiction. In Don Rosa's version of the Duck-universe there is no such thing as magic (Magica deSpell is a sorceress (an ordinary person with an extra-ordinary knowledge in sorcery) rather than a supernatural witch). $crooge's #1 dime is only special because it's $crooge's main symbol of inspiration - it's nothing like a magic luck-bringing amulet. Further there is no Santa Claus, and neither is there any science-fiction like Space-port in Rosa's version of Duckburg.

The organisation of the chapters

This presentation of the history of Duckburg is divided into nine chapters. These chapters follow the natural shifts of the times in Duckburg's history like Sir Francis Drake's discovery of the area in 1579, Cornelius Coot's takeover of Fort Drakeborough in 1818, $crooge McDuck's arrival to the town in 1902, his return to public life in 1947 and finally his death in 1967. Based on these central events, the history of Duckburg can be divided into the following five main phases:

1. Pre discovery (Until 1579).
2. An English/British settlement called Drake Borough (1579-1818). Chapter I-II.
3. The Coot era (1818-1902). Chapter II-IV.
4. The $crooge McDuck era (1902-1967). Chapter IV-VIII.
5. Post $crooge McDuck (After 1967). Chapter IX.

In most stories by Carl Barks and Don Rosa the present is set within the period 1947-1967. According to that, the nine chapters may be divided into the following three categories:

The past:
The present:
The future:
    Chapter I-V
Chapter VI-VIII
Chapter IX


Don Rosa on history in the Duck universe

As you will see from this presentation, Don Rosa has given Duckburg a history far beyond the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s when most of his and Carl Barks' stories take place. Some people may still think that basically, Barks' Duck universe is a world without a history. Don Rosa certainly disagrees to that certain point of view, and explains his view this way:

"Then how could Barks do stories or make constant references to $crooge's early days? How could I have constructed a 12 part series, 212 pages, out of those references if they did not exist? And that doesn't even mention the many, many other writers who have told stories about $crooge's (or Donald's) past, but I choose to ignore those...

There must be a history to a universe, even if no one is writing every story about that history. And I can think of no other comic character that reeks of having a past history more than $crooge, who has lived so many adventures in so many times, according to all the past Duck writers. That's one reason the character fascinates me! History doesn't cease to exist simply because every story does not deal with it."



Illustrations:


Ill 1: Duckburg:
Don Rosa:
Lo$, chapter XII,
page 2, panel 3.

Ill 2: "Duckburg"-sign:
Carl Barks:
High-wire Daredevils /
The tight-Wire Artist
,
page 10, panel 8.

Ill 3: Map by Carl Barks:
Carl Barks:
Scrooge tests for Heir /
Some Heir Over the Rainbow
,
page 8, panel 1.

Ill 4: Map by Don Rosa:
Don Rosa:
Lo$, Chapter X,
page 1, panel 1.

Text and layout ©1999-2007 by Sigvald Grøsfjeld Jr.

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