Cultural Readings:

Main content

Cultural Readings:

Colonization & Print in the Americas

Cultural ReadingsCultural Readings

Cultural Readings

Curated by John Pollack
Web site text by Arthur Dunkelman, John Pollack, Michael T. Ryan, and Karim M. Tiro
Essays by Louise M. Burkhart, Sabine MacCormack, Michael T. Ryan, Daniel J. Slive, and Karim M. Tiro.

Books, manuscripts, and artifacts courtesy of the following institutions:
Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Penn Museum Library
The Rosenbach

Based on two exhibitions:
Cultural Readings: Spanish Representations of the New World, curated by Michael T. Ryan.
Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania Library, November 7, 1997-February 20, 1998
Words & Deeds: Natives, Europeans, and Writing in Eastern North America, 1500-1850," curated by Karim M. Tiro.
The Rosenbach Museum & Library, November 25, 1997-March 8, 1998

We are grateful for the support of:
Arthur Dunkelman, Administrative Director, the Jay I. Kislak Foundation
Michael T. Ryan, Director of Special Collections, University of Pennsylvania Library
Stephen K. Urice, Director, the Rosenbach Museum & Library
Jason A. Staloff, Curatorial Assistant, the Rosenbach Museum & Library
 

Introduction

Cultural ReadingsCultural Readings

 

Any account of the colonization of the Americas must acknowledge the prodigious number of texts which colonization generated. Cultural Readings presents a sample of those texts. The web site is grouped into six broad categories; it also includes scholarly essays on topics related to the exhibition and a brief bibliography and list of web links.

Most of the books, manuscripts, illustrations, and maps shown here were printed in Europe: produced by Europeans for Europeans. Europeans used the written and the printed word to call for colonization and promote its benefits; to depict native cultures in narrow ways familiar to European audiences; to proclaim the benefits of missionization; and to portray the lands of the New World as rich and ready for the taking. But the encounters between European and American populations changed both sides profoundly. These texts do not merely record the self-satisfied praise of the victors; they also betray the questions and doubts which victory brought with it. Even as Europeans destroyed and disrupted native cultures, many testify in writing to the survival, resistance, and strength of those cultures. Furthermore, as these documents attest, while Europeans attempted to "read" native cultures of the Americas, indigenous peoples sought to "read" Europeans, expressing their opinions and judgments in speeches, negotiations, religious gatherings, and in print.

Cultural Readings attempts to use the internet to review this complex history. The web site originates from two exhibitions of rare printed and manuscript materials held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the Fall and early Spring of 1997-1998. Cultural Readings: Spanish Representations of the New World, at the University of Pennsylvania's Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, displays colonial texts of New Spain from the Jay I. Kislak Foundation. Words and Deeds: Natives, Europeans, and Writing in Eastern North America, at the Rosenbach Museum & Library, features colonial materials relating to North America. These concurrent shows demonstrate colonization's impact upon indigenous peoples and Europeans from the 15th through the 19th centuries. Rather than attempting to duplicate the physical exhibits, the web site synthesizes and expands upon them. It should not only complement the exhibits, but also stand alone as a resource for scholars and teachers.

John Pollack
Rare Book & Manuscript Library
University of Pennsylvania Library

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

European narratives about the New World took on diverse forms, and appealed to broader audiences, as news of colonization spread. Accounts themselves were usually formulaic, confirming rather than disturbing readers' impressions of the Americas and of American peoples. Nevertheless, their popularity suggests another possibility: that what intrigued readers was the notion that cultural boundaries were not impermeable, and cultural differences not as sharp, as writers would have them appear.

History writing was an elite genre, and European courts charged their historians to record New World discoveries and conquests in detail. These accounts justify the beneficent part played by European national governments and cultures in their American empires. By the 18th century, intellectuals attempted to write the history of American indigenous cultures, using their monuments.

herrera
Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas,
Historia general de los hechos
de los Castellanos en las islas
i tierra firme del mar oceano...

Madrid: Imprenta Real, 1601-1615.
Larger view on display on the left

From the moment of their arrival in the New World, Europeans wrote histories of their encounters. By 1511, Peter Martyr d'Anghiera had organized Spanish imperial rule into "decades," focusing on the Americas. Like Columbus, Peter Martyr was a transplanted Italian who served the Spanish court. Charles V appointed him to write a history of the discovery and conquest of the New World, and between 1511 and 1530 he brought out his story in a series of publications which trumpeted the achievements of the Spanish Empire. He modeled his history on Livy's history of ancient Rome, organizing it into "decades" and presenting Columbus as a modern Aeneas. Martyr's chronicle was a long time in the making. He took advantage of his position to gain access to Columbus's narratives as well as to other documents reporting on events abroad. When Martyr's work did finally appear in print, it quickly became the principal way Europeans got their first glimpses of the New World.

Antonio de Herrera followed late in the 16th century with a massive history glorifying Spain's Providential colonial role. Before Herrera held the post of Cronista Mayor de las Indias, a lucrative royal appointment, he had written histories of Portugal, Mary Stuart, the Turks, and the Spanish in Flanders. His massive history of New Spain follows Roman models and focuses firmly on discoverers and conquerors rather than upon indigenous peoples. In it, the Spanish are guided at every turn by Providence, which singled them out for a special vocation to the peoples of the Indies.

Some of the most noteworthy histories were written as colonial projects began to crumble. As the fortunes of Spain declined in the mid-17th century, Antonio de Solís and Lucas Fernández imagined a glorious Spanish colonial past filled with epic battles and spiritual audacity.

Solís was educated at Salamanca and became a renowned poet and dramatist. His elevation by Marie-Anne of Austria to the position of Cronista Mayor turned him from poet to historian of the Indies. Styling himself a successor to Herrera, Solís's history is drama on a large scale: a modern epic in which heroes confront each other relentlessly in battle. More than his predecessors, Solís takes pains to portray the Aztec forces as worthy opponents for the valorous Cortés.

Fernández came from the new mestizo society which had evolved in New Spain by the 17th century. Born in Bogotŕ, he became a cleric was and eventually promoted to Bishop of Santa Marta. His history of New Grenada, today known as Columbia, was written in Spain while Fernández was defending himself before the Council of the Indies on charges brought by the local visitador. Fernández's history focuses on the twin "missions" of civilization and Christianization undertaken by the Spanish in the New World. For Fernández, the Indians are pagan idolaters, corrupted by the Devil, but whose idolatry conceals glimpses of the true faith of the Spaniards.

In New England, Puritans like William Hubbard, who viewed their colony in eschatological terms, turned to historical writing to justify their colony against critics. Hubbard produced his history of the Indian rebellion known as King Philip's War the year after the war ended. In proportion to population, this conflict still stands as the most fatal in American history, claiming nearly nine thousand lives out of eighty thousand residents (English and Native) in New England. Hubbard, a Puritan minister, makes sense of the war in providential terms, describing the Indians as diabolical "agents" sent to test Puritan resolve.

hubbard
William Hubbard,
The Present State of New-England. Being a Narrative of the
Troubles with the Indians in New-England...

London: Tho. Parkhurst, 1677.
charlevoix
Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix,
Histoire et description générale
de la Nouvelle France...

Paris: Didot, 1744.

The French Jesuit historian Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix created a grand narrative for New France, even as the English challenged the French in North America. Charlevoix's massive history was published in folio and quarto editions in 1744. It reviews the French colonization of the Americas, beginning with the arrival of Normand and Breton fishermen on the Grand Banks in the early 16th century, and contains extensive maps and descriptions of French possessions in Canada along with an epistolary history of the author's tour of North America. Fifteen years after this ambitious publication, French soldiers were defeated by the English on the Plains of Abraham, marking the end of "New France."

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

European narratives about the New World took on diverse forms, and appealed to broader audiences, as news of colonization spread. Accounts themselves were usually formulaic, confirming rather than disturbing readers' impressions of the Americas and of American peoples. Nevertheless, their popularity suggests another possibility: that what intrigued readers was the notion that cultural boundaries were not impermeable, and cultural differences not as sharp, as writers would have them appear.

History writing was an elite genre, and European courts charged their historians to record New World discoveries and conquests in detail. These accounts justify the beneficent part played by European national governments and cultures in their American empires. By the 18th century, intellectuals attempted to write the history of American indigenous cultures, using their monuments.

herrera
Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas,
Historia general de los hechos
de los Castellanos en las islas
i tierra firme del mar oceano...

Madrid: Imprenta Real, 1601-1615.
Larger view on display on the left

From the moment of their arrival in the New World, Europeans wrote histories of their encounters. By 1511, Peter Martyr d'Anghiera had organized Spanish imperial rule into "decades," focusing on the Americas. Like Columbus, Peter Martyr was a transplanted Italian who served the Spanish court. Charles V appointed him to write a history of the discovery and conquest of the New World, and between 1511 and 1530 he brought out his story in a series of publications which trumpeted the achievements of the Spanish Empire. He modeled his history on Livy's history of ancient Rome, organizing it into "decades" and presenting Columbus as a modern Aeneas. Martyr's chronicle was a long time in the making. He took advantage of his position to gain access to Columbus's narratives as well as to other documents reporting on events abroad. When Martyr's work did finally appear in print, it quickly became the principal way Europeans got their first glimpses of the New World.

Antonio de Herrera followed late in the 16th century with a massive history glorifying Spain's Providential colonial role. Before Herrera held the post of Cronista Mayor de las Indias, a lucrative royal appointment, he had written histories of Portugal, Mary Stuart, the Turks, and the Spanish in Flanders. His massive history of New Spain follows Roman models and focuses firmly on discoverers and conquerors rather than upon indigenous peoples. In it, the Spanish are guided at every turn by Providence, which singled them out for a special vocation to the peoples of the Indies.

Some of the most noteworthy histories were written as colonial projects began to crumble. As the fortunes of Spain declined in the mid-17th century, Antonio de Solís and Lucas Fernández imagined a glorious Spanish colonial past filled with epic battles and spiritual audacity.

Solís was educated at Salamanca and became a renowned poet and dramatist. His elevation by Marie-Anne of Austria to the position of Cronista Mayor turned him from poet to historian of the Indies. Styling himself a successor to Herrera, Solís's history is drama on a large scale: a modern epic in which heroes confront each other relentlessly in battle. More than his predecessors, Solís takes pains to portray the Aztec forces as worthy opponents for the valorous Cortés.

Fernández came from the new mestizo society which had evolved in New Spain by the 17th century. Born in Bogotŕ, he became a cleric was and eventually promoted to Bishop of Santa Marta. His history of New Grenada, today known as Columbia, was written in Spain while Fernández was defending himself before the Council of the Indies on charges brought by the local visitador. Fernández's history focuses on the twin "missions" of civilization and Christianization undertaken by the Spanish in the New World. For Fernández, the Indians are pagan idolaters, corrupted by the Devil, but whose idolatry conceals glimpses of the true faith of the Spaniards.

In New England, Puritans like William Hubbard, who viewed their colony in eschatological terms, turned to historical writing to justify their colony against critics. Hubbard produced his history of the Indian rebellion known as King Philip's War the year after the war ended. In proportion to population, this conflict still stands as the most fatal in American history, claiming nearly nine thousand lives out of eighty thousand residents (English and Native) in New England. Hubbard, a Puritan minister, makes sense of the war in providential terms, describing the Indians as diabolical "agents" sent to test Puritan resolve.

hubbard
William Hubbard,
The Present State of New-England. Being a Narrative of the
Troubles with the Indians in New-England...

London: Tho. Parkhurst, 1677.
charlevoix
Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix,
Histoire et description générale
de la Nouvelle France...

Paris: Didot, 1744.

The French Jesuit historian Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix created a grand narrative for New France, even as the English challenged the French in North America. Charlevoix's massive history was published in folio and quarto editions in 1744. It reviews the French colonization of the Americas, beginning with the arrival of Normand and Breton fishermen on the Grand Banks in the early 16th century, and contains extensive maps and descriptions of French possessions in Canada along with an epistolary history of the author's tour of North America. Fifteen years after this ambitious publication, French soldiers were defeated by the English on the Plains of Abraham, marking the end of "New France."

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

European narratives about the New World took on diverse forms, and appealed to broader audiences, as news of colonization spread. Accounts themselves were usually formulaic, confirming rather than disturbing readers' impressions of the Americas and of American peoples. Nevertheless, their popularity suggests another possibility: that what intrigued readers was the notion that cultural boundaries were not impermeable, and cultural differences not as sharp, as writers would have them appear.

History writing was an elite genre, and European courts charged their historians to record New World discoveries and conquests in detail. These accounts justify the beneficent part played by European national governments and cultures in their American empires. By the 18th century, intellectuals attempted to write the history of American indigenous cultures, using their monuments.

herrera
Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas,
Historia general de los hechos
de los Castellanos en las islas
i tierra firme del mar oceano...

Madrid: Imprenta Real, 1601-1615.
Larger view on display on the left

From the moment of their arrival in the New World, Europeans wrote histories of their encounters. By 1511, Peter Martyr d'Anghiera had organized Spanish imperial rule into "decades," focusing on the Americas. Like Columbus, Peter Martyr was a transplanted Italian who served the Spanish court. Charles V appointed him to write a history of the discovery and conquest of the New World, and between 1511 and 1530 he brought out his story in a series of publications which trumpeted the achievements of the Spanish Empire. He modeled his history on Livy's history of ancient Rome, organizing it into "decades" and presenting Columbus as a modern Aeneas. Martyr's chronicle was a long time in the making. He took advantage of his position to gain access to Columbus's narratives as well as to other documents reporting on events abroad. When Martyr's work did finally appear in print, it quickly became the principal way Europeans got their first glimpses of the New World.

Antonio de Herrera followed late in the 16th century with a massive history glorifying Spain's Providential colonial role. Before Herrera held the post of Cronista Mayor de las Indias, a lucrative royal appointment, he had written histories of Portugal, Mary Stuart, the Turks, and the Spanish in Flanders. His massive history of New Spain follows Roman models and focuses firmly on discoverers and conquerors rather than upon indigenous peoples. In it, the Spanish are guided at every turn by Providence, which singled them out for a special vocation to the peoples of the Indies.

Some of the most noteworthy histories were written as colonial projects began to crumble. As the fortunes of Spain declined in the mid-17th century, Antonio de Solís and Lucas Fernández imagined a glorious Spanish colonial past filled with epic battles and spiritual audacity.

Solís was educated at Salamanca and became a renowned poet and dramatist. His elevation by Marie-Anne of Austria to the position of Cronista Mayor turned him from poet to historian of the Indies. Styling himself a successor to Herrera, Solís's history is drama on a large scale: a modern epic in which heroes confront each other relentlessly in battle. More than his predecessors, Solís takes pains to portray the Aztec forces as worthy opponents for the valorous Cortés.

Fernández came from the new mestizo society which had evolved in New Spain by the 17th century. Born in Bogotŕ, he became a cleric was and eventually promoted to Bishop of Santa Marta. His history of New Grenada, today known as Columbia, was written in Spain while Fernández was defending himself before the Council of the Indies on charges brought by the local visitador. Fernández's history focuses on the twin "missions" of civilization and Christianization undertaken by the Spanish in the New World. For Fernández, the Indians are pagan idolaters, corrupted by the Devil, but whose idolatry conceals glimpses of the true faith of the Spaniards.

In New England, Puritans like William Hubbard, who viewed their colony in eschatological terms, turned to historical writing to justify their colony against critics. Hubbard produced his history of the Indian rebellion known as King Philip's War the year after the war ended. In proportion to population, this conflict still stands as the most fatal in American history, claiming nearly nine thousand lives out of eighty thousand residents (English and Native) in New England. Hubbard, a Puritan minister, makes sense of the war in providential terms, describing the Indians as diabolical "agents" sent to test Puritan resolve.

hubbard
William Hubbard,
The Present State of New-England. Being a Narrative of the
Troubles with the Indians in New-England...

London: Tho. Parkhurst, 1677.
charlevoix
Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix,
Histoire et description générale
de la Nouvelle France...

Paris: Didot, 1744.

The French Jesuit historian Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix created a grand narrative for New France, even as the English challenged the French in North America. Charlevoix's massive history was published in folio and quarto editions in 1744. It reviews the French colonization of the Americas, beginning with the arrival of Normand and Breton fishermen on the Grand Banks in the early 16th century, and contains extensive maps and descriptions of French possessions in Canada along with an epistolary history of the author's tour of North America. Fifteen years after this ambitious publication, French soldiers were defeated by the English on the Plains of Abraham, marking the end of "New France."

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

European narratives about the New World took on diverse forms, and appealed to broader audiences, as news of colonization spread. Accounts themselves were usually formulaic, confirming rather than disturbing readers' impressions of the Americas and of American peoples. Nevertheless, their popularity suggests another possibility: that what intrigued readers was the notion that cultural boundaries were not impermeable, and cultural differences not as sharp, as writers would have them appear.

History writing was an elite genre, and European courts charged their historians to record New World discoveries and conquests in detail. These accounts justify the beneficent part played by European national governments and cultures in their American empires. By the 18th century, intellectuals attempted to write the history of American indigenous cultures, using their monuments.

herrera
Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas,
Historia general de los hechos
de los Castellanos en las islas
i tierra firme del mar oceano...

Madrid: Imprenta Real, 1601-1615.
Larger view on display on the left

From the moment of their arrival in the New World, Europeans wrote histories of their encounters. By 1511, Peter Martyr d'Anghiera had organized Spanish imperial rule into "decades," focusing on the Americas. Like Columbus, Peter Martyr was a transplanted Italian who served the Spanish court. Charles V appointed him to write a history of the discovery and conquest of the New World, and between 1511 and 1530 he brought out his story in a series of publications which trumpeted the achievements of the Spanish Empire. He modeled his history on Livy's history of ancient Rome, organizing it into "decades" and presenting Columbus as a modern Aeneas. Martyr's chronicle was a long time in the making. He took advantage of his position to gain access to Columbus's narratives as well as to other documents reporting on events abroad. When Martyr's work did finally appear in print, it quickly became the principal way Europeans got their first glimpses of the New World.

Antonio de Herrera followed late in the 16th century with a massive history glorifying Spain's Providential colonial role. Before Herrera held the post of Cronista Mayor de las Indias, a lucrative royal appointment, he had written histories of Portugal, Mary Stuart, the Turks, and the Spanish in Flanders. His massive history of New Spain follows Roman models and focuses firmly on discoverers and conquerors rather than upon indigenous peoples. In it, the Spanish are guided at every turn by Providence, which singled them out for a special vocation to the peoples of the Indies.

Some of the most noteworthy histories were written as colonial projects began to crumble. As the fortunes of Spain declined in the mid-17th century, Antonio de Solís and Lucas Fernández imagined a glorious Spanish colonial past filled with epic battles and spiritual audacity.

Solís was educated at Salamanca and became a renowned poet and dramatist. His elevation by Marie-Anne of Austria to the position of Cronista Mayor turned him from poet to historian of the Indies. Styling himself a successor to Herrera, Solís's history is drama on a large scale: a modern epic in which heroes confront each other relentlessly in battle. More than his predecessors, Solís takes pains to portray the Aztec forces as worthy opponents for the valorous Cortés.

Fernández came from the new mestizo society which had evolved in New Spain by the 17th century. Born in Bogotŕ, he became a cleric was and eventually promoted to Bishop of Santa Marta. His history of New Grenada, today known as Columbia, was written in Spain while Fernández was defending himself before the Council of the Indies on charges brought by the local visitador. Fernández's history focuses on the twin "missions" of civilization and Christianization undertaken by the Spanish in the New World. For Fernández, the Indians are pagan idolaters, corrupted by the Devil, but whose idolatry conceals glimpses of the true faith of the Spaniards.

In New England, Puritans like William Hubbard, who viewed their colony in eschatological terms, turned to historical writing to justify their colony against critics. Hubbard produced his history of the Indian rebellion known as King Philip's War the year after the war ended. In proportion to population, this conflict still stands as the most fatal in American history, claiming nearly nine thousand lives out of eighty thousand residents (English and Native) in New England. Hubbard, a Puritan minister, makes sense of the war in providential terms, describing the Indians as diabolical "agents" sent to test Puritan resolve.

hubbard
William Hubbard,
The Present State of New-England. Being a Narrative of the
Troubles with the Indians in New-England...

London: Tho. Parkhurst, 1677.
charlevoix
Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix,
Histoire et description générale
de la Nouvelle France...

Paris: Didot, 1744.

The French Jesuit historian Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix created a grand narrative for New France, even as the English challenged the French in North America. Charlevoix's massive history was published in folio and quarto editions in 1744. It reviews the French colonization of the Americas, beginning with the arrival of Normand and Breton fishermen on the Grand Banks in the early 16th century, and contains extensive maps and descriptions of French possessions in Canada along with an epistolary history of the author's tour of North America. Fifteen years after this ambitious publication, French soldiers were defeated by the English on the Plains of Abraham, marking the end of "New France."

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

European narratives about the New World took on diverse forms, and appealed to broader audiences, as news of colonization spread. Accounts themselves were usually formulaic, confirming rather than disturbing readers' impressions of the Americas and of American peoples. Nevertheless, their popularity suggests another possibility: that what intrigued readers was the notion that cultural boundaries were not impermeable, and cultural differences not as sharp, as writers would have them appear.

History writing was an elite genre, and European courts charged their historians to record New World discoveries and conquests in detail. These accounts justify the beneficent part played by European national governments and cultures in their American empires. By the 18th century, intellectuals attempted to write the history of American indigenous cultures, using their monuments.

herrera
Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas,
Historia general de los hechos
de los Castellanos en las islas
i tierra firme del mar oceano...

Madrid: Imprenta Real, 1601-1615.
Larger view on display on the left

From the moment of their arrival in the New World, Europeans wrote histories of their encounters. By 1511, Peter Martyr d'Anghiera had organized Spanish imperial rule into "decades," focusing on the Americas. Like Columbus, Peter Martyr was a transplanted Italian who served the Spanish court. Charles V appointed him to write a history of the discovery and conquest of the New World, and between 1511 and 1530 he brought out his story in a series of publications which trumpeted the achievements of the Spanish Empire. He modeled his history on Livy's history of ancient Rome, organizing it into "decades" and presenting Columbus as a modern Aeneas. Martyr's chronicle was a long time in the making. He took advantage of his position to gain access to Columbus's narratives as well as to other documents reporting on events abroad. When Martyr's work did finally appear in print, it quickly became the principal way Europeans got their first glimpses of the New World.

Antonio de Herrera followed late in the 16th century with a massive history glorifying Spain's Providential colonial role. Before Herrera held the post of Cronista Mayor de las Indias, a lucrative royal appointment, he had written histories of Portugal, Mary Stuart, the Turks, and the Spanish in Flanders. His massive history of New Spain follows Roman models and focuses firmly on discoverers and conquerors rather than upon indigenous peoples. In it, the Spanish are guided at every turn by Providence, which singled them out for a special vocation to the peoples of the Indies.

Some of the most noteworthy histories were written as colonial projects began to crumble. As the fortunes of Spain declined in the mid-17th century, Antonio de Solís and Lucas Fernández imagined a glorious Spanish colonial past filled with epic battles and spiritual audacity.

Solís was educated at Salamanca and became a renowned poet and dramatist. His elevation by Marie-Anne of Austria to the position of Cronista Mayor turned him from poet to historian of the Indies. Styling himself a successor to Herrera, Solís's history is drama on a large scale: a modern epic in which heroes confront each other relentlessly in battle. More than his predecessors, Solís takes pains to portray the Aztec forces as worthy opponents for the valorous Cortés.

Fernández came from the new mestizo society which had evolved in New Spain by the 17th century. Born in Bogotŕ, he became a cleric was and eventually promoted to Bishop of Santa Marta. His history of New Grenada, today known as Columbia, was written in Spain while Fernández was defending himself before the Council of the Indies on charges brought by the local visitador. Fernández's history focuses on the twin "missions" of civilization and Christianization undertaken by the Spanish in the New World. For Fernández, the Indians are pagan idolaters, corrupted by the Devil, but whose idolatry conceals glimpses of the true faith of the Spaniards.

In New England, Puritans like William Hubbard, who viewed their colony in eschatological terms, turned to historical writing to justify their colony against critics. Hubbard produced his history of the Indian rebellion known as King Philip's War the year after the war ended. In proportion to population, this conflict still stands as the most fatal in American history, claiming nearly nine thousand lives out of eighty thousand residents (English and Native) in New England. Hubbard, a Puritan minister, makes sense of the war in providential terms, describing the Indians as diabolical "agents" sent to test Puritan resolve.

hubbard
William Hubbard,
The Present State of New-England. Being a Narrative of the
Troubles with the Indians in New-England...

London: Tho. Parkhurst, 1677.
charlevoix
Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix,
Histoire et description générale
de la Nouvelle France...

Paris: Didot, 1744.

The French Jesuit historian Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix created a grand narrative for New France, even as the English challenged the French in North America. Charlevoix's massive history was published in folio and quarto editions in 1744. It reviews the French colonization of the Americas, beginning with the arrival of Normand and Breton fishermen on the Grand Banks in the early 16th century, and contains extensive maps and descriptions of French possessions in Canada along with an epistolary history of the author's tour of North America. Fifteen years after this ambitious publication, French soldiers were defeated by the English on the Plains of Abraham, marking the end of "New France."

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

European narratives about the New World took on diverse forms, and appealed to broader audiences, as news of colonization spread. Accounts themselves were usually formulaic, confirming rather than disturbing readers' impressions of the Americas and of American peoples. Nevertheless, their popularity suggests another possibility: that what intrigued readers was the notion that cultural boundaries were not impermeable, and cultural differences not as sharp, as writers would have them appear.

History writing was an elite genre, and European courts charged their historians to record New World discoveries and conquests in detail. These accounts justify the beneficent part played by European national governments and cultures in their American empires. By the 18th century, intellectuals attempted to write the history of American indigenous cultures, using their monuments.

herrera
Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas,
Historia general de los hechos
de los Castellanos en las islas
i tierra firme del mar oceano...

Madrid: Imprenta Real, 1601-1615.
Larger view on display on the left

From the moment of their arrival in the New World, Europeans wrote histories of their encounters. By 1511, Peter Martyr d'Anghiera had organized Spanish imperial rule into "decades," focusing on the Americas. Like Columbus, Peter Martyr was a transplanted Italian who served the Spanish court. Charles V appointed him to write a history of the discovery and conquest of the New World, and between 1511 and 1530 he brought out his story in a series of publications which trumpeted the achievements of the Spanish Empire. He modeled his history on Livy's history of ancient Rome, organizing it into "decades" and presenting Columbus as a modern Aeneas. Martyr's chronicle was a long time in the making. He took advantage of his position to gain access to Columbus's narratives as well as to other documents reporting on events abroad. When Martyr's work did finally appear in print, it quickly became the principal way Europeans got their first glimpses of the New World.

Antonio de Herrera followed late in the 16th century with a massive history glorifying Spain's Providential colonial role. Before Herrera held the post of Cronista Mayor de las Indias, a lucrative royal appointment, he had written histories of Portugal, Mary Stuart, the Turks, and the Spanish in Flanders. His massive history of New Spain follows Roman models and focuses firmly on discoverers and conquerors rather than upon indigenous peoples. In it, the Spanish are guided at every turn by Providence, which singled them out for a special vocation to the peoples of the Indies.

Some of the most noteworthy histories were written as colonial projects began to crumble. As the fortunes of Spain declined in the mid-17th century, Antonio de Solís and Lucas Fernández imagined a glorious Spanish colonial past filled with epic battles and spiritual audacity.

Solís was educated at Salamanca and became a renowned poet and dramatist. His elevation by Marie-Anne of Austria to the position of Cronista Mayor turned him from poet to historian of the Indies. Styling himself a successor to Herrera, Solís's history is drama on a large scale: a modern epic in which heroes confront each other relentlessly in battle. More than his predecessors, Solís takes pains to portray the Aztec forces as worthy opponents for the valorous Cortés.

Fernández came from the new mestizo society which had evolved in New Spain by the 17th century. Born in Bogotŕ, he became a cleric was and eventually promoted to Bishop of Santa Marta. His history of New Grenada, today known as Columbia, was written in Spain while Fernández was defending himself before the Council of the Indies on charges brought by the local visitador. Fernández's history focuses on the twin "missions" of civilization and Christianization undertaken by the Spanish in the New World. For Fernández, the Indians are pagan idolaters, corrupted by the Devil, but whose idolatry conceals glimpses of the true faith of the Spaniards.

In New England, Puritans like William Hubbard, who viewed their colony in eschatological terms, turned to historical writing to justify their colony against critics. Hubbard produced his history of the Indian rebellion known as King Philip's War the year after the war ended. In proportion to population, this conflict still stands as the most fatal in American history, claiming nearly nine thousand lives out of eighty thousand residents (English and Native) in New England. Hubbard, a Puritan minister, makes sense of the war in providential terms, describing the Indians as diabolical "agents" sent to test Puritan resolve.

hubbard
William Hubbard,
The Present State of New-England. Being a Narrative of the
Troubles with the Indians in New-England...

London: Tho. Parkhurst, 1677.
charlevoix
Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix,
Histoire et description générale
de la Nouvelle France...

Paris: Didot, 1744.

The French Jesuit historian Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix created a grand narrative for New France, even as the English challenged the French in North America. Charlevoix's massive history was published in folio and quarto editions in 1744. It reviews the French colonization of the Americas, beginning with the arrival of Normand and Breton fishermen on the Grand Banks in the early 16th century, and contains extensive maps and descriptions of French possessions in Canada along with an epistolary history of the author's tour of North America. Fifteen years after this ambitious publication, French soldiers were defeated by the English on the Plains of Abraham, marking the end of "New France."

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

European narratives about the New World took on diverse forms, and appealed to broader audiences, as news of colonization spread. Accounts themselves were usually formulaic, confirming rather than disturbing readers' impressions of the Americas and of American peoples. Nevertheless, their popularity suggests another possibility: that what intrigued readers was the notion that cultural boundaries were not impermeable, and cultural differences not as sharp, as writers would have them appear.

History writing was an elite genre, and European courts charged their historians to record New World discoveries and conquests in detail. These accounts justify the beneficent part played by European national governments and cultures in their American empires. By the 18th century, intellectuals attempted to write the history of American indigenous cultures, using their monuments.

herrera
Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas,
Historia general de los hechos
de los Castellanos en las islas
i tierra firme del mar oceano...

Madrid: Imprenta Real, 1601-1615.
Larger view on display on the left

From the moment of their arrival in the New World, Europeans wrote histories of their encounters. By 1511, Peter Martyr d'Anghiera had organized Spanish imperial rule into "decades," focusing on the Americas. Like Columbus, Peter Martyr was a transplanted Italian who served the Spanish court. Charles V appointed him to write a history of the discovery and conquest of the New World, and between 1511 and 1530 he brought out his story in a series of publications which trumpeted the achievements of the Spanish Empire. He modeled his history on Livy's history of ancient Rome, organizing it into "decades" and presenting Columbus as a modern Aeneas. Martyr's chronicle was a long time in the making. He took advantage of his position to gain access to Columbus's narratives as well as to other documents reporting on events abroad. When Martyr's work did finally appear in print, it quickly became the principal way Europeans got their first glimpses of the New World.

Antonio de Herrera followed late in the 16th century with a massive history glorifying Spain's Providential colonial role. Before Herrera held the post of Cronista Mayor de las Indias, a lucrative royal appointment, he had written histories of Portugal, Mary Stuart, the Turks, and the Spanish in Flanders. His massive history of New Spain follows Roman models and focuses firmly on discoverers and conquerors rather than upon indigenous peoples. In it, the Spanish are guided at every turn by Providence, which singled them out for a special vocation to the peoples of the Indies.

Some of the most noteworthy histories were written as colonial projects began to crumble. As the fortunes of Spain declined in the mid-17th century, Antonio de Solís and Lucas Fernández imagined a glorious Spanish colonial past filled with epic battles and spiritual audacity.

Solís was educated at Salamanca and became a renowned poet and dramatist. His elevation by Marie-Anne of Austria to the position of Cronista Mayor turned him from poet to historian of the Indies. Styling himself a successor to Herrera, Solís's history is drama on a large scale: a modern epic in which heroes confront each other relentlessly in battle. More than his predecessors, Solís takes pains to portray the Aztec forces as worthy opponents for the valorous Cortés.

Fernández came from the new mestizo society which had evolved in New Spain by the 17th century. Born in Bogotŕ, he became a cleric was and eventually promoted to Bishop of Santa Marta. His history of New Grenada, today known as Columbia, was written in Spain while Fernández was defending himself before the Council of the Indies on charges brought by the local visitador. Fernández's history focuses on the twin "missions" of civilization and Christianization undertaken by the Spanish in the New World. For Fernández, the Indians are pagan idolaters, corrupted by the Devil, but whose idolatry conceals glimpses of the true faith of the Spaniards.

In New England, Puritans like William Hubbard, who viewed their colony in eschatological terms, turned to historical writing to justify their colony against critics. Hubbard produced his history of the Indian rebellion known as King Philip's War the year after the war ended. In proportion to population, this conflict still stands as the most fatal in American history, claiming nearly nine thousand lives out of eighty thousand residents (English and Native) in New England. Hubbard, a Puritan minister, makes sense of the war in providential terms, describing the Indians as diabolical "agents" sent to test Puritan resolve.

hubbard
William Hubbard,
The Present State of New-England. Being a Narrative of the
Troubles with the Indians in New-England...

London: Tho. Parkhurst, 1677.
charlevoix
Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix,
Histoire et description générale
de la Nouvelle France...

Paris: Didot, 1744.

The French Jesuit historian Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix created a grand narrative for New France, even as the English challenged the French in North America. Charlevoix's massive history was published in folio and quarto editions in 1744. It reviews the French colonization of the Americas, beginning with the arrival of Normand and Breton fishermen on the Grand Banks in the early 16th century, and contains extensive maps and descriptions of French possessions in Canada along with an epistolary history of the author's tour of North America. Fifteen years after this ambitious publication, French soldiers were defeated by the English on the Plains of Abraham, marking the end of "New France."

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

European narratives about the New World took on diverse forms, and appealed to broader audiences, as news of colonization spread. Accounts themselves were usually formulaic, confirming rather than disturbing readers' impressions of the Americas and of American peoples. Nevertheless, their popularity suggests another possibility: that what intrigued readers was the notion that cultural boundaries were not impermeable, and cultural differences not as sharp, as writers would have them appear.

History writing was an elite genre, and European courts charged their historians to record New World discoveries and conquests in detail. These accounts justify the beneficent part played by European national governments and cultures in their American empires. By the 18th century, intellectuals attempted to write the history of American indigenous cultures, using their monuments.

herrera
Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas,
Historia general de los hechos
de los Castellanos en las islas
i tierra firme del mar oceano...

Madrid: Imprenta Real, 1601-1615.
Larger view on display on the left

From the moment of their arrival in the New World, Europeans wrote histories of their encounters. By 1511, Peter Martyr d'Anghiera had organized Spanish imperial rule into "decades," focusing on the Americas. Like Columbus, Peter Martyr was a transplanted Italian who served the Spanish court. Charles V appointed him to write a history of the discovery and conquest of the New World, and between 1511 and 1530 he brought out his story in a series of publications which trumpeted the achievements of the Spanish Empire. He modeled his history on Livy's history of ancient Rome, organizing it into "decades" and presenting Columbus as a modern Aeneas. Martyr's chronicle was a long time in the making. He took advantage of his position to gain access to Columbus's narratives as well as to other documents reporting on events abroad. When Martyr's work did finally appear in print, it quickly became the principal way Europeans got their first glimpses of the New World.

Antonio de Herrera followed late in the 16th century with a massive history glorifying Spain's Providential colonial role. Before Herrera held the post of Cronista Mayor de las Indias, a lucrative royal appointment, he had written histories of Portugal, Mary Stuart, the Turks, and the Spanish in Flanders. His massive history of New Spain follows Roman models and focuses firmly on discoverers and conquerors rather than upon indigenous peoples. In it, the Spanish are guided at every turn by Providence, which singled them out for a special vocation to the peoples of the Indies.

Some of the most noteworthy histories were written as colonial projects began to crumble. As the fortunes of Spain declined in the mid-17th century, Antonio de Solís and Lucas Fernández imagined a glorious Spanish colonial past filled with epic battles and spiritual audacity.

Solís was educated at Salamanca and became a renowned poet and dramatist. His elevation by Marie-Anne of Austria to the position of Cronista Mayor turned him from poet to historian of the Indies. Styling himself a successor to Herrera, Solís's history is drama on a large scale: a modern epic in which heroes confront each other relentlessly in battle. More than his predecessors, Solís takes pains to portray the Aztec forces as worthy opponents for the valorous Cortés.

Fernández came from the new mestizo society which had evolved in New Spain by the 17th century. Born in Bogotŕ, he became a cleric was and eventually promoted to Bishop of Santa Marta. His history of New Grenada, today known as Columbia, was written in Spain while Fernández was defending himself before the Council of the Indies on charges brought by the local visitador. Fernández's history focuses on the twin "missions" of civilization and Christianization undertaken by the Spanish in the New World. For Fernández, the Indians are pagan idolaters, corrupted by the Devil, but whose idolatry conceals glimpses of the true faith of the Spaniards.

In New England, Puritans like William Hubbard, who viewed their colony in eschatological terms, turned to historical writing to justify their colony against critics. Hubbard produced his history of the Indian rebellion known as King Philip's War the year after the war ended. In proportion to population, this conflict still stands as the most fatal in American history, claiming nearly nine thousand lives out of eighty thousand residents (English and Native) in New England. Hubbard, a Puritan minister, makes sense of the war in providential terms, describing the Indians as diabolical "agents" sent to test Puritan resolve.

hubbard
William Hubbard,
The Present State of New-England. Being a Narrative of the
Troubles with the Indians in New-England...

London: Tho. Parkhurst, 1677.
charlevoix
Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix,
Histoire et description générale
de la Nouvelle France...

Paris: Didot, 1744.

The French Jesuit historian Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix created a grand narrative for New France, even as the English challenged the French in North America. Charlevoix's massive history was published in folio and quarto editions in 1744. It reviews the French colonization of the Americas, beginning with the arrival of Normand and Breton fishermen on the Grand Banks in the early 16th century, and contains extensive maps and descriptions of French possessions in Canada along with an epistolary history of the author's tour of North America. Fifteen years after this ambitious publication, French soldiers were defeated by the English on the Plains of Abraham, marking the end of "New France."

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

European narratives about the New World took on diverse forms, and appealed to broader audiences, as news of colonization spread. Accounts themselves were usually formulaic, confirming rather than disturbing readers' impressions of the Americas and of American peoples. Nevertheless, their popularity suggests another possibility: that what intrigued readers was the notion that cultural boundaries were not impermeable, and cultural differences not as sharp, as writers would have them appear.

History writing was an elite genre, and European courts charged their historians to record New World discoveries and conquests in detail. These accounts justify the beneficent part played by European national governments and cultures in their American empires. By the 18th century, intellectuals attempted to write the history of American indigenous cultures, using their monuments.

herrera
Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas,
Historia general de los hechos
de los Castellanos en las islas
i tierra firme del mar oceano...

Madrid: Imprenta Real, 1601-1615.
Larger view on display on the left

From the moment of their arrival in the New World, Europeans wrote histories of their encounters. By 1511, Peter Martyr d'Anghiera had organized Spanish imperial rule into "decades," focusing on the Americas. Like Columbus, Peter Martyr was a transplanted Italian who served the Spanish court. Charles V appointed him to write a history of the discovery and conquest of the New World, and between 1511 and 1530 he brought out his story in a series of publications which trumpeted the achievements of the Spanish Empire. He modeled his history on Livy's history of ancient Rome, organizing it into "decades" and presenting Columbus as a modern Aeneas. Martyr's chronicle was a long time in the making. He took advantage of his position to gain access to Columbus's narratives as well as to other documents reporting on events abroad. When Martyr's work did finally appear in print, it quickly became the principal way Europeans got their first glimpses of the New World.

Antonio de Herrera followed late in the 16th century with a massive history glorifying Spain's Providential colonial role. Before Herrera held the post of Cronista Mayor de las Indias, a lucrative royal appointment, he had written histories of Portugal, Mary Stuart, the Turks, and the Spanish in Flanders. His massive history of New Spain follows Roman models and focuses firmly on discoverers and conquerors rather than upon indigenous peoples. In it, the Spanish are guided at every turn by Providence, which singled them out for a special vocation to the peoples of the Indies.

Some of the most noteworthy histories were written as colonial projects began to crumble. As the fortunes of Spain declined in the mid-17th century, Antonio de Solís and Lucas Fernández imagined a glorious Spanish colonial past filled with epic battles and spiritual audacity.

Solís was educated at Salamanca and became a renowned poet and dramatist. His elevation by Marie-Anne of Austria to the position of Cronista Mayor turned him from poet to historian of the Indies. Styling himself a successor to Herrera, Solís's history is drama on a large scale: a modern epic in which heroes confront each other relentlessly in battle. More than his predecessors, Solís takes pains to portray the Aztec forces as worthy opponents for the valorous Cortés.

Fernández came from the new mestizo society which had evolved in New Spain by the 17th century. Born in Bogotŕ, he became a cleric was and eventually promoted to Bishop of Santa Marta. His history of New Grenada, today known as Columbia, was written in Spain while Fernández was defending himself before the Council of the Indies on charges brought by the local visitador. Fernández's history focuses on the twin "missions" of civilization and Christianization undertaken by the Spanish in the New World. For Fernández, the Indians are pagan idolaters, corrupted by the Devil, but whose idolatry conceals glimpses of the true faith of the Spaniards.

In New England, Puritans like William Hubbard, who viewed their colony in eschatological terms, turned to historical writing to justify their colony against critics. Hubbard produced his history of the Indian rebellion known as King Philip's War the year after the war ended. In proportion to population, this conflict still stands as the most fatal in American history, claiming nearly nine thousand lives out of eighty thousand residents (English and Native) in New England. Hubbard, a Puritan minister, makes sense of the war in providential terms, describing the Indians as diabolical "agents" sent to test Puritan resolve.

hubbard
William Hubbard,
The Present State of New-England. Being a Narrative of the
Troubles with the Indians in New-England...

London: Tho. Parkhurst, 1677.
charlevoix
Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix,
Histoire et description générale
de la Nouvelle France...

Paris: Didot, 1744.

The French Jesuit historian Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix created a grand narrative for New France, even as the English challenged the French in North America. Charlevoix's massive history was published in folio and quarto editions in 1744. It reviews the French colonization of the Americas, beginning with the arrival of Normand and Breton fishermen on the Grand Banks in the early 16th century, and contains extensive maps and descriptions of French possessions in Canada along with an epistolary history of the author's tour of North America. Fifteen years after this ambitious publication, French soldiers were defeated by the English on the Plains of Abraham, marking the end of "New France."

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

European narratives about the New World took on diverse forms, and appealed to broader audiences, as news of colonization spread. Accounts themselves were usually formulaic, confirming rather than disturbing readers' impressions of the Americas and of American peoples. Nevertheless, their popularity suggests another possibility: that what intrigued readers was the notion that cultural boundaries were not impermeable, and cultural differences not as sharp, as writers would have them appear.

History writing was an elite genre, and European courts charged their historians to record New World discoveries and conquests in detail. These accounts justify the beneficent part played by European national governments and cultures in their American empires. By the 18th century, intellectuals attempted to write the history of American indigenous cultures, using their monuments.

herrera
Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas,
Historia general de los hechos
de los Castellanos en las islas
i tierra firme del mar oceano...

Madrid: Imprenta Real, 1601-1615.
Larger view on display on the left

From the moment of their arrival in the New World, Europeans wrote histories of their encounters. By 1511, Peter Martyr d'Anghiera had organized Spanish imperial rule into "decades," focusing on the Americas. Like Columbus, Peter Martyr was a transplanted Italian who served the Spanish court. Charles V appointed him to write a history of the discovery and conquest of the New World, and between 1511 and 1530 he brought out his story in a series of publications which trumpeted the achievements of the Spanish Empire. He modeled his history on Livy's history of ancient Rome, organizing it into "decades" and presenting Columbus as a modern Aeneas. Martyr's chronicle was a long time in the making. He took advantage of his position to gain access to Columbus's narratives as well as to other documents reporting on events abroad. When Martyr's work did finally appear in print, it quickly became the principal way Europeans got their first glimpses of the New World.

Antonio de Herrera followed late in the 16th century with a massive history glorifying Spain's Providential colonial role. Before Herrera held the post of Cronista Mayor de las Indias, a lucrative royal appointment, he had written histories of Portugal, Mary Stuart, the Turks, and the Spanish in Flanders. His massive history of New Spain follows Roman models and focuses firmly on discoverers and conquerors rather than upon indigenous peoples. In it, the Spanish are guided at every turn by Providence, which singled them out for a special vocation to the peoples of the Indies.

Some of the most noteworthy histories were written as colonial projects began to crumble. As the fortunes of Spain declined in the mid-17th century, Antonio de Solís and Lucas Fernández imagined a glorious Spanish colonial past filled with epic battles and spiritual audacity.

Solís was educated at Salamanca and became a renowned poet and dramatist. His elevation by Marie-Anne of Austria to the position of Cronista Mayor turned him from poet to historian of the Indies. Styling himself a successor to Herrera, Solís's history is drama on a large scale: a modern epic in which heroes confront each other relentlessly in battle. More than his predecessors, Solís takes pains to portray the Aztec forces as worthy opponents for the valorous Cortés.

Fernández came from the new mestizo society which had evolved in New Spain by the 17th century. Born in Bogotŕ, he became a cleric was and eventually promoted to Bishop of Santa Marta. His history of New Grenada, today known as Columbia, was written in Spain while Fernández was defending himself before the Council of the Indies on charges brought by the local visitador. Fernández's history focuses on the twin "missions" of civilization and Christianization undertaken by the Spanish in the New World. For Fernández, the Indians are pagan idolaters, corrupted by the Devil, but whose idolatry conceals glimpses of the true faith of the Spaniards.

In New England, Puritans like William Hubbard, who viewed their colony in eschatological terms, turned to historical writing to justify their colony against critics. Hubbard produced his history of the Indian rebellion known as King Philip's War the year after the war ended. In proportion to population, this conflict still stands as the most fatal in American history, claiming nearly nine thousand lives out of eighty thousand residents (English and Native) in New England. Hubbard, a Puritan minister, makes sense of the war in providential terms, describing the Indians as diabolical "agents" sent to test Puritan resolve.

hubbard
William Hubbard,
The Present State of New-England. Being a Narrative of the
Troubles with the Indians in New-England...

London: Tho. Parkhurst, 1677.
charlevoix
Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix,
Histoire et description générale
de la Nouvelle France...

Paris: Didot, 1744.

The French Jesuit historian Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix created a grand narrative for New France, even as the English challenged the French in North America. Charlevoix's massive history was published in folio and quarto editions in 1744. It reviews the French colonization of the Americas, beginning with the arrival of Normand and Breton fishermen on the Grand Banks in the early 16th century, and contains extensive maps and descriptions of French possessions in Canada along with an epistolary history of the author's tour of North America. Fifteen years after this ambitious publication, French soldiers were defeated by the English on the Plains of Abraham, marking the end of "New France."

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

European narratives about the New World took on diverse forms, and appealed to broader audiences, as news of colonization spread. Accounts themselves were usually formulaic, confirming rather than disturbing readers' impressions of the Americas and of American peoples. Nevertheless, their popularity suggests another possibility: that what intrigued readers was the notion that cultural boundaries were not impermeable, and cultural differences not as sharp, as writers would have them appear.

History writing was an elite genre, and European courts charged their historians to record New World discoveries and conquests in detail. These accounts justify the beneficent part played by European national governments and cultures in their American empires. By the 18th century, intellectuals attempted to write the history of American indigenous cultures, using their monuments.

herrera
Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas,
Historia general de los hechos
de los Castellanos en las islas
i tierra firme del mar oceano...

Madrid: Imprenta Real, 1601-1615.
Larger view on display on the left

From the moment of their arrival in the New World, Europeans wrote histories of their encounters. By 1511, Peter Martyr d'Anghiera had organized Spanish imperial rule into "decades," focusing on the Americas. Like Columbus, Peter Martyr was a transplanted Italian who served the Spanish court. Charles V appointed him to write a history of the discovery and conquest of the New World, and between 1511 and 1530 he brought out his story in a series of publications which trumpeted the achievements of the Spanish Empire. He modeled his history on Livy's history of ancient Rome, organizing it into "decades" and presenting Columbus as a modern Aeneas. Martyr's chronicle was a long time in the making. He took advantage of his position to gain access to Columbus's narratives as well as to other documents reporting on events abroad. When Martyr's work did finally appear in print, it quickly became the principal way Europeans got their first glimpses of the New World.

Antonio de Herrera followed late in the 16th century with a massive history glorifying Spain's Providential colonial role. Before Herrera held the post of Cronista Mayor de las Indias, a lucrative royal appointment, he had written histories of Portugal, Mary Stuart, the Turks, and the Spanish in Flanders. His massive history of New Spain follows Roman models and focuses firmly on discoverers and conquerors rather than upon indigenous peoples. In it, the Spanish are guided at every turn by Providence, which singled them out for a special vocation to the peoples of the Indies.

Some of the most noteworthy histories were written as colonial projects began to crumble. As the fortunes of Spain declined in the mid-17th century, Antonio de Solís and Lucas Fernández imagined a glorious Spanish colonial past filled with epic battles and spiritual audacity.

Solís was educated at Salamanca and became a renowned poet and dramatist. His elevation by Marie-Anne of Austria to the position of Cronista Mayor turned him from poet to historian of the Indies. Styling himself a successor to Herrera, Solís's history is drama on a large scale: a modern epic in which heroes confront each other relentlessly in battle. More than his predecessors, Solís takes pains to portray the Aztec forces as worthy opponents for the valorous Cortés.

Fernández came from the new mestizo society which had evolved in New Spain by the 17th century. Born in Bogotŕ, he became a cleric was and eventually promoted to Bishop of Santa Marta. His history of New Grenada, today known as Columbia, was written in Spain while Fernández was defending himself before the Council of the Indies on charges brought by the local visitador. Fernández's history focuses on the twin "missions" of civilization and Christianization undertaken by the Spanish in the New World. For Fernández, the Indians are pagan idolaters, corrupted by the Devil, but whose idolatry conceals glimpses of the true faith of the Spaniards.

In New England, Puritans like William Hubbard, who viewed their colony in eschatological terms, turned to historical writing to justify their colony against critics. Hubbard produced his history of the Indian rebellion known as King Philip's War the year after the war ended. In proportion to population, this conflict still stands as the most fatal in American history, claiming nearly nine thousand lives out of eighty thousand residents (English and Native) in New England. Hubbard, a Puritan minister, makes sense of the war in providential terms, describing the Indians as diabolical "agents" sent to test Puritan resolve.

hubbard
William Hubbard,
The Present State of New-England. Being a Narrative of the
Troubles with the Indians in New-England...

London: Tho. Parkhurst, 1677.
charlevoix
Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix,
Histoire et description générale
de la Nouvelle France...

Paris: Didot, 1744.

The French Jesuit historian Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix created a grand narrative for New France, even as the English challenged the French in North America. Charlevoix's massive history was published in folio and quarto editions in 1744. It reviews the French colonization of the Americas, beginning with the arrival of Normand and Breton fishermen on the Grand Banks in the early 16th century, and contains extensive maps and descriptions of French possessions in Canada along with an epistolary history of the author's tour of North America. Fifteen years after this ambitious publication, French soldiers were defeated by the English on the Plains of Abraham, marking the end of "New France."

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

European narratives about the New World took on diverse forms, and appealed to broader audiences, as news of colonization spread. Accounts themselves were usually formulaic, confirming rather than disturbing readers' impressions of the Americas and of American peoples. Nevertheless, their popularity suggests another possibility: that what intrigued readers was the notion that cultural boundaries were not impermeable, and cultural differences not as sharp, as writers would have them appear.

History writing was an elite genre, and European courts charged their historians to record New World discoveries and conquests in detail. These accounts justify the beneficent part played by European national governments and cultures in their American empires. By the 18th century, intellectuals attempted to write the history of American indigenous cultures, using their monuments.

herrera
Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas,
Historia general de los hechos
de los Castellanos en las islas
i tierra firme del mar oceano...

Madrid: Imprenta Real, 1601-1615.
Larger view on display on the left

From the moment of their arrival in the New World, Europeans wrote histories of their encounters. By 1511, Peter Martyr d'Anghiera had organized Spanish imperial rule into "decades," focusing on the Americas. Like Columbus, Peter Martyr was a transplanted Italian who served the Spanish court. Charles V appointed him to write a history of the discovery and conquest of the New World, and between 1511 and 1530 he brought out his story in a series of publications which trumpeted the achievements of the Spanish Empire. He modeled his history on Livy's history of ancient Rome, organizing it into "decades" and presenting Columbus as a modern Aeneas. Martyr's chronicle was a long time in the making. He took advantage of his position to gain access to Columbus's narratives as well as to other documents reporting on events abroad. When Martyr's work did finally appear in print, it quickly became the principal way Europeans got their first glimpses of the New World.

Antonio de Herrera followed late in the 16th century with a massive history glorifying Spain's Providential colonial role. Before Herrera held the post of Cronista Mayor de las Indias, a lucrative royal appointment, he had written histories of Portugal, Mary Stuart, the Turks, and the Spanish in Flanders. His massive history of New Spain follows Roman models and focuses firmly on discoverers and conquerors rather than upon indigenous peoples. In it, the Spanish are guided at every turn by Providence, which singled them out for a special vocation to the peoples of the Indies.

Some of the most noteworthy histories were written as colonial projects began to crumble. As the fortunes of Spain declined in the mid-17th century, Antonio de Solís and Lucas Fernández imagined a glorious Spanish colonial past filled with epic battles and spiritual audacity.

Solís was educated at Salamanca and became a renowned poet and dramatist. His elevation by Marie-Anne of Austria to the position of Cronista Mayor turned him from poet to historian of the Indies. Styling himself a successor to Herrera, Solís's history is drama on a large scale: a modern epic in which heroes confront each other relentlessly in battle. More than his predecessors, Solís takes pains to portray the Aztec forces as worthy opponents for the valorous Cortés.

Fernández came from the new mestizo society which had evolved in New Spain by the 17th century. Born in Bogotŕ, he became a cleric was and eventually promoted to Bishop of Santa Marta. His history of New Grenada, today known as Columbia, was written in Spain while Fernández was defending himself before the Council of the Indies on charges brought by the local visitador. Fernández's history focuses on the twin "missions" of civilization and Christianization undertaken by the Spanish in the New World. For Fernández, the Indians are pagan idolaters, corrupted by the Devil, but whose idolatry conceals glimpses of the true faith of the Spaniards.

In New England, Puritans like William Hubbard, who viewed their colony in eschatological terms, turned to historical writing to justify their colony against critics. Hubbard produced his history of the Indian rebellion known as King Philip's War the year after the war ended. In proportion to population, this conflict still stands as the most fatal in American history, claiming nearly nine thousand lives out of eighty thousand residents (English and Native) in New England. Hubbard, a Puritan minister, makes sense of the war in providential terms, describing the Indians as diabolical "agents" sent to test Puritan resolve.

hubbard
William Hubbard,
The Present State of New-England. Being a Narrative of the
Troubles with the Indians in New-England...

London: Tho. Parkhurst, 1677.
charlevoix
Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix,
Histoire et description générale
de la Nouvelle France...

Paris: Didot, 1744.

The French Jesuit historian Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix created a grand narrative for New France, even as the English challenged the French in North America. Charlevoix's massive history was published in folio and quarto editions in 1744. It reviews the French colonization of the Americas, beginning with the arrival of Normand and Breton fishermen on the Grand Banks in the early 16th century, and contains extensive maps and descriptions of French possessions in Canada along with an epistolary history of the author's tour of North America. Fifteen years after this ambitious publication, French soldiers were defeated by the English on the Plains of Abraham, marking the end of "New France."

 

New World Lands in Print

Even as Europeans staked their claims to the lands of the Americas, discoveries forced Europe's intellectuals to rethink the geographical, cosmographical, and spatial categories in which they had conceived of their world. Print helped to diffuse these novel concepts, although it also sustained older traditions of picturing lands and their inhabitants. Nevertheless, by the 16th century, the new geographies created by Europeans had begun to attain wide circulation.

The remapping of the world that began for Europeans in the 15th century was controversial. Altering the shape and location of the known world was tantamount to denying the received wisdom of ancient authors like Ptolemy. Nevertheless, texts printed during the 16th century gradually unsettled ancient geography by exposing New World discoveries.

Few books were as influential in the history of Europe's conceptualization of the New World as Waldseemüller's small quarto volume, published in a village in Lorraine. The volume comprises three related works, the longest of which is the voyages of Amerigo Vespucci. Waldseemüller also published a world map incorporating Spanish and Portuguese discoveries, which he had printed in large sheets and sold separately.

waldseemuller
Martin Waldseemüller,
Cosmographiae introductio cum quibusdam geometriae ac astronomiae principiis ad eam rem necessariis.
St. Dié: Walter Ludd, 1507.
encisco
Martin Fernández de Encisco,
Suma de geographia q trata de
todas las partidas y provincias del mundo:
en especial de las Indias.

Seville: Andres de Burgos, 1546.

Waldseemüller introduced the term "America" in his cartographic text, while Martin Fernández de Encisco described the New World for mariners. First published in 1519, Encisco's world geography manual is unusual because of the attention it gives to Spanish discoveries in the New World. It is surely one of the earliest, if not the earliest, such work in Spain to incorporate the New World into a description of the "world" as a whole.

Jerónimo de Chaves helped expose the breadth of Spanish cartographic knowledge. The Spanish, fearing trade rivals, were notoriously secretive about the particulars of their overseas empire. At the top of the list of contraband were maps. By the middle of the 16th century, however, the world outside of Spain had many different ways of gaining access to cartographic information on the New World, so that Spain's monopoly was patently mythic. Nevertheless, it is rare to find the kind of geographical detail one does in Chaves's work on universal chronology. In addition to a treatment of the nature and passage of time, the text contains the longitudes and latitudes of cities in the New World.

Benedetto Bordone turned mapping into an artistic enterprise. Bordone's book reflects the nature of many of the new discoveries by depicting the islands of the world, or "isolario." By training and occupation, Bordone was an illustrator and miniaturist. His reputation as an artist made his text suitable for the connoisseurs' market, and numerous editions of it appeared throughout the 16th century. Bordone's work reflects the ongoing diffusion of Iberian discoveries; it contains a view of Mexico City ("Temistitan")an island within a lake, displayed below.

Bordone
Benedetto Bordone,
Libro di Benedetto Bordone nel qual si
ragiona de tutte l'isole del mondo...

Venice: Nicolo d'Aristotile, 1528.
 
 
New World Lands in Print

Even as Europeans staked their claims to the lands of the Americas, discoveries forced Europe's intellectuals to rethink the geographical, cosmographical, and spatial categories in which they had conceived of their world. Print helped to diffuse these novel concepts, although it also sustained older traditions of picturing lands and their inhabitants. Nevertheless, by the 16th century, the new geographies created by Europeans had begun to attain wide circulation.

The remapping of the world that began for Europeans in the 15th century was controversial. Altering the shape and location of the known world was tantamount to denying the received wisdom of ancient authors like Ptolemy. Nevertheless, texts printed during the 16th century gradually unsettled ancient geography by exposing New World discoveries.

Few books were as influential in the history of Europe's conceptualization of the New World as Waldseemüller's small quarto volume, published in a village in Lorraine. The volume comprises three related works, the longest of which is the voyages of Amerigo Vespucci. Waldseemüller also published a world map incorporating Spanish and Portuguese discoveries, which he had printed in large sheets and sold separately.

waldseemuller
Martin Waldseemüller,
Cosmographiae introductio cum quibusdam geometriae ac astronomiae principiis ad eam rem necessariis.
St. Dié: Walter Ludd, 1507.
encisco
Martin Fernández de Encisco,
Suma de geographia q trata de
todas las partidas y provincias del mundo:
en especial de las Indias.

Seville: Andres de Burgos, 1546.

Waldseemüller introduced the term "America" in his cartographic text, while Martin Fernández de Encisco described the New World for mariners. First published in 1519, Encisco's world geography manual is unusual because of the attention it gives to Spanish discoveries in the New World. It is surely one of the earliest, if not the earliest, such work in Spain to incorporate the New World into a description of the "world" as a whole.

Jerónimo de Chaves helped expose the breadth of Spanish cartographic knowledge. The Spanish, fearing trade rivals, were notoriously secretive about the particulars of their overseas empire. At the top of the list of contraband were maps. By the middle of the 16th century, however, the world outside of Spain had many different ways of gaining access to cartographic information on the New World, so that Spain's monopoly was patently mythic. Nevertheless, it is rare to find the kind of geographical detail one does in Chaves's work on universal chronology. In addition to a treatment of the nature and passage of time, the text contains the longitudes and latitudes of cities in the New World.

Benedetto Bordone turned mapping into an artistic enterprise. Bordone's book reflects the nature of many of the new discoveries by depicting the islands of the world, or "isolario." By training and occupation, Bordone was an illustrator and miniaturist. His reputation as an artist made his text suitable for the connoisseurs' market, and numerous editions of it appeared throughout the 16th century. Bordone's work reflects the ongoing diffusion of Iberian discoveries; it contains a view of Mexico City ("Temistitan")an island within a lake, displayed below.

Bordone
Benedetto Bordone,
Libro di Benedetto Bordone nel qual si
ragiona de tutte l'isole del mondo...

Venice: Nicolo d'Aristotile, 1528.
 
 
New World Lands in Print

Even as Europeans staked their claims to the lands of the Americas, discoveries forced Europe's intellectuals to rethink the geographical, cosmographical, and spatial categories in which they had conceived of their world. Print helped to diffuse these novel concepts, although it also sustained older traditions of picturing lands and their inhabitants. Nevertheless, by the 16th century, the new geographies created by Europeans had begun to attain wide circulation.

The remapping of the world that began for Europeans in the 15th century was controversial. Altering the shape and location of the known world was tantamount to denying the received wisdom of ancient authors like Ptolemy. Nevertheless, texts printed during the 16th century gradually unsettled ancient geography by exposing New World discoveries.

Few books were as influential in the history of Europe's conceptualization of the New World as Waldseemüller's small quarto volume, published in a village in Lorraine. The volume comprises three related works, the longest of which is the voyages of Amerigo Vespucci. Waldseemüller also published a world map incorporating Spanish and Portuguese discoveries, which he had printed in large sheets and sold separately.

waldseemuller
Martin Waldseemüller,
Cosmographiae introductio cum quibusdam geometriae ac astronomiae principiis ad eam rem necessariis.
St. Dié: Walter Ludd, 1507.
encisco
Martin Fernández de Encisco,
Suma de geographia q trata de
todas las partidas y provincias del mundo:
en especial de las Indias.

Seville: Andres de Burgos, 1546.

Waldseemüller introduced the term "America" in his cartographic text, while Martin Fernández de Encisco described the New World for mariners. First published in 1519, Encisco's world geography manual is unusual because of the attention it gives to Spanish discoveries in the New World. It is surely one of the earliest, if not the earliest, such work in Spain to incorporate the New World into a description of the "world" as a whole.

Jerónimo de Chaves helped expose the breadth of Spanish cartographic knowledge. The Spanish, fearing trade rivals, were notoriously secretive about the particulars of their overseas empire. At the top of the list of contraband were maps. By the middle of the 16th century, however, the world outside of Spain had many different ways of gaining access to cartographic information on the New World, so that Spain's monopoly was patently mythic. Nevertheless, it is rare to find the kind of geographical detail one does in Chaves's work on universal chronology. In addition to a treatment of the nature and passage of time, the text contains the longitudes and latitudes of cities in the New World.

Benedetto Bordone turned mapping into an artistic enterprise. Bordone's book reflects the nature of many of the new discoveries by depicting the islands of the world, or "isolario." By training and occupation, Bordone was an illustrator and miniaturist. His reputation as an artist made his text suitable for the connoisseurs' market, and numerous editions of it appeared throughout the 16th century. Bordone's work reflects the ongoing diffusion of Iberian discoveries; it contains a view of Mexico City ("Temistitan")an island within a lake, displayed below.

Bordone
Benedetto Bordone,
Libro di Benedetto Bordone nel qual si
ragiona de tutte l'isole del mondo...

Venice: Nicolo d'Aristotile, 1528.
 
 
New World Lands in Print

Even as Europeans staked their claims to the lands of the Americas, discoveries forced Europe's intellectuals to rethink the geographical, cosmographical, and spatial categories in which they had conceived of their world. Print helped to diffuse these novel concepts, although it also sustained older traditions of picturing lands and their inhabitants. Nevertheless, by the 16th century, the new geographies created by Europeans had begun to attain wide circulation.

The remapping of the world that began for Europeans in the 15th century was controversial. Altering the shape and location of the known world was tantamount to denying the received wisdom of ancient authors like Ptolemy. Nevertheless, texts printed during the 16th century gradually unsettled ancient geography by exposing New World discoveries.

Few books were as influential in the history of Europe's conceptualization of the New World as Waldseemüller's small quarto volume, published in a village in Lorraine. The volume comprises three related works, the longest of which is the voyages of Amerigo Vespucci. Waldseemüller also published a world map incorporating Spanish and Portuguese discoveries, which he had printed in large sheets and sold separately.

waldseemuller
Martin Waldseemüller,
Cosmographiae introductio cum quibusdam geometriae ac astronomiae principiis ad eam rem necessariis.
St. Dié: Walter Ludd, 1507.
encisco
Martin Fernández de Encisco,
Suma de geographia q trata de
todas las partidas y provincias del mundo:
en especial de las Indias.

Seville: Andres de Burgos, 1546.

Waldseemüller introduced the term "America" in his cartographic text, while Martin Fernández de Encisco described the New World for mariners. First published in 1519, Encisco's world geography manual is unusual because of the attention it gives to Spanish discoveries in the New World. It is surely one of the earliest, if not the earliest, such work in Spain to incorporate the New World into a description of the "world" as a whole.

Jerónimo de Chaves helped expose the breadth of Spanish cartographic knowledge. The Spanish, fearing trade rivals, were notoriously secretive about the particulars of their overseas empire. At the top of the list of contraband were maps. By the middle of the 16th century, however, the world outside of Spain had many different ways of gaining access to cartographic information on the New World, so that Spain's monopoly was patently mythic. Nevertheless, it is rare to find the kind of geographical detail one does in Chaves's work on universal chronology. In addition to a treatment of the nature and passage of time, the text contains the longitudes and latitudes of cities in the New World.

Benedetto Bordone turned mapping into an artistic enterprise. Bordone's book reflects the nature of many of the new discoveries by depicting the islands of the world, or "isolario." By training and occupation, Bordone was an illustrator and miniaturist. His reputation as an artist made his text suitable for the connoisseurs' market, and numerous editions of it appeared throughout the 16th century. Bordone's work reflects the ongoing diffusion of Iberian discoveries; it contains a view of Mexico City ("Temistitan")an island within a lake, displayed below.

Bordone
Benedetto Bordone,
Libro di Benedetto Bordone nel qual si
ragiona de tutte l'isole del mondo...

Venice: Nicolo d'Aristotile, 1528.
 
 
Print & Native Cultures

Tovar
Juan de Tovar,
Historia de los indios mexicanos.
[with] The Tovar Calendar.
Manuscript in Spanish.
Spain and England, 1830-60.

Indigenous peoples are no simple "other," although it is often possible to gain that impression from early observers as well as from 20th century interpreters. The Caribs that Columbus encountered were very different indeed from the Aztec civilization with which Cortés did battle and from the Maya whom missionaries tried desperately to convert. In eastern North America, Iroquois and Algonquian groups differed politically, socially, and linguistically, as well as in their responses to European colonization. How much can we learn about these distinctive cultures from printed texts and manuscripts?

Some European observers, even those violently opposed to the survival of indigenous traditions, sought to record as well as destroy, and used native informants and scribes to assist them. Their texts can be a resource for information about native cultures. Others, fascinated by native oral cultures, described native speakers and printed their speeches. Not long after the beginning of European colonization, literate natives adopted print in order to write accounts of their own cultures.

Some European colonists and missionaries who sought to suppress and transform native cultures in the Americas also documented those cultures. They often relied upon native informants when constructing their accounts. These texts, which survive in print and in manuscript, provide clues about native cultural survival, and the processes of adaptation and resistance in the colonial world. [See related essay by Louise M. Burkhart]

Juan deTovar, Diego Durán, and Antonio de Mendoza considered this work as antiquarianism and as part of their vocation: to record the disappearing traces of Meso-American civilizations. 16th century Spanish contemporaries knew Tovar, a Jesuit, as the Mexican Cicero. His eloquence, his prowess in mastering indigenous languages, and his industry were renowned. When the Spanish Vice Regent asked him to write an account of the ancient Mexicans for the court in Spain, Tovar was happy to oblige. The manuscript of his substantial history does not survive, but an abstract of it does, along with a Mexican calendar executed by Aztec artists. That abstract and the calendar, once the property of the collector Sir Thomas Phillipps, are now in the John Carter Brown Library. This copy was "transcribed by Elizth. Lady Phillipps 1860 from the unique original in the library of Sir Thos Phillipps, Bart. at Middle Hill 1862."

duran
Diego Durán,
Historia general de las Indias de Nueva España y islas de Tierra Firme.
Mexico City: J.M. Andrade
y F. Escalante, 1867-80.

Diego Durán, born in Mexico to an Aztec mother and a Spanish father, became a Franciscan and set out to measure the possibilities and limits of Spanish missionization. His fragmentary history is divided into three sections: a history of Mexico before the Spanish invasion; native religion; and native calendars and festivals. Durán relied on native informants, probably from the Nahua elite, as he constructed his account. The colored lithographic plates which accompany this 19th century printed edition of the 16th century manuscript are based on Nahuatl drawings. While it deals primarily with pre-conquest history, Durán's text also contains important details about the early post-conquest period, based on native materials which may now be lost

Antonio de Mendoza, a Spanish nobleman, was appointed as the first Viceroy of New Spain in 1535. In his effort on behalf of the Spanish Crown to consolidate the Spanish conquests, Mendoza undertook to survey New Spain, and the Codex Mendoza, compiled c. 1541, records information about Tenochtitlan, as well as Aztec society and laws. This manuscript is an 18th century copy of a separate 16th century work investigating native customs and government. It contains numerous watercolors depicting Mexican village life, religious ceremonies, and even scenes of cannibalism. While the visual materials may simply reflect Spanish impressions, Mendoza's work nonetheless seems to have been based in part on testimony by native informants.

will
Roger Williams,
A Key Into the Language of America.
London: Gregory Dexter, 1643.

In North America, Roger Williams presents a less static, if idealized, vision of the Narragansetts among whom he settled. Williams's text, which presents itself as an introduction to the Narragansett language, also presents an overview of the customs of Native New England in uncommonly sympathetic terms. Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, maintained a reputation for just land dealings and good relations with the Narragansetts prior to King Philip's War (1675-6). If Williams's brief dialogues and poems do provide some insight into Narragansett culture, they also present an image of natives idealized for English readersa kind of noble savage whose traits and words reveal flaws and insincerities of European Christians, and Massachusetts Puritans in particular.

Print & Native Cultures

Tovar
Juan de Tovar,
Historia de los indios mexicanos.
[with] The Tovar Calendar.
Manuscript in Spanish.
Spain and England, 1830-60.

Indigenous peoples are no simple "other," although it is often possible to gain that impression from early observers as well as from 20th century interpreters. The Caribs that Columbus encountered were very different indeed from the Aztec civilization with which Cortés did battle and from the Maya whom missionaries tried desperately to convert. In eastern North America, Iroquois and Algonquian groups differed politically, socially, and linguistically, as well as in their responses to European colonization. How much can we learn about these distinctive cultures from printed texts and manuscripts?

Some European observers, even those violently opposed to the survival of indigenous traditions, sought to record as well as destroy, and used native informants and scribes to assist them. Their texts can be a resource for information about native cultures. Others, fascinated by native oral cultures, described native speakers and printed their speeches. Not long after the beginning of European colonization, literate natives adopted print in order to write accounts of their own cultures.

Some European colonists and missionaries who sought to suppress and transform native cultures in the Americas also documented those cultures. They often relied upon native informants when constructing their accounts. These texts, which survive in print and in manuscript, provide clues about native cultural survival, and the processes of adaptation and resistance in the colonial world. [See related essay by Louise M. Burkhart]

Juan deTovar, Diego Durán, and Antonio de Mendoza considered this work as antiquarianism and as part of their vocation: to record the disappearing traces of Meso-American civilizations. 16th century Spanish contemporaries knew Tovar, a Jesuit, as the Mexican Cicero. His eloquence, his prowess in mastering indigenous languages, and his industry were renowned. When the Spanish Vice Regent asked him to write an account of the ancient Mexicans for the court in Spain, Tovar was happy to oblige. The manuscript of his substantial history does not survive, but an abstract of it does, along with a Mexican calendar executed by Aztec artists. That abstract and the calendar, once the property of the collector Sir Thomas Phillipps, are now in the John Carter Brown Library. This copy was "transcribed by Elizth. Lady Phillipps 1860 from the unique original in the library of Sir Thos Phillipps, Bart. at Middle Hill 1862."

duran
Diego Durán,
Historia general de las Indias de Nueva España y islas de Tierra Firme.
Mexico City: J.M. Andrade
y F. Escalante, 1867-80.

Diego Durán, born in Mexico to an Aztec mother and a Spanish father, became a Franciscan and set out to measure the possibilities and limits of Spanish missionization. His fragmentary history is divided into three sections: a history of Mexico before the Spanish invasion; native religion; and native calendars and festivals. Durán relied on native informants, probably from the Nahua elite, as he constructed his account. The colored lithographic plates which accompany this 19th century printed edition of the 16th century manuscript are based on Nahuatl drawings. While it deals primarily with pre-conquest history, Durán's text also contains important details about the early post-conquest period, based on native materials which may now be lost

Antonio de Mendoza, a Spanish nobleman, was appointed as the first Viceroy of New Spain in 1535. In his effort on behalf of the Spanish Crown to consolidate the Spanish conquests, Mendoza undertook to survey New Spain, and the Codex Mendoza, compiled c. 1541, records information about Tenochtitlan, as well as Aztec society and laws. This manuscript is an 18th century copy of a separate 16th century work investigating native customs and government. It contains numerous watercolors depicting Mexican village life, religious ceremonies, and even scenes of cannibalism. While the visual materials may simply reflect Spanish impressions, Mendoza's work nonetheless seems to have been based in part on testimony by native informants.

will
Roger Williams,
A Key Into the Language of America.
London: Gregory Dexter, 1643.

In North America, Roger Williams presents a less static, if idealized, vision of the Narragansetts among whom he settled. Williams's text, which presents itself as an introduction to the Narragansett language, also presents an overview of the customs of Native New England in uncommonly sympathetic terms. Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, maintained a reputation for just land dealings and good relations with the Narragansetts prior to King Philip's War (1675-6). If Williams's brief dialogues and poems do provide some insight into Narragansett culture, they also present an image of natives idealized for English readersa kind of noble savage whose traits and words reveal flaws and insincerities of European Christians, and Massachusetts Puritans in particular.

Print & Native Cultures

Tovar
Juan de Tovar,
Historia de los indios mexicanos.
[with] The Tovar Calendar.
Manuscript in Spanish.
Spain and England, 1830-60.

Indigenous peoples are no simple "other," although it is often possible to gain that impression from early observers as well as from 20th century interpreters. The Caribs that Columbus encountered were very different indeed from the Aztec civilization with which Cortés did battle and from the Maya whom missionaries tried desperately to convert. In eastern North America, Iroquois and Algonquian groups differed politically, socially, and linguistically, as well as in their responses to European colonization. How much can we learn about these distinctive cultures from printed texts and manuscripts?

Some European observers, even those violently opposed to the survival of indigenous traditions, sought to record as well as destroy, and used native informants and scribes to assist them. Their texts can be a resource for information about native cultures. Others, fascinated by native oral cultures, described native speakers and printed their speeches. Not long after the beginning of European colonization, literate natives adopted print in order to write accounts of their own cultures.

Some European colonists and missionaries who sought to suppress and transform native cultures in the Americas also documented those cultures. They often relied upon native informants when constructing their accounts. These texts, which survive in print and in manuscript, provide clues about native cultural survival, and the processes of adaptation and resistance in the colonial world. [See related essay by Louise M. Burkhart]

Juan deTovar, Diego Durán, and Antonio de Mendoza considered this work as antiquarianism and as part of their vocation: to record the disappearing traces of Meso-American civilizations. 16th century Spanish contemporaries knew Tovar, a Jesuit, as the Mexican Cicero. His eloquence, his prowess in mastering indigenous languages, and his industry were renowned. When the Spanish Vice Regent asked him to write an account of the ancient Mexicans for the court in Spain, Tovar was happy to oblige. The manuscript of his substantial history does not survive, but an abstract of it does, along with a Mexican calendar executed by Aztec artists. That abstract and the calendar, once the property of the collector Sir Thomas Phillipps, are now in the John Carter Brown Library. This copy was "transcribed by Elizth. Lady Phillipps 1860 from the unique original in the library of Sir Thos Phillipps, Bart. at Middle Hill 1862."

duran
Diego Durán,
Historia general de las Indias de Nueva España y islas de Tierra Firme.
Mexico City: J.M. Andrade
y F. Escalante, 1867-80.

Diego Durán, born in Mexico to an Aztec mother and a Spanish father, became a Franciscan and set out to measure the possibilities and limits of Spanish missionization. His fragmentary history is divided into three sections: a history of Mexico before the Spanish invasion; native religion; and native calendars and festivals. Durán relied on native informants, probably from the Nahua elite, as he constructed his account. The colored lithographic plates which accompany this 19th century printed edition of the 16th century manuscript are based on Nahuatl drawings. While it deals primarily with pre-conquest history, Durán's text also contains important details about the early post-conquest period, based on native materials which may now be lost

Antonio de Mendoza, a Spanish nobleman, was appointed as the first Viceroy of New Spain in 1535. In his effort on behalf of the Spanish Crown to consolidate the Spanish conquests, Mendoza undertook to survey New Spain, and the Codex Mendoza, compiled c. 1541, records information about Tenochtitlan, as well as Aztec society and laws. This manuscript is an 18th century copy of a separate 16th century work investigating native customs and government. It contains numerous watercolors depicting Mexican village life, religious ceremonies, and even scenes of cannibalism. While the visual materials may simply reflect Spanish impressions, Mendoza's work nonetheless seems to have been based in part on testimony by native informants.

will
Roger Williams,
A Key Into the Language of America.
London: Gregory Dexter, 1643.

In North America, Roger Williams presents a less static, if idealized, vision of the Narragansetts among whom he settled. Williams's text, which presents itself as an introduction to the Narragansett language, also presents an overview of the customs of Native New England in uncommonly sympathetic terms. Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, maintained a reputation for just land dealings and good relations with the Narragansetts prior to King Philip's War (1675-6). If Williams's brief dialogues and poems do provide some insight into Narragansett culture, they also present an image of natives idealized for English readersa kind of noble savage whose traits and words reveal flaws and insincerities of European Christians, and Massachusetts Puritans in particular.

Print & Native Cultures

Tovar
Juan de Tovar,
Historia de los indios mexicanos.
[with] The Tovar Calendar.
Manuscript in Spanish.
Spain and England, 1830-60.

Indigenous peoples are no simple "other," although it is often possible to gain that impression from early observers as well as from 20th century interpreters. The Caribs that Columbus encountered were very different indeed from the Aztec civilization with which Cortés did battle and from the Maya whom missionaries tried desperately to convert. In eastern North America, Iroquois and Algonquian groups differed politically, socially, and linguistically, as well as in their responses to European colonization. How much can we learn about these distinctive cultures from printed texts and manuscripts?

Some European observers, even those violently opposed to the survival of indigenous traditions, sought to record as well as destroy, and used native informants and scribes to assist them. Their texts can be a resource for information about native cultures. Others, fascinated by native oral cultures, described native speakers and printed their speeches. Not long after the beginning of European colonization, literate natives adopted print in order to write accounts of their own cultures.

Some European colonists and missionaries who sought to suppress and transform native cultures in the Americas also documented those cultures. They often relied upon native informants when constructing their accounts. These texts, which survive in print and in manuscript, provide clues about native cultural survival, and the processes of adaptation and resistance in the colonial world. [See related essay by Louise M. Burkhart]

Juan deTovar, Diego Durán, and Antonio de Mendoza considered this work as antiquarianism and as part of their vocation: to record the disappearing traces of Meso-American civilizations. 16th century Spanish contemporaries knew Tovar, a Jesuit, as the Mexican Cicero. His eloquence, his prowess in mastering indigenous languages, and his industry were renowned. When the Spanish Vice Regent asked him to write an account of the ancient Mexicans for the court in Spain, Tovar was happy to oblige. The manuscript of his substantial history does not survive, but an abstract of it does, along with a Mexican calendar executed by Aztec artists. That abstract and the calendar, once the property of the collector Sir Thomas Phillipps, are now in the John Carter Brown Library. This copy was "transcribed by Elizth. Lady Phillipps 1860 from the unique original in the library of Sir Thos Phillipps, Bart. at Middle Hill 1862."

duran
Diego Durán,
Historia general de las Indias de Nueva España y islas de Tierra Firme.
Mexico City: J.M. Andrade
y F. Escalante, 1867-80.

Diego Durán, born in Mexico to an Aztec mother and a Spanish father, became a Franciscan and set out to measure the possibilities and limits of Spanish missionization. His fragmentary history is divided into three sections: a history of Mexico before the Spanish invasion; native religion; and native calendars and festivals. Durán relied on native informants, probably from the Nahua elite, as he constructed his account. The colored lithographic plates which accompany this 19th century printed edition of the 16th century manuscript are based on Nahuatl drawings. While it deals primarily with pre-conquest history, Durán's text also contains important details about the early post-conquest period, based on native materials which may now be lost

Antonio de Mendoza, a Spanish nobleman, was appointed as the first Viceroy of New Spain in 1535. In his effort on behalf of the Spanish Crown to consolidate the Spanish conquests, Mendoza undertook to survey New Spain, and the Codex Mendoza, compiled c. 1541, records information about Tenochtitlan, as well as Aztec society and laws. This manuscript is an 18th century copy of a separate 16th century work investigating native customs and government. It contains numerous watercolors depicting Mexican village life, religious ceremonies, and even scenes of cannibalism. While the visual materials may simply reflect Spanish impressions, Mendoza's work nonetheless seems to have been based in part on testimony by native informants.

will
Roger Williams,
A Key Into the Language of America.
London: Gregory Dexter, 1643.

In North America, Roger Williams presents a less static, if idealized, vision of the Narragansetts among whom he settled. Williams's text, which presents itself as an introduction to the Narragansett language, also presents an overview of the customs of Native New England in uncommonly sympathetic terms. Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, maintained a reputation for just land dealings and good relations with the Narragansetts prior to King Philip's War (1675-6). If Williams's brief dialogues and poems do provide some insight into Narragansett culture, they also present an image of natives idealized for English readersa kind of noble savage whose traits and words reveal flaws and insincerities of European Christians, and Massachusetts Puritans in particular.

Print & Native Cultures

Tovar
Juan de Tovar,
Historia de los indios mexicanos.
[with] The Tovar Calendar.
Manuscript in Spanish.
Spain and England, 1830-60.

Indigenous peoples are no simple "other," although it is often possible to gain that impression from early observers as well as from 20th century interpreters. The Caribs that Columbus encountered were very different indeed from the Aztec civilization with which Cortés did battle and from the Maya whom missionaries tried desperately to convert. In eastern North America, Iroquois and Algonquian groups differed politically, socially, and linguistically, as well as in their responses to European colonization. How much can we learn about these distinctive cultures from printed texts and manuscripts?

Some European observers, even those violently opposed to the survival of indigenous traditions, sought to record as well as destroy, and used native informants and scribes to assist them. Their texts can be a resource for information about native cultures. Others, fascinated by native oral cultures, described native speakers and printed their speeches. Not long after the beginning of European colonization, literate natives adopted print in order to write accounts of their own cultures.

Some European colonists and missionaries who sought to suppress and transform native cultures in the Americas also documented those cultures. They often relied upon native informants when constructing their accounts. These texts, which survive in print and in manuscript, provide clues about native cultural survival, and the processes of adaptation and resistance in the colonial world. [See related essay by Louise M. Burkhart]

Juan deTovar, Diego Durán, and Antonio de Mendoza considered this work as antiquarianism and as part of their vocation: to record the disappearing traces of Meso-American civilizations. 16th century Spanish contemporaries knew Tovar, a Jesuit, as the Mexican Cicero. His eloquence, his prowess in mastering indigenous languages, and his industry were renowned. When the Spanish Vice Regent asked him to write an account of the ancient Mexicans for the court in Spain, Tovar was happy to oblige. The manuscript of his substantial history does not survive, but an abstract of it does, along with a Mexican calendar executed by Aztec artists. That abstract and the calendar, once the property of the collector Sir Thomas Phillipps, are now in the John Carter Brown Library. This copy was "transcribed by Elizth. Lady Phillipps 1860 from the unique original in the library of Sir Thos Phillipps, Bart. at Middle Hill 1862."

duran
Diego Durán,
Historia general de las Indias de Nueva España y islas de Tierra Firme.
Mexico City: J.M. Andrade
y F. Escalante, 1867-80.

Diego Durán, born in Mexico to an Aztec mother and a Spanish father, became a Franciscan and set out to measure the possibilities and limits of Spanish missionization. His fragmentary history is divided into three sections: a history of Mexico before the Spanish invasion; native religion; and native calendars and festivals. Durán relied on native informants, probably from the Nahua elite, as he constructed his account. The colored lithographic plates which accompany this 19th century printed edition of the 16th century manuscript are based on Nahuatl drawings. While it deals primarily with pre-conquest history, Durán's text also contains important details about the early post-conquest period, based on native materials which may now be lost

Antonio de Mendoza, a Spanish nobleman, was appointed as the first Viceroy of New Spain in 1535. In his effort on behalf of the Spanish Crown to consolidate the Spanish conquests, Mendoza undertook to survey New Spain, and the Codex Mendoza, compiled c. 1541, records information about Tenochtitlan, as well as Aztec society and laws. This manuscript is an 18th century copy of a separate 16th century work investigating native customs and government. It contains numerous watercolors depicting Mexican village life, religious ceremonies, and even scenes of cannibalism. While the visual materials may simply reflect Spanish impressions, Mendoza's work nonetheless seems to have been based in part on testimony by native informants.

will
Roger Williams,
A Key Into the Language of America.
London: Gregory Dexter, 1643.

In North America, Roger Williams presents a less static, if idealized, vision of the Narragansetts among whom he settled. Williams's text, which presents itself as an introduction to the Narragansett language, also presents an overview of the customs of Native New England in uncommonly sympathetic terms. Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, maintained a reputation for just land dealings and good relations with the Narragansetts prior to King Philip's War (1675-6). If Williams's brief dialogues and poems do provide some insight into Narragansett culture, they also present an image of natives idealized for English readersa kind of noble savage whose traits and words reveal flaws and insincerities of European Christians, and Massachusetts Puritans in particular.

Print & Native Cultures

Tovar
Juan de Tovar,
Historia de los indios mexicanos.
[with] The Tovar Calendar.
Manuscript in Spanish.
Spain and England, 1830-60.

Indigenous peoples are no simple "other," although it is often possible to gain that impression from early observers as well as from 20th century interpreters. The Caribs that Columbus encountered were very different indeed from the Aztec civilization with which Cortés did battle and from the Maya whom missionaries tried desperately to convert. In eastern North America, Iroquois and Algonquian groups differed politically, socially, and linguistically, as well as in their responses to European colonization. How much can we learn about these distinctive cultures from printed texts and manuscripts?

Some European observers, even those violently opposed to the survival of indigenous traditions, sought to record as well as destroy, and used native informants and scribes to assist them. Their texts can be a resource for information about native cultures. Others, fascinated by native oral cultures, described native speakers and printed their speeches. Not long after the beginning of European colonization, literate natives adopted print in order to write accounts of their own cultures.

Some European colonists and missionaries who sought to suppress and transform native cultures in the Americas also documented those cultures. They often relied upon native informants when constructing their accounts. These texts, which survive in print and in manuscript, provide clues about native cultural survival, and the processes of adaptation and resistance in the colonial world. [See related essay by Louise M. Burkhart]

Juan deTovar, Diego Durán, and Antonio de Mendoza considered this work as antiquarianism and as part of their vocation: to record the disappearing traces of Meso-American civilizations. 16th century Spanish contemporaries knew Tovar, a Jesuit, as the Mexican Cicero. His eloquence, his prowess in mastering indigenous languages, and his industry were renowned. When the Spanish Vice Regent asked him to write an account of the ancient Mexicans for the court in Spain, Tovar was happy to oblige. The manuscript of his substantial history does not survive, but an abstract of it does, along with a Mexican calendar executed by Aztec artists. That abstract and the calendar, once the property of the collector Sir Thomas Phillipps, are now in the John Carter Brown Library. This copy was "transcribed by Elizth. Lady Phillipps 1860 from the unique original in the library of Sir Thos Phillipps, Bart. at Middle Hill 1862."

duran
Diego Durán,
Historia general de las Indias de Nueva España y islas de Tierra Firme.
Mexico City: J.M. Andrade
y F. Escalante, 1867-80.

Diego Durán, born in Mexico to an Aztec mother and a Spanish father, became a Franciscan and set out to measure the possibilities and limits of Spanish missionization. His fragmentary history is divided into three sections: a history of Mexico before the Spanish invasion; native religion; and native calendars and festivals. Durán relied on native informants, probably from the Nahua elite, as he constructed his account. The colored lithographic plates which accompany this 19th century printed edition of the 16th century manuscript are based on Nahuatl drawings. While it deals primarily with pre-conquest history, Durán's text also contains important details about the early post-conquest period, based on native materials which may now be lost

Antonio de Mendoza, a Spanish nobleman, was appointed as the first Viceroy of New Spain in 1535. In his effort on behalf of the Spanish Crown to consolidate the Spanish conquests, Mendoza undertook to survey New Spain, and the Codex Mendoza, compiled c. 1541, records information about Tenochtitlan, as well as Aztec society and laws. This manuscript is an 18th century copy of a separate 16th century work investigating native customs and government. It contains numerous watercolors depicting Mexican village life, religious ceremonies, and even scenes of cannibalism. While the visual materials may simply reflect Spanish impressions, Mendoza's work nonetheless seems to have been based in part on testimony by native informants.

will
Roger Williams,
A Key Into the Language of America.
London: Gregory Dexter, 1643.

In North America, Roger Williams presents a less static, if idealized, vision of the Narragansetts among whom he settled. Williams's text, which presents itself as an introduction to the Narragansett language, also presents an overview of the customs of Native New England in uncommonly sympathetic terms. Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, maintained a reputation for just land dealings and good relations with the Narragansetts prior to King Philip's War (1675-6). If Williams's brief dialogues and poems do provide some insight into Narragansett culture, they also present an image of natives idealized for English readersa kind of noble savage whose traits and words reveal flaws and insincerities of European Christians, and Massachusetts Puritans in particular.

Print & Native Cultures

Tovar
Juan de Tovar,
Historia de los indios mexicanos.
[with] The Tovar Calendar.
Manuscript in Spanish.
Spain and England, 1830-60.

Indigenous peoples are no simple "other," although it is often possible to gain that impression from early observers as well as from 20th century interpreters. The Caribs that Columbus encountered were very different indeed from the Aztec civilization with which Cortés did battle and from the Maya whom missionaries tried desperately to convert. In eastern North America, Iroquois and Algonquian groups differed politically, socially, and linguistically, as well as in their responses to European colonization. How much can we learn about these distinctive cultures from printed texts and manuscripts?

Some European observers, even those violently opposed to the survival of indigenous traditions, sought to record as well as destroy, and used native informants and scribes to assist them. Their texts can be a resource for information about native cultures. Others, fascinated by native oral cultures, described native speakers and printed their speeches. Not long after the beginning of European colonization, literate natives adopted print in order to write accounts of their own cultures.

Some European colonists and missionaries who sought to suppress and transform native cultures in the Americas also documented those cultures. They often relied upon native informants when constructing their accounts. These texts, which survive in print and in manuscript, provide clues about native cultural survival, and the processes of adaptation and resistance in the colonial world. [See related essay by Louise M. Burkhart]

Juan deTovar, Diego Durán, and Antonio de Mendoza considered this work as antiquarianism and as part of their vocation: to record the disappearing traces of Meso-American civilizations. 16th century Spanish contemporaries knew Tovar, a Jesuit, as the Mexican Cicero. His eloquence, his prowess in mastering indigenous languages, and his industry were renowned. When the Spanish Vice Regent asked him to write an account of the ancient Mexicans for the court in Spain, Tovar was happy to oblige. The manuscript of his substantial history does not survive, but an abstract of it does, along with a Mexican calendar executed by Aztec artists. That abstract and the calendar, once the property of the collector Sir Thomas Phillipps, are now in the John Carter Brown Library. This copy was "transcribed by Elizth. Lady Phillipps 1860 from the unique original in the library of Sir Thos Phillipps, Bart. at Middle Hill 1862."

duran
Diego Durán,
Historia general de las Indias de Nueva España y islas de Tierra Firme.
Mexico City: J.M. Andrade
y F. Escalante, 1867-80.

Diego Durán, born in Mexico to an Aztec mother and a Spanish father, became a Franciscan and set out to measure the possibilities and limits of Spanish missionization. His fragmentary history is divided into three sections: a history of Mexico before the Spanish invasion; native religion; and native calendars and festivals. Durán relied on native informants, probably from the Nahua elite, as he constructed his account. The colored lithographic plates which accompany this 19th century printed edition of the 16th century manuscript are based on Nahuatl drawings. While it deals primarily with pre-conquest history, Durán's text also contains important details about the early post-conquest period, based on native materials which may now be lost

Antonio de Mendoza, a Spanish nobleman, was appointed as the first Viceroy of New Spain in 1535. In his effort on behalf of the Spanish Crown to consolidate the Spanish conquests, Mendoza undertook to survey New Spain, and the Codex Mendoza, compiled c. 1541, records information about Tenochtitlan, as well as Aztec society and laws. This manuscript is an 18th century copy of a separate 16th century work investigating native customs and government. It contains numerous watercolors depicting Mexican village life, religious ceremonies, and even scenes of cannibalism. While the visual materials may simply reflect Spanish impressions, Mendoza's work nonetheless seems to have been based in part on testimony by native informants.

will
Roger Williams,
A Key Into the Language of America.
London: Gregory Dexter, 1643.

In North America, Roger Williams presents a less static, if idealized, vision of the Narragansetts among whom he settled. Williams's text, which presents itself as an introduction to the Narragansett language, also presents an overview of the customs of Native New England in uncommonly sympathetic terms. Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, maintained a reputation for just land dealings and good relations with the Narragansetts prior to King Philip's War (1675-6). If Williams's brief dialogues and poems do provide some insight into Narragansett culture, they also present an image of natives idealized for English readersa kind of noble savage whose traits and words reveal flaws and insincerities of European Christians, and Massachusetts Puritans in particular.

Print & Native Cultures

Tovar
Juan de Tovar,
Historia de los indios mexicanos.
[with] The Tovar Calendar.
Manuscript in Spanish.
Spain and England, 1830-60.

Indigenous peoples are no simple "other," although it is often possible to gain that impression from early observers as well as from 20th century interpreters. The Caribs that Columbus encountered were very different indeed from the Aztec civilization with which Cortés did battle and from the Maya whom missionaries tried desperately to convert. In eastern North America, Iroquois and Algonquian groups differed politically, socially, and linguistically, as well as in their responses to European colonization. How much can we learn about these distinctive cultures from printed texts and manuscripts?

Some European observers, even those violently opposed to the survival of indigenous traditions, sought to record as well as destroy, and used native informants and scribes to assist them. Their texts can be a resource for information about native cultures. Others, fascinated by native oral cultures, described native speakers and printed their speeches. Not long after the beginning of European colonization, literate natives adopted print in order to write accounts of their own cultures.

Some European colonists and missionaries who sought to suppress and transform native cultures in the Americas also documented those cultures. They often relied upon native informants when constructing their accounts. These texts, which survive in print and in manuscript, provide clues about native cultural survival, and the processes of adaptation and resistance in the colonial world. [See related essay by Louise M. Burkhart]

Juan deTovar, Diego Durán, and Antonio de Mendoza considered this work as antiquarianism and as part of their vocation: to record the disappearing traces of Meso-American civilizations. 16th century Spanish contemporaries knew Tovar, a Jesuit, as the Mexican Cicero. His eloquence, his prowess in mastering indigenous languages, and his industry were renowned. When the Spanish Vice Regent asked him to write an account of the ancient Mexicans for the court in Spain, Tovar was happy to oblige. The manuscript of his substantial history does not survive, but an abstract of it does, along with a Mexican calendar executed by Aztec artists. That abstract and the calendar, once the property of the collector Sir Thomas Phillipps, are now in the John Carter Brown Library. This copy was "transcribed by Elizth. Lady Phillipps 1860 from the unique original in the library of Sir Thos Phillipps, Bart. at Middle Hill 1862."

duran
Diego Durán,
Historia general de las Indias de Nueva España y islas de Tierra Firme.
Mexico City: J.M. Andrade
y F. Escalante, 1867-80.

Diego Durán, born in Mexico to an Aztec mother and a Spanish father, became a Franciscan and set out to measure the possibilities and limits of Spanish missionization. His fragmentary history is divided into three sections: a history of Mexico before the Spanish invasion; native religion; and native calendars and festivals. Durán relied on native informants, probably from the Nahua elite, as he constructed his account. The colored lithographic plates which accompany this 19th century printed edition of the 16th century manuscript are based on Nahuatl drawings. While it deals primarily with pre-conquest history, Durán's text also contains important details about the early post-conquest period, based on native materials which may now be lost

Antonio de Mendoza, a Spanish nobleman, was appointed as the first Viceroy of New Spain in 1535. In his effort on behalf of the Spanish Crown to consolidate the Spanish conquests, Mendoza undertook to survey New Spain, and the Codex Mendoza, compiled c. 1541, records information about Tenochtitlan, as well as Aztec society and laws. This manuscript is an 18th century copy of a separate 16th century work investigating native customs and government. It contains numerous watercolors depicting Mexican village life, religious ceremonies, and even scenes of cannibalism. While the visual materials may simply reflect Spanish impressions, Mendoza's work nonetheless seems to have been based in part on testimony by native informants.

will
Roger Williams,
A Key Into the Language of America.
London: Gregory Dexter, 1643.

In North America, Roger Williams presents a less static, if idealized, vision of the Narragansetts among whom he settled. Williams's text, which presents itself as an introduction to the Narragansett language, also presents an overview of the customs of Native New England in uncommonly sympathetic terms. Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, maintained a reputation for just land dealings and good relations with the Narragansetts prior to King Philip's War (1675-6). If Williams's brief dialogues and poems do provide some insight into Narragansett culture, they also present an image of natives idealized for English readersa kind of noble savage whose traits and words reveal flaws and insincerities of European Christians, and Massachusetts Puritans in particular.

Print & Native Cultures

Tovar
Juan de Tovar,
Historia de los indios mexicanos.
[with] The Tovar Calendar.
Manuscript in Spanish.
Spain and England, 1830-60.

Indigenous peoples are no simple "other," although it is often possible to gain that impression from early observers as well as from 20th century interpreters. The Caribs that Columbus encountered were very different indeed from the Aztec civilization with which Cortés did battle and from the Maya whom missionaries tried desperately to convert. In eastern North America, Iroquois and Algonquian groups differed politically, socially, and linguistically, as well as in their responses to European colonization. How much can we learn about these distinctive cultures from printed texts and manuscripts?

Some European observers, even those violently opposed to the survival of indigenous traditions, sought to record as well as destroy, and used native informants and scribes to assist them. Their texts can be a resource for information about native cultures. Others, fascinated by native oral cultures, described native speakers and printed their speeches. Not long after the beginning of European colonization, literate natives adopted print in order to write accounts of their own cultures.

Some European colonists and missionaries who sought to suppress and transform native cultures in the Americas also documented those cultures. They often relied upon native informants when constructing their accounts. These texts, which survive in print and in manuscript, provide clues about native cultural survival, and the processes of adaptation and resistance in the colonial world. [See related essay by Louise M. Burkhart]

Juan deTovar, Diego Durán, and Antonio de Mendoza considered this work as antiquarianism and as part of their vocation: to record the disappearing traces of Meso-American civilizations. 16th century Spanish contemporaries knew Tovar, a Jesuit, as the Mexican Cicero. His eloquence, his prowess in mastering indigenous languages, and his industry were renowned. When the Spanish Vice Regent asked him to write an account of the ancient Mexicans for the court in Spain, Tovar was happy to oblige. The manuscript of his substantial history does not survive, but an abstract of it does, along with a Mexican calendar executed by Aztec artists. That abstract and the calendar, once the property of the collector Sir Thomas Phillipps, are now in the John Carter Brown Library. This copy was "transcribed by Elizth. Lady Phillipps 1860 from the unique original in the library of Sir Thos Phillipps, Bart. at Middle Hill 1862."

duran
Diego Durán,
Historia general de las Indias de Nueva España y islas de Tierra Firme.
Mexico City: J.M. Andrade
y F. Escalante, 1867-80.

Diego Durán, born in Mexico to an Aztec mother and a Spanish father, became a Franciscan and set out to measure the possibilities and limits of Spanish missionization. His fragmentary history is divided into three sections: a history of Mexico before the Spanish invasion; native religion; and native calendars and festivals. Durán relied on native informants, probably from the Nahua elite, as he constructed his account. The colored lithographic plates which accompany this 19th century printed edition of the 16th century manuscript are based on Nahuatl drawings. While it deals primarily with pre-conquest history, Durán's text also contains important details about the early post-conquest period, based on native materials which may now be lost

Antonio de Mendoza, a Spanish nobleman, was appointed as the first Viceroy of New Spain in 1535. In his effort on behalf of the Spanish Crown to consolidate the Spanish conquests, Mendoza undertook to survey New Spain, and the Codex Mendoza, compiled c. 1541, records information about Tenochtitlan, as well as Aztec society and laws. This manuscript is an 18th century copy of a separate 16th century work investigating native customs and government. It contains numerous watercolors depicting Mexican village life, religious ceremonies, and even scenes of cannibalism. While the visual materials may simply reflect Spanish impressions, Mendoza's work nonetheless seems to have been based in part on testimony by native informants.

will
Roger Williams,
A Key Into the Language of America.
London: Gregory Dexter, 1643.

In North America, Roger Williams presents a less static, if idealized, vision of the Narragansetts among whom he settled. Williams's text, which presents itself as an introduction to the Narragansett language, also presents an overview of the customs of Native New England in uncommonly sympathetic terms. Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, maintained a reputation for just land dealings and good relations with the Narragansetts prior to King Philip's War (1675-6). If Williams's brief dialogues and poems do provide some insight into Narragansett culture, they also present an image of natives idealized for English readersa kind of noble savage whose traits and words reveal flaws and insincerities of European Christians, and Massachusetts Puritans in particular.

Print & Native Cultures

Tovar
Juan de Tovar,
Historia de los indios mexicanos.
[with] The Tovar Calendar.
Manuscript in Spanish.
Spain and England, 1830-60.

Indigenous peoples are no simple "other," although it is often possible to gain that impression from early observers as well as from 20th century interpreters. The Caribs that Columbus encountered were very different indeed from the Aztec civilization with which Cortés did battle and from the Maya whom missionaries tried desperately to convert. In eastern North America, Iroquois and Algonquian groups differed politically, socially, and linguistically, as well as in their responses to European colonization. How much can we learn about these distinctive cultures from printed texts and manuscripts?

Some European observers, even those violently opposed to the survival of indigenous traditions, sought to record as well as destroy, and used native informants and scribes to assist them. Their texts can be a resource for information about native cultures. Others, fascinated by native oral cultures, described native speakers and printed their speeches. Not long after the beginning of European colonization, literate natives adopted print in order to write accounts of their own cultures.

Some European colonists and missionaries who sought to suppress and transform native cultures in the Americas also documented those cultures. They often relied upon native informants when constructing their accounts. These texts, which survive in print and in manuscript, provide clues about native cultural survival, and the processes of adaptation and resistance in the colonial world. [See related essay by Louise M. Burkhart]

Juan deTovar, Diego Durán, and Antonio de Mendoza considered this work as antiquarianism and as part of their vocation: to record the disappearing traces of Meso-American civilizations. 16th century Spanish contemporaries knew Tovar, a Jesuit, as the Mexican Cicero. His eloquence, his prowess in mastering indigenous languages, and his industry were renowned. When the Spanish Vice Regent asked him to write an account of the ancient Mexicans for the court in Spain, Tovar was happy to oblige. The manuscript of his substantial history does not survive, but an abstract of it does, along with a Mexican calendar executed by Aztec artists. That abstract and the calendar, once the property of the collector Sir Thomas Phillipps, are now in the John Carter Brown Library. This copy was "transcribed by Elizth. Lady Phillipps 1860 from the unique original in the library of Sir Thos Phillipps, Bart. at Middle Hill 1862."

duran
Diego Durán,
Historia general de las Indias de Nueva España y islas de Tierra Firme.
Mexico City: J.M. Andrade
y F. Escalante, 1867-80.

Diego Durán, born in Mexico to an Aztec mother and a Spanish father, became a Franciscan and set out to measure the possibilities and limits of Spanish missionization. His fragmentary history is divided into three sections: a history of Mexico before the Spanish invasion; native religion; and native calendars and festivals. Durán relied on native informants, probably from the Nahua elite, as he constructed his account. The colored lithographic plates which accompany this 19th century printed edition of the 16th century manuscript are based on Nahuatl drawings. While it deals primarily with pre-conquest history, Durán's text also contains important details about the early post-conquest period, based on native materials which may now be lost

Antonio de Mendoza, a Spanish nobleman, was appointed as the first Viceroy of New Spain in 1535. In his effort on behalf of the Spanish Crown to consolidate the Spanish conquests, Mendoza undertook to survey New Spain, and the Codex Mendoza, compiled c. 1541, records information about Tenochtitlan, as well as Aztec society and laws. This manuscript is an 18th century copy of a separate 16th century work investigating native customs and government. It contains numerous watercolors depicting Mexican village life, religious ceremonies, and even scenes of cannibalism. While the visual materials may simply reflect Spanish impressions, Mendoza's work nonetheless seems to have been based in part on testimony by native informants.

will
Roger Williams,
A Key Into the Language of America.
London: Gregory Dexter, 1643.

In North America, Roger Williams presents a less static, if idealized, vision of the Narragansetts among whom he settled. Williams's text, which presents itself as an introduction to the Narragansett language, also presents an overview of the customs of Native New England in uncommonly sympathetic terms. Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, maintained a reputation for just land dealings and good relations with the Narragansetts prior to King Philip's War (1675-6). If Williams's brief dialogues and poems do provide some insight into Narragansett culture, they also present an image of natives idealized for English readersa kind of noble savage whose traits and words reveal flaws and insincerities of European Christians, and Massachusetts Puritans in particular.

Print & Native Cultures

Tovar
Juan de Tovar,
Historia de los indios mexicanos.
[with] The Tovar Calendar.
Manuscript in Spanish.
Spain and England, 1830-60.

Indigenous peoples are no simple "other," although it is often possible to gain that impression from early observers as well as from 20th century interpreters. The Caribs that Columbus encountered were very different indeed from the Aztec civilization with which Cortés did battle and from the Maya whom missionaries tried desperately to convert. In eastern North America, Iroquois and Algonquian groups differed politically, socially, and linguistically, as well as in their responses to European colonization. How much can we learn about these distinctive cultures from printed texts and manuscripts?

Some European observers, even those violently opposed to the survival of indigenous traditions, sought to record as well as destroy, and used native informants and scribes to assist them. Their texts can be a resource for information about native cultures. Others, fascinated by native oral cultures, described native speakers and printed their speeches. Not long after the beginning of European colonization, literate natives adopted print in order to write accounts of their own cultures.

Some European colonists and missionaries who sought to suppress and transform native cultures in the Americas also documented those cultures. They often relied upon native informants when constructing their accounts. These texts, which survive in print and in manuscript, provide clues about native cultural survival, and the processes of adaptation and resistance in the colonial world. [See related essay by Louise M. Burkhart]

Juan deTovar, Diego Durán, and Antonio de Mendoza considered this work as antiquarianism and as part of their vocation: to record the disappearing traces of Meso-American civilizations. 16th century Spanish contemporaries knew Tovar, a Jesuit, as the Mexican Cicero. His eloquence, his prowess in mastering indigenous languages, and his industry were renowned. When the Spanish Vice Regent asked him to write an account of the ancient Mexicans for the court in Spain, Tovar was happy to oblige. The manuscript of his substantial history does not survive, but an abstract of it does, along with a Mexican calendar executed by Aztec artists. That abstract and the calendar, once the property of the collector Sir Thomas Phillipps, are now in the John Carter Brown Library. This copy was "transcribed by Elizth. Lady Phillipps 1860 from the unique original in the library of Sir Thos Phillipps, Bart. at Middle Hill 1862."

duran
Diego Durán,
Historia general de las Indias de Nueva España y islas de Tierra Firme.
Mexico City: J.M. Andrade
y F. Escalante, 1867-80.

Diego Durán, born in Mexico to an Aztec mother and a Spanish father, became a Franciscan and set out to measure the possibilities and limits of Spanish missionization. His fragmentary history is divided into three sections: a history of Mexico before the Spanish invasion; native religion; and native calendars and festivals. Durán relied on native informants, probably from the Nahua elite, as he constructed his account. The colored lithographic plates which accompany this 19th century printed edition of the 16th century manuscript are based on Nahuatl drawings. While it deals primarily with pre-conquest history, Durán's text also contains important details about the early post-conquest period, based on native materials which may now be lost

Antonio de Mendoza, a Spanish nobleman, was appointed as the first Viceroy of New Spain in 1535. In his effort on behalf of the Spanish Crown to consolidate the Spanish conquests, Mendoza undertook to survey New Spain, and the Codex Mendoza, compiled c. 1541, records information about Tenochtitlan, as well as Aztec society and laws. This manuscript is an 18th century copy of a separate 16th century work investigating native customs and government. It contains numerous watercolors depicting Mexican village life, religious ceremonies, and even scenes of cannibalism. While the visual materials may simply reflect Spanish impressions, Mendoza's work nonetheless seems to have been based in part on testimony by native informants.

will
Roger Williams,
A Key Into the Language of America.
London: Gregory Dexter, 1643.

In North America, Roger Williams presents a less static, if idealized, vision of the Narragansetts among whom he settled. Williams's text, which presents itself as an introduction to the Narragansett language, also presents an overview of the customs of Native New England in uncommonly sympathetic terms. Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, maintained a reputation for just land dealings and good relations with the Narragansetts prior to King Philip's War (1675-6). If Williams's brief dialogues and poems do provide some insight into Narragansett culture, they also present an image of natives idealized for English readersa kind of noble savage whose traits and words reveal flaws and insincerities of European Christians, and Massachusetts Puritans in particular.

Promotion & Possession

Christopher Columbus, De insulis nuper in mari Indico repertis. Bound with Carlo Verardi, In laudem...Ferdinandi Hispaniarum regis... Basel: Johann Bergmann de Olpe, 1494.
Christopher Columbus,
De insulis nuper in mari Indico repertis.
Bound with Carlo Verardi, In laudem...
Ferdinandi Hispaniarum regis...

Basel: Johann Bergmann de Olpe, 1494.

Possession, the notion that European explorers could claim ownership of territories in the New World on behalf of their monarchs, shaped the encounters between Europeans and natives of the Americas. And for Europeans, print legitimated possession. By 1494, news of the New World was in print in Europe, and by the 16th century, European readers developed a keen appetite for American discoveries and conquests.

Printed texts accelerated the European push for colonization. Narratives of the conquests of "New Spain"Mexico, Central America, and Perugenerated Spanish enthusiasm for a wave of colonization and missionization. Those same accounts fueled English desires for colonies and moved the French to claim "New France" further north. European writers linked the fate of empires to the success of their colonies, while promoters relied on print to render colonial outposts attractive to would-be emigrants.

What most impressed contemporaries about the New World was not its exoticism but the fact of its rapid incorporation into the Spanish empire. For the Spanish, the right to possess that which Colombus had discovered was implicit from the beginning.

This second illustrated edition of Columbus's letter announcing his voyage to the Caribbean is the first to contain representations of the New World itself. It was translated from the Spanish into Latin by Leander de Cosco. Between 1493 and 1500, the letter went through some twenty editions. Columbus's brief account of his "discovery" of "a new island in the Indian Ocean" reflects the press of business and belies the complex, learned man this Genoese Admiral really was. The letter's straightforward reportorial style conceals a host of assumptions that informed Columbus's expedition. He came, he saw, he possessedin the name of the Spanish Crown. Columbus's letter occupies only seven and one-half leaves of this volume. The first, and presumably most important, text in this edition is a prose piece by Verardi on Ferdinand of Aragon's 1492 capture of Granada. This portrait of Ferdinand is the frontispiece, displayed on the left.

Religion & Print

torquemada
Juan de Torquemada,
Los veinte y un libros rituales y
Monarchia Indiana...

Seville: Matthias Clauijo, 1615.

 

If possession was one assumption which shaped European encounters with the New World, conversion of native peoples to Christianity was another. To claim territory for a Christian ruler was at the same time to proclaim its indigenous inhabitants Christian. Europe's colonial expansion brought in its wake a burst of missionary activity, accompanied by published accounts of religious successes and obstacles. For members of missionary orders arriving in the New World, their work was incomplete if it was not documented. Many wrote long letters to their superiors, who in turn compiled accounts of the missions. The tone of these works ranges from millenialist optimism to realism and even pessimism about the limits of conversion.

Juan de Torquemada's massive history reviews Franciscan missions throughout New Spain, while the Dominican Remesal focuses on missionary struggles to convert the Maya. Torquemada's history articulates the limits of assimilation on the uncertain frontiers of the Spanish empire. Not only was Torquemada, a Franciscan, interested in indigenous languages and religious ceremonies, but he also attempted to reconstruct the distant past of indigenous peoples by gathering evidence from extant monuments, art, and codices, as well as from interviews with natives. Torquemada envisioned the Aztec world as a grand "monarchia," and in so doing he gave coherence and shape to the disparate aspects of its society. As a missionary, Torquemada was also intensely interested in the progress of the gospel and in the labors of his fellow Franciscans. Much of the third volume of his text is given over to chronicling the history of the order in the New World and to writing the biographies of his predecessors.

In New France, Gabriel Sagard's history of the Franciscan Récollets was published just as the Jesuits began their more long-lasting foray into missionizing and publishing. Sagard published his review of the Récollet missions to Canada and overview of Huron culture in 1632, as his order (a branch of the Franciscans) was being replaced by the Jesuits. His text includes an appended Huron dictionary.

The Jesuit Relations, annually published accounts of Jesuit missionary exploits in Canada, proved immensely popular in France. Part register of baptisms and deaths, part travel narrative, and part ethnographical catalogue, the Relations seem to have fascinated French readers and inspired other missionaries, like Marie de l'Incarnation, to seek appointments to New France. Their publication continued with few interruptions until 1673. François du Creux printed a digest of the Relations in Latin in 1664.

Jesuits like François du Creux dramatized martyrdoms in Canada. While the Jesuit Relations achieved popularity among francophones, their publication in Latin was a prerequisite to true respectability in the Catholic world. Just as du Creux's Historiae is a digest of multiple Relations, the engraving below is a composite of missionary "martyrdoms" in New France. Its depiction of Indians as murderous savages resembles contemporary European representations. Jesuit deaths were in fact more complex affairs: some were casualties of war, while others were put to death by Indians who suspected them of witchcraft after hitherto-unknown diseases spread through native communities.

du creux
François du Creux,
Historiae Canadensis, sev Novae-Franciae libri decem...
Paris: Sebastien Cramoisy, 1664.

 

 

Religion & Print

torquemada
Juan de Torquemada,
Los veinte y un libros rituales y
Monarchia Indiana...

Seville: Matthias Clauijo, 1615.

 

If possession was one assumption which shaped European encounters with the New World, conversion of native peoples to Christianity was another. To claim territory for a Christian ruler was at the same time to proclaim its indigenous inhabitants Christian. Europe's colonial expansion brought in its wake a burst of missionary activity, accompanied by published accounts of religious successes and obstacles. For members of missionary orders arriving in the New World, their work was incomplete if it was not documented. Many wrote long letters to their superiors, who in turn compiled accounts of the missions. The tone of these works ranges from millenialist optimism to realism and even pessimism about the limits of conversion.

Juan de Torquemada's massive history reviews Franciscan missions throughout New Spain, while the Dominican Remesal focuses on missionary struggles to convert the Maya. Torquemada's history articulates the limits of assimilation on the uncertain frontiers of the Spanish empire. Not only was Torquemada, a Franciscan, interested in indigenous languages and religious ceremonies, but he also attempted to reconstruct the distant past of indigenous peoples by gathering evidence from extant monuments, art, and codices, as well as from interviews with natives. Torquemada envisioned the Aztec world as a grand "monarchia," and in so doing he gave coherence and shape to the disparate aspects of its society. As a missionary, Torquemada was also intensely interested in the progress of the gospel and in the labors of his fellow Franciscans. Much of the third volume of his text is given over to chronicling the history of the order in the New World and to writing the biographies of his predecessors.

In New France, Gabriel Sagard's history of the Franciscan Récollets was published just as the Jesuits began their more long-lasting foray into missionizing and publishing. Sagard published his review of the Récollet missions to Canada and overview of Huron culture in 1632, as his order (a branch of the Franciscans) was being replaced by the Jesuits. His text includes an appended Huron dictionary.

The Jesuit Relations, annually published accounts of Jesuit missionary exploits in Canada, proved immensely popular in France. Part register of baptisms and deaths, part travel narrative, and part ethnographical catalogue, the Relations seem to have fascinated French readers and inspired other missionaries, like Marie de l'Incarnation, to seek appointments to New France. Their publication continued with few interruptions until 1673. François du Creux printed a digest of the Relations in Latin in 1664.

Jesuits like François du Creux dramatized martyrdoms in Canada. While the Jesuit Relations achieved popularity among francophones, their publication in Latin was a prerequisite to true respectability in the Catholic world. Just as du Creux's Historiae is a digest of multiple Relations, the engraving below is a composite of missionary "martyrdoms" in New France. Its depiction of Indians as murderous savages resembles contemporary European representations. Jesuit deaths were in fact more complex affairs: some were casualties of war, while others were put to death by Indians who suspected them of witchcraft after hitherto-unknown diseases spread through native communities.

du creux
François du Creux,
Historiae Canadensis, sev Novae-Franciae libri decem...
Paris: Sebastien Cramoisy, 1664.

 

 

Religion & Print

torquemada
Juan de Torquemada,
Los veinte y un libros rituales y
Monarchia Indiana...

Seville: Matthias Clauijo, 1615.

 

If possession was one assumption which shaped European encounters with the New World, conversion of native peoples to Christianity was another. To claim territory for a Christian ruler was at the same time to proclaim its indigenous inhabitants Christian. Europe's colonial expansion brought in its wake a burst of missionary activity, accompanied by published accounts of religious successes and obstacles. For members of missionary orders arriving in the New World, their work was incomplete if it was not documented. Many wrote long letters to their superiors, who in turn compiled accounts of the missions. The tone of these works ranges from millenialist optimism to realism and even pessimism about the limits of conversion.

Juan de Torquemada's massive history reviews Franciscan missions throughout New Spain, while the Dominican Remesal focuses on missionary struggles to convert the Maya. Torquemada's history articulates the limits of assimilation on the uncertain frontiers of the Spanish empire. Not only was Torquemada, a Franciscan, interested in indigenous languages and religious ceremonies, but he also attempted to reconstruct the distant past of indigenous peoples by gathering evidence from extant monuments, art, and codices, as well as from interviews with natives. Torquemada envisioned the Aztec world as a grand "monarchia," and in so doing he gave coherence and shape to the disparate aspects of its society. As a missionary, Torquemada was also intensely interested in the progress of the gospel and in the labors of his fellow Franciscans. Much of the third volume of his text is given over to chronicling the history of the order in the New World and to writing the biographies of his predecessors.

In New France, Gabriel Sagard's history of the Franciscan Récollets was published just as the Jesuits began their more long-lasting foray into missionizing and publishing. Sagard published his review of the Récollet missions to Canada and overview of Huron culture in 1632, as his order (a branch of the Franciscans) was being replaced by the Jesuits. His text includes an appended Huron dictionary.

The Jesuit Relations, annually published accounts of Jesuit missionary exploits in Canada, proved immensely popular in France. Part register of baptisms and deaths, part travel narrative, and part ethnographical catalogue, the Relations seem to have fascinated French readers and inspired other missionaries, like Marie de l'Incarnation, to seek appointments to New France. Their publication continued with few interruptions until 1673. François du Creux printed a digest of the Relations in Latin in 1664.

Jesuits like François du Creux dramatized martyrdoms in Canada. While the Jesuit Relations achieved popularity among francophones, their publication in Latin was a prerequisite to true respectability in the Catholic world. Just as du Creux's Historiae is a digest of multiple Relations, the engraving below is a composite of missionary "martyrdoms" in New France. Its depiction of Indians as murderous savages resembles contemporary European representations. Jesuit deaths were in fact more complex affairs: some were casualties of war, while others were put to death by Indians who suspected them of witchcraft after hitherto-unknown diseases spread through native communities.

du creux
François du Creux,
Historiae Canadensis, sev Novae-Franciae libri decem...
Paris: Sebastien Cramoisy, 1664.

 

 

Religion & Print

torquemada
Juan de Torquemada,
Los veinte y un libros rituales y
Monarchia Indiana...

Seville: Matthias Clauijo, 1615.

 

If possession was one assumption which shaped European encounters with the New World, conversion of native peoples to Christianity was another. To claim territory for a Christian ruler was at the same time to proclaim its indigenous inhabitants Christian. Europe's colonial expansion brought in its wake a burst of missionary activity, accompanied by published accounts of religious successes and obstacles. For members of missionary orders arriving in the New World, their work was incomplete if it was not documented. Many wrote long letters to their superiors, who in turn compiled accounts of the missions. The tone of these works ranges from millenialist optimism to realism and even pessimism about the limits of conversion.

Juan de Torquemada's massive history reviews Franciscan missions throughout New Spain, while the Dominican Remesal focuses on missionary struggles to convert the Maya. Torquemada's history articulates the limits of assimilation on the uncertain frontiers of the Spanish empire. Not only was Torquemada, a Franciscan, interested in indigenous languages and religious ceremonies, but he also attempted to reconstruct the distant past of indigenous peoples by gathering evidence from extant monuments, art, and codices, as well as from interviews with natives. Torquemada envisioned the Aztec world as a grand "monarchia," and in so doing he gave coherence and shape to the disparate aspects of its society. As a missionary, Torquemada was also intensely interested in the progress of the gospel and in the labors of his fellow Franciscans. Much of the third volume of his text is given over to chronicling the history of the order in the New World and to writing the biographies of his predecessors.

In New France, Gabriel Sagard's history of the Franciscan Récollets was published just as the Jesuits began their more long-lasting foray into missionizing and publishing. Sagard published his review of the Récollet missions to Canada and overview of Huron culture in 1632, as his order (a branch of the Franciscans) was being replaced by the Jesuits. His text includes an appended Huron dictionary.

The Jesuit Relations, annually published accounts of Jesuit missionary exploits in Canada, proved immensely popular in France. Part register of baptisms and deaths, part travel narrative, and part ethnographical catalogue, the Relations seem to have fascinated French readers and inspired other missionaries, like Marie de l'Incarnation, to seek appointments to New France. Their publication continued with few interruptions until 1673. François du Creux printed a digest of the Relations in Latin in 1664.

Jesuits like François du Creux dramatized martyrdoms in Canada. While the Jesuit Relations achieved popularity among francophones, their publication in Latin was a prerequisite to true respectability in the Catholic world. Just as du Creux's Historiae is a digest of multiple Relations, the engraving below is a composite of missionary "martyrdoms" in New France. Its depiction of Indians as murderous savages resembles contemporary European representations. Jesuit deaths were in fact more complex affairs: some were casualties of war, while others were put to death by Indians who suspected them of witchcraft after hitherto-unknown diseases spread through native communities.

du creux
François du Creux,
Historiae Canadensis, sev Novae-Franciae libri decem...
Paris: Sebastien Cramoisy, 1664.

 

 

Religion & Print

torquemada
Juan de Torquemada,
Los veinte y un libros rituales y
Monarchia Indiana...

Seville: Matthias Clauijo, 1615.

 

If possession was one assumption which shaped European encounters with the New World, conversion of native peoples to Christianity was another. To claim territory for a Christian ruler was at the same time to proclaim its indigenous inhabitants Christian. Europe's colonial expansion brought in its wake a burst of missionary activity, accompanied by published accounts of religious successes and obstacles. For members of missionary orders arriving in the New World, their work was incomplete if it was not documented. Many wrote long letters to their superiors, who in turn compiled accounts of the missions. The tone of these works ranges from millenialist optimism to realism and even pessimism about the limits of conversion.

Juan de Torquemada's massive history reviews Franciscan missions throughout New Spain, while the Dominican Remesal focuses on missionary struggles to convert the Maya. Torquemada's history articulates the limits of assimilation on the uncertain frontiers of the Spanish empire. Not only was Torquemada, a Franciscan, interested in indigenous languages and religious ceremonies, but he also attempted to reconstruct the distant past of indigenous peoples by gathering evidence from extant monuments, art, and codices, as well as from interviews with natives. Torquemada envisioned the Aztec world as a grand "monarchia," and in so doing he gave coherence and shape to the disparate aspects of its society. As a missionary, Torquemada was also intensely interested in the progress of the gospel and in the labors of his fellow Franciscans. Much of the third volume of his text is given over to chronicling the history of the order in the New World and to writing the biographies of his predecessors.

In New France, Gabriel Sagard's history of the Franciscan Récollets was published just as the Jesuits began their more long-lasting foray into missionizing and publishing. Sagard published his review of the Récollet missions to Canada and overview of Huron culture in 1632, as his order (a branch of the Franciscans) was being replaced by the Jesuits. His text includes an appended Huron dictionary.

The Jesuit Relations, annually published accounts of Jesuit missionary exploits in Canada, proved immensely popular in France. Part register of baptisms and deaths, part travel narrative, and part ethnographical catalogue, the Relations seem to have fascinated French readers and inspired other missionaries, like Marie de l'Incarnation, to seek appointments to New France. Their publication continued with few interruptions until 1673. François du Creux printed a digest of the Relations in Latin in 1664.

Jesuits like François du Creux dramatized martyrdoms in Canada. While the Jesuit Relations achieved popularity among francophones, their publication in Latin was a prerequisite to true respectability in the Catholic world. Just as du Creux's Historiae is a digest of multiple Relations, the engraving below is a composite of missionary "martyrdoms" in New France. Its depiction of Indians as murderous savages resembles contemporary European representations. Jesuit deaths were in fact more complex affairs: some were casualties of war, while others were put to death by Indians who suspected them of witchcraft after hitherto-unknown diseases spread through native communities.

du creux
François du Creux,
Historiae Canadensis, sev Novae-Franciae libri decem...
Paris: Sebastien Cramoisy, 1664.

 

 

Religion & Print

torquemada
Juan de Torquemada,
Los veinte y un libros rituales y
Monarchia Indiana...

Seville: Matthias Clauijo, 1615.

 

If possession was one assumption which shaped European encounters with the New World, conversion of native peoples to Christianity was another. To claim territory for a Christian ruler was at the same time to proclaim its indigenous inhabitants Christian. Europe's colonial expansion brought in its wake a burst of missionary activity, accompanied by published accounts of religious successes and obstacles. For members of missionary orders arriving in the New World, their work was incomplete if it was not documented. Many wrote long letters to their superiors, who in turn compiled accounts of the missions. The tone of these works ranges from millenialist optimism to realism and even pessimism about the limits of conversion.

Juan de Torquemada's massive history reviews Franciscan missions throughout New Spain, while the Dominican Remesal focuses on missionary struggles to convert the Maya. Torquemada's history articulates the limits of assimilation on the uncertain frontiers of the Spanish empire. Not only was Torquemada, a Franciscan, interested in indigenous languages and religious ceremonies, but he also attempted to reconstruct the distant past of indigenous peoples by gathering evidence from extant monuments, art, and codices, as well as from interviews with natives. Torquemada envisioned the Aztec world as a grand "monarchia," and in so doing he gave coherence and shape to the disparate aspects of its society. As a missionary, Torquemada was also intensely interested in the progress of the gospel and in the labors of his fellow Franciscans. Much of the third volume of his text is given over to chronicling the history of the order in the New World and to writing the biographies of his predecessors.

In New France, Gabriel Sagard's history of the Franciscan Récollets was published just as the Jesuits began their more long-lasting foray into missionizing and publishing. Sagard published his review of the Récollet missions to Canada and overview of Huron culture in 1632, as his order (a branch of the Franciscans) was being replaced by the Jesuits. His text includes an appended Huron dictionary.

The Jesuit Relations, annually published accounts of Jesuit missionary exploits in Canada, proved immensely popular in France. Part register of baptisms and deaths, part travel narrative, and part ethnographical catalogue, the Relations seem to have fascinated French readers and inspired other missionaries, like Marie de l'Incarnation, to seek appointments to New France. Their publication continued with few interruptions until 1673. François du Creux printed a digest of the Relations in Latin in 1664.

Jesuits like François du Creux dramatized martyrdoms in Canada. While the Jesuit Relations achieved popularity among francophones, their publication in Latin was a prerequisite to true respectability in the Catholic world. Just as du Creux's Historiae is a digest of multiple Relations, the engraving below is a composite of missionary "martyrdoms" in New France. Its depiction of Indians as murderous savages resembles contemporary European representations. Jesuit deaths were in fact more complex affairs: some were casualties of war, while others were put to death by Indians who suspected them of witchcraft after hitherto-unknown diseases spread through native communities.

du creux
François du Creux,
Historiae Canadensis, sev Novae-Franciae libri decem...
Paris: Sebastien Cramoisy, 1664.

 

 

Viewers & the Viewed

debry
René de Laudonnière,
Brevis narratio eorum quae in
Floridae Americae provincia Gallis acciderunt.

Frankfurt: Theodor de Bry, 1591.

Printed images disseminated preconceptions and misconceptions about the New World to eager European audiences. While often the accompaniment of textual accounts, images also came to circulate independently of texts, recurring frequently across Europe. Fabrications though they often were, early impressions shaped European understanding of Native American peoples, their histories, and their lands. They are dramatic representations which reveal less about indigenous peoples than they do about European preoccupations.

Yet the images circulating in Europe partook over time of a variety of appearances and representations that increasingly required a more nuanced understanding than the term "Indian" seemed to permit. The image of the "Indian" gradually became images of Indians: savages, barbarians, and pagans; noble savages, as popularized by de Bry; Edenic innocents, in the version of the Black Legends; or builders of ancient cultures. These and other representations of native populations created a confusing mosaic for those who insisted on clinging to a totalizing notion of otherness.

For his volume on Florida, de Bry relied on the drawings of Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, a member of the short-lived French colony there. Le Moyne's illustrations as rendered by de Bry depict a noble, statuesque, industrious people, primarily engaged in a variety of quotidian activities. If there is a propagandistic aspect to the illustrations, it is their determination to present the French and the Indians as working harmoniously together. Unlike the Spanish, the illustrations suggest, the French came to the New World in friendship.

Viewers & the Viewed

debry
René de Laudonnière,
Brevis narratio eorum quae in
Floridae Americae provincia Gallis acciderunt.

Frankfurt: Theodor de Bry, 1591.

Printed images disseminated preconceptions and misconceptions about the New World to eager European audiences. While often the accompaniment of textual accounts, images also came to circulate independently of texts, recurring frequently across Europe. Fabrications though they often were, early impressions shaped European understanding of Native American peoples, their histories, and their lands. They are dramatic representations which reveal less about indigenous peoples than they do about European preoccupations.

Yet the images circulating in Europe partook over time of a variety of appearances and representations that increasingly required a more nuanced understanding than the term "Indian" seemed to permit. The image of the "Indian" gradually became images of Indians: savages, barbarians, and pagans; noble savages, as popularized by de Bry; Edenic innocents, in the version of the Black Legends; or builders of ancient cultures. These and other representations of native populations created a confusing mosaic for those who insisted on clinging to a totalizing notion of otherness.

For his volume on Florida, de Bry relied on the drawings of Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, a member of the short-lived French colony there. Le Moyne's illustrations as rendered by de Bry depict a noble, statuesque, industrious people, primarily engaged in a variety of quotidian activities. If there is a propagandistic aspect to the illustrations, it is their determination to present the French and the Indians as working harmoniously together. Unlike the Spanish, the illustrations suggest, the French came to the New World in friendship.

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

del rio
Antonio del Rio,
Description of the Ruins of an
Ancient City Discovered near
Palenque in the Kingdom of Guatemala.

London: Henry Berthoud, 1822.

While most sought to provide valuable information, they also relegated these cultures to the realm of "antiquities.” For 18th and 19th century Europeans, most American native cultures seemed to belong to a distant past. But the traces of those cultures, their "antiquities," fascinated some audiences. Searching for "antiquities" became fashionable, although the results of searches could take on vastly different forms in print. Antonio del Rio’s Mayan discoveries provoked a surge of archaeological interest in the Maya.

In 1787 an obscure soldier named Antonio del Rio undertook the excavation of a Maya ruin near Palenque. He duly reported back on his mission and seemed unimpressed by what he considered evidence of rampant paganism and idolatry. Had it not been for Berthoud, the publisher, del Rio's letter would have been forgotten. Capitalizing on public interest in American indigenous cultures as well as in Romantic ruins, Berthoud published the letter along with a suite of plates of Mayan scenes.

Antonio de León y Gama's account of excavation in Mexico City carried political overtones. In 1790, while digging up the zócalo of Mexico City as part of a drainage project, workers discovered stones which were thought to relate to the Aztec calendar. The discovery of these antiquities coincided with a rising crescendo of Mexican nationalism and thus had great symbolic value. As León y Gama describes them, the stones are works of art and genius on a par with any European creations. For him, the stones epitomize the cultural sophistication of the Aztecs and are icons to hurl back at the Spanish.

In the 19th century, the labors of European antiquarians led to the recovery of manuscripts by Diego de Landa and other early missionaries. As the Franciscan Provincial in the Yucatan, Landa had seen in the Mayan Indians not simple converts to the true faith but duplicitious idolaters unable to surrender their attachments to a pagan past. In order to eradicate all vestiges of Mayan paganism, Landa sought to understand the nature of Mayan forms and ceremonies and their persistence. He brought in suspects for interrogation, instituted an Inquisition, and, in a spectacular auto-da-fé, destroyed thousands of "idols." For his troubles, Landa was recalled to Spain by his superiors. There he wrote his manuscript, probably for the benefit of future missionaries. The heart of the manuscript consists of Landa's long descriptions of the Maya calendar and its glyphs.

The most prominent of the antiquarians were Alexander Humboldt, who produced lavishly illustrated folios, and Lord Kingsborough, who invested years in amassing and publishing Mexican codices. Humboldt's volume is elaborate and methodically planned. In the text and nearly seventy plates included in the volume, Humboldt gives his readers a thorough tour of the antiquities of Mexico and Peru. He also printed selections from important early codices in European collections. Illustrations of vistas, of peoples, and of antiquities were executed under Humboldt's supervision with consummate care. Humboldt sought to present artifacts in their natural contexts, in order to imply the ways in which nature and culture work together toward a higher unity. For Humboldt, the discovery of New World antiquities was cause for a celebration of human genius, but also a colonialist regret at the decline of non-European civilizations.

Edward King (Viscount Kingsborough) was obsessed by the pre-Columbian civilizations of Mexico. He wanted nothing less than to possess the Mexican past and make it available to others. To that end, he hired artists to visit the major collections of Europe and make copies of important codices, and he sought to acquire as many as he could. The result was a lavish set of nine folio volumes, published at King's own expense over nearly twenty yearsa set without parallel in Meso-American scholarship. King was a poor scholar, however, and his forays into Mexican history were pastiches of myth and wild speculation. His project bankrupted him, and he spent his last years in a Dublin prison.

In North America, antiquarian scholars also excavated sites and speculated on the histories of Indian tribes, often relying more on imagination than on data. Rafinesque created a mythology for the Delaware or Lenni Lenape Indians, the Walam Olum, which has fascinated readers since its "discovery." The Walam Olum purports to be a pictographic record of the Delaware or Lenni Lenape Indians. However, Rafinesque's skills as a linguist, and his knowledge of Delaware Indians' oral histories, have come to be doubted. His Walum Olam may not be the key to Delaware mythology, but instead an antiquarian's attempt to write what he could not locate through research.

walam
Constantine Samuel Rafinesque,
Wallam Olum: First and Second Parts of the Painted and Engraved Traditions of the Linnilinape.
Manuscript: 1833.

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

del rio
Antonio del Rio,
Description of the Ruins of an
Ancient City Discovered near
Palenque in the Kingdom of Guatemala.

London: Henry Berthoud, 1822.

While most sought to provide valuable information, they also relegated these cultures to the realm of "antiquities.” For 18th and 19th century Europeans, most American native cultures seemed to belong to a distant past. But the traces of those cultures, their "antiquities," fascinated some audiences. Searching for "antiquities" became fashionable, although the results of searches could take on vastly different forms in print. Antonio del Rio’s Mayan discoveries provoked a surge of archaeological interest in the Maya.

In 1787 an obscure soldier named Antonio del Rio undertook the excavation of a Maya ruin near Palenque. He duly reported back on his mission and seemed unimpressed by what he considered evidence of rampant paganism and idolatry. Had it not been for Berthoud, the publisher, del Rio's letter would have been forgotten. Capitalizing on public interest in American indigenous cultures as well as in Romantic ruins, Berthoud published the letter along with a suite of plates of Mayan scenes.

Antonio de León y Gama's account of excavation in Mexico City carried political overtones. In 1790, while digging up the zócalo of Mexico City as part of a drainage project, workers discovered stones which were thought to relate to the Aztec calendar. The discovery of these antiquities coincided with a rising crescendo of Mexican nationalism and thus had great symbolic value. As León y Gama describes them, the stones are works of art and genius on a par with any European creations. For him, the stones epitomize the cultural sophistication of the Aztecs and are icons to hurl back at the Spanish.

In the 19th century, the labors of European antiquarians led to the recovery of manuscripts by Diego de Landa and other early missionaries. As the Franciscan Provincial in the Yucatan, Landa had seen in the Mayan Indians not simple converts to the true faith but duplicitious idolaters unable to surrender their attachments to a pagan past. In order to eradicate all vestiges of Mayan paganism, Landa sought to understand the nature of Mayan forms and ceremonies and their persistence. He brought in suspects for interrogation, instituted an Inquisition, and, in a spectacular auto-da-fé, destroyed thousands of "idols." For his troubles, Landa was recalled to Spain by his superiors. There he wrote his manuscript, probably for the benefit of future missionaries. The heart of the manuscript consists of Landa's long descriptions of the Maya calendar and its glyphs.

The most prominent of the antiquarians were Alexander Humboldt, who produced lavishly illustrated folios, and Lord Kingsborough, who invested years in amassing and publishing Mexican codices. Humboldt's volume is elaborate and methodically planned. In the text and nearly seventy plates included in the volume, Humboldt gives his readers a thorough tour of the antiquities of Mexico and Peru. He also printed selections from important early codices in European collections. Illustrations of vistas, of peoples, and of antiquities were executed under Humboldt's supervision with consummate care. Humboldt sought to present artifacts in their natural contexts, in order to imply the ways in which nature and culture work together toward a higher unity. For Humboldt, the discovery of New World antiquities was cause for a celebration of human genius, but also a colonialist regret at the decline of non-European civilizations.

Edward King (Viscount Kingsborough) was obsessed by the pre-Columbian civilizations of Mexico. He wanted nothing less than to possess the Mexican past and make it available to others. To that end, he hired artists to visit the major collections of Europe and make copies of important codices, and he sought to acquire as many as he could. The result was a lavish set of nine folio volumes, published at King's own expense over nearly twenty yearsa set without parallel in Meso-American scholarship. King was a poor scholar, however, and his forays into Mexican history were pastiches of myth and wild speculation. His project bankrupted him, and he spent his last years in a Dublin prison.

In North America, antiquarian scholars also excavated sites and speculated on the histories of Indian tribes, often relying more on imagination than on data. Rafinesque created a mythology for the Delaware or Lenni Lenape Indians, the Walam Olum, which has fascinated readers since its "discovery." The Walam Olum purports to be a pictographic record of the Delaware or Lenni Lenape Indians. However, Rafinesque's skills as a linguist, and his knowledge of Delaware Indians' oral histories, have come to be doubted. His Walum Olam may not be the key to Delaware mythology, but instead an antiquarian's attempt to write what he could not locate through research.

walam
Constantine Samuel Rafinesque,
Wallam Olum: First and Second Parts of the Painted and Engraved Traditions of the Linnilinape.
Manuscript: 1833.

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

del rio
Antonio del Rio,
Description of the Ruins of an
Ancient City Discovered near
Palenque in the Kingdom of Guatemala.

London: Henry Berthoud, 1822.

While most sought to provide valuable information, they also relegated these cultures to the realm of "antiquities.” For 18th and 19th century Europeans, most American native cultures seemed to belong to a distant past. But the traces of those cultures, their "antiquities," fascinated some audiences. Searching for "antiquities" became fashionable, although the results of searches could take on vastly different forms in print. Antonio del Rio’s Mayan discoveries provoked a surge of archaeological interest in the Maya.

In 1787 an obscure soldier named Antonio del Rio undertook the excavation of a Maya ruin near Palenque. He duly reported back on his mission and seemed unimpressed by what he considered evidence of rampant paganism and idolatry. Had it not been for Berthoud, the publisher, del Rio's letter would have been forgotten. Capitalizing on public interest in American indigenous cultures as well as in Romantic ruins, Berthoud published the letter along with a suite of plates of Mayan scenes.

Antonio de León y Gama's account of excavation in Mexico City carried political overtones. In 1790, while digging up the zócalo of Mexico City as part of a drainage project, workers discovered stones which were thought to relate to the Aztec calendar. The discovery of these antiquities coincided with a rising crescendo of Mexican nationalism and thus had great symbolic value. As León y Gama describes them, the stones are works of art and genius on a par with any European creations. For him, the stones epitomize the cultural sophistication of the Aztecs and are icons to hurl back at the Spanish.

In the 19th century, the labors of European antiquarians led to the recovery of manuscripts by Diego de Landa and other early missionaries. As the Franciscan Provincial in the Yucatan, Landa had seen in the Mayan Indians not simple converts to the true faith but duplicitious idolaters unable to surrender their attachments to a pagan past. In order to eradicate all vestiges of Mayan paganism, Landa sought to understand the nature of Mayan forms and ceremonies and their persistence. He brought in suspects for interrogation, instituted an Inquisition, and, in a spectacular auto-da-fé, destroyed thousands of "idols." For his troubles, Landa was recalled to Spain by his superiors. There he wrote his manuscript, probably for the benefit of future missionaries. The heart of the manuscript consists of Landa's long descriptions of the Maya calendar and its glyphs.

The most prominent of the antiquarians were Alexander Humboldt, who produced lavishly illustrated folios, and Lord Kingsborough, who invested years in amassing and publishing Mexican codices. Humboldt's volume is elaborate and methodically planned. In the text and nearly seventy plates included in the volume, Humboldt gives his readers a thorough tour of the antiquities of Mexico and Peru. He also printed selections from important early codices in European collections. Illustrations of vistas, of peoples, and of antiquities were executed under Humboldt's supervision with consummate care. Humboldt sought to present artifacts in their natural contexts, in order to imply the ways in which nature and culture work together toward a higher unity. For Humboldt, the discovery of New World antiquities was cause for a celebration of human genius, but also a colonialist regret at the decline of non-European civilizations.

Edward King (Viscount Kingsborough) was obsessed by the pre-Columbian civilizations of Mexico. He wanted nothing less than to possess the Mexican past and make it available to others. To that end, he hired artists to visit the major collections of Europe and make copies of important codices, and he sought to acquire as many as he could. The result was a lavish set of nine folio volumes, published at King's own expense over nearly twenty yearsa set without parallel in Meso-American scholarship. King was a poor scholar, however, and his forays into Mexican history were pastiches of myth and wild speculation. His project bankrupted him, and he spent his last years in a Dublin prison.

In North America, antiquarian scholars also excavated sites and speculated on the histories of Indian tribes, often relying more on imagination than on data. Rafinesque created a mythology for the Delaware or Lenni Lenape Indians, the Walam Olum, which has fascinated readers since its "discovery." The Walam Olum purports to be a pictographic record of the Delaware or Lenni Lenape Indians. However, Rafinesque's skills as a linguist, and his knowledge of Delaware Indians' oral histories, have come to be doubted. His Walum Olam may not be the key to Delaware mythology, but instead an antiquarian's attempt to write what he could not locate through research.

walam
Constantine Samuel Rafinesque,
Wallam Olum: First and Second Parts of the Painted and Engraved Traditions of the Linnilinape.
Manuscript: 1833.

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

del rio
Antonio del Rio,
Description of the Ruins of an
Ancient City Discovered near
Palenque in the Kingdom of Guatemala.

London: Henry Berthoud, 1822.

While most sought to provide valuable information, they also relegated these cultures to the realm of "antiquities.” For 18th and 19th century Europeans, most American native cultures seemed to belong to a distant past. But the traces of those cultures, their "antiquities," fascinated some audiences. Searching for "antiquities" became fashionable, although the results of searches could take on vastly different forms in print. Antonio del Rio’s Mayan discoveries provoked a surge of archaeological interest in the Maya.

In 1787 an obscure soldier named Antonio del Rio undertook the excavation of a Maya ruin near Palenque. He duly reported back on his mission and seemed unimpressed by what he considered evidence of rampant paganism and idolatry. Had it not been for Berthoud, the publisher, del Rio's letter would have been forgotten. Capitalizing on public interest in American indigenous cultures as well as in Romantic ruins, Berthoud published the letter along with a suite of plates of Mayan scenes.

Antonio de León y Gama's account of excavation in Mexico City carried political overtones. In 1790, while digging up the zócalo of Mexico City as part of a drainage project, workers discovered stones which were thought to relate to the Aztec calendar. The discovery of these antiquities coincided with a rising crescendo of Mexican nationalism and thus had great symbolic value. As León y Gama describes them, the stones are works of art and genius on a par with any European creations. For him, the stones epitomize the cultural sophistication of the Aztecs and are icons to hurl back at the Spanish.

In the 19th century, the labors of European antiquarians led to the recovery of manuscripts by Diego de Landa and other early missionaries. As the Franciscan Provincial in the Yucatan, Landa had seen in the Mayan Indians not simple converts to the true faith but duplicitious idolaters unable to surrender their attachments to a pagan past. In order to eradicate all vestiges of Mayan paganism, Landa sought to understand the nature of Mayan forms and ceremonies and their persistence. He brought in suspects for interrogation, instituted an Inquisition, and, in a spectacular auto-da-fé, destroyed thousands of "idols." For his troubles, Landa was recalled to Spain by his superiors. There he wrote his manuscript, probably for the benefit of future missionaries. The heart of the manuscript consists of Landa's long descriptions of the Maya calendar and its glyphs.

The most prominent of the antiquarians were Alexander Humboldt, who produced lavishly illustrated folios, and Lord Kingsborough, who invested years in amassing and publishing Mexican codices. Humboldt's volume is elaborate and methodically planned. In the text and nearly seventy plates included in the volume, Humboldt gives his readers a thorough tour of the antiquities of Mexico and Peru. He also printed selections from important early codices in European collections. Illustrations of vistas, of peoples, and of antiquities were executed under Humboldt's supervision with consummate care. Humboldt sought to present artifacts in their natural contexts, in order to imply the ways in which nature and culture work together toward a higher unity. For Humboldt, the discovery of New World antiquities was cause for a celebration of human genius, but also a colonialist regret at the decline of non-European civilizations.

Edward King (Viscount Kingsborough) was obsessed by the pre-Columbian civilizations of Mexico. He wanted nothing less than to possess the Mexican past and make it available to others. To that end, he hired artists to visit the major collections of Europe and make copies of important codices, and he sought to acquire as many as he could. The result was a lavish set of nine folio volumes, published at King's own expense over nearly twenty yearsa set without parallel in Meso-American scholarship. King was a poor scholar, however, and his forays into Mexican history were pastiches of myth and wild speculation. His project bankrupted him, and he spent his last years in a Dublin prison.

In North America, antiquarian scholars also excavated sites and speculated on the histories of Indian tribes, often relying more on imagination than on data. Rafinesque created a mythology for the Delaware or Lenni Lenape Indians, the Walam Olum, which has fascinated readers since its "discovery." The Walam Olum purports to be a pictographic record of the Delaware or Lenni Lenape Indians. However, Rafinesque's skills as a linguist, and his knowledge of Delaware Indians' oral histories, have come to be doubted. His Walum Olam may not be the key to Delaware mythology, but instead an antiquarian's attempt to write what he could not locate through research.

walam
Constantine Samuel Rafinesque,
Wallam Olum: First and Second Parts of the Painted and Engraved Traditions of the Linnilinape.
Manuscript: 1833.

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

del rio
Antonio del Rio,
Description of the Ruins of an
Ancient City Discovered near
Palenque in the Kingdom of Guatemala.

London: Henry Berthoud, 1822.

While most sought to provide valuable information, they also relegated these cultures to the realm of "antiquities.” For 18th and 19th century Europeans, most American native cultures seemed to belong to a distant past. But the traces of those cultures, their "antiquities," fascinated some audiences. Searching for "antiquities" became fashionable, although the results of searches could take on vastly different forms in print. Antonio del Rio’s Mayan discoveries provoked a surge of archaeological interest in the Maya.

In 1787 an obscure soldier named Antonio del Rio undertook the excavation of a Maya ruin near Palenque. He duly reported back on his mission and seemed unimpressed by what he considered evidence of rampant paganism and idolatry. Had it not been for Berthoud, the publisher, del Rio's letter would have been forgotten. Capitalizing on public interest in American indigenous cultures as well as in Romantic ruins, Berthoud published the letter along with a suite of plates of Mayan scenes.

Antonio de León y Gama's account of excavation in Mexico City carried political overtones. In 1790, while digging up the zócalo of Mexico City as part of a drainage project, workers discovered stones which were thought to relate to the Aztec calendar. The discovery of these antiquities coincided with a rising crescendo of Mexican nationalism and thus had great symbolic value. As León y Gama describes them, the stones are works of art and genius on a par with any European creations. For him, the stones epitomize the cultural sophistication of the Aztecs and are icons to hurl back at the Spanish.

In the 19th century, the labors of European antiquarians led to the recovery of manuscripts by Diego de Landa and other early missionaries. As the Franciscan Provincial in the Yucatan, Landa had seen in the Mayan Indians not simple converts to the true faith but duplicitious idolaters unable to surrender their attachments to a pagan past. In order to eradicate all vestiges of Mayan paganism, Landa sought to understand the nature of Mayan forms and ceremonies and their persistence. He brought in suspects for interrogation, instituted an Inquisition, and, in a spectacular auto-da-fé, destroyed thousands of "idols." For his troubles, Landa was recalled to Spain by his superiors. There he wrote his manuscript, probably for the benefit of future missionaries. The heart of the manuscript consists of Landa's long descriptions of the Maya calendar and its glyphs.

The most prominent of the antiquarians were Alexander Humboldt, who produced lavishly illustrated folios, and Lord Kingsborough, who invested years in amassing and publishing Mexican codices. Humboldt's volume is elaborate and methodically planned. In the text and nearly seventy plates included in the volume, Humboldt gives his readers a thorough tour of the antiquities of Mexico and Peru. He also printed selections from important early codices in European collections. Illustrations of vistas, of peoples, and of antiquities were executed under Humboldt's supervision with consummate care. Humboldt sought to present artifacts in their natural contexts, in order to imply the ways in which nature and culture work together toward a higher unity. For Humboldt, the discovery of New World antiquities was cause for a celebration of human genius, but also a colonialist regret at the decline of non-European civilizations.

Edward King (Viscount Kingsborough) was obsessed by the pre-Columbian civilizations of Mexico. He wanted nothing less than to possess the Mexican past and make it available to others. To that end, he hired artists to visit the major collections of Europe and make copies of important codices, and he sought to acquire as many as he could. The result was a lavish set of nine folio volumes, published at King's own expense over nearly twenty yearsa set without parallel in Meso-American scholarship. King was a poor scholar, however, and his forays into Mexican history were pastiches of myth and wild speculation. His project bankrupted him, and he spent his last years in a Dublin prison.

In North America, antiquarian scholars also excavated sites and speculated on the histories of Indian tribes, often relying more on imagination than on data. Rafinesque created a mythology for the Delaware or Lenni Lenape Indians, the Walam Olum, which has fascinated readers since its "discovery." The Walam Olum purports to be a pictographic record of the Delaware or Lenni Lenape Indians. However, Rafinesque's skills as a linguist, and his knowledge of Delaware Indians' oral histories, have come to be doubted. His Walum Olam may not be the key to Delaware mythology, but instead an antiquarian's attempt to write what he could not locate through research.

walam
Constantine Samuel Rafinesque,
Wallam Olum: First and Second Parts of the Painted and Engraved Traditions of the Linnilinape.
Manuscript: 1833.

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

del rio
Antonio del Rio,
Description of the Ruins of an
Ancient City Discovered near
Palenque in the Kingdom of Guatemala.

London: Henry Berthoud, 1822.

While most sought to provide valuable information, they also relegated these cultures to the realm of "antiquities.” For 18th and 19th century Europeans, most American native cultures seemed to belong to a distant past. But the traces of those cultures, their "antiquities," fascinated some audiences. Searching for "antiquities" became fashionable, although the results of searches could take on vastly different forms in print. Antonio del Rio’s Mayan discoveries provoked a surge of archaeological interest in the Maya.

In 1787 an obscure soldier named Antonio del Rio undertook the excavation of a Maya ruin near Palenque. He duly reported back on his mission and seemed unimpressed by what he considered evidence of rampant paganism and idolatry. Had it not been for Berthoud, the publisher, del Rio's letter would have been forgotten. Capitalizing on public interest in American indigenous cultures as well as in Romantic ruins, Berthoud published the letter along with a suite of plates of Mayan scenes.

Antonio de León y Gama's account of excavation in Mexico City carried political overtones. In 1790, while digging up the zócalo of Mexico City as part of a drainage project, workers discovered stones which were thought to relate to the Aztec calendar. The discovery of these antiquities coincided with a rising crescendo of Mexican nationalism and thus had great symbolic value. As León y Gama describes them, the stones are works of art and genius on a par with any European creations. For him, the stones epitomize the cultural sophistication of the Aztecs and are icons to hurl back at the Spanish.

In the 19th century, the labors of European antiquarians led to the recovery of manuscripts by Diego de Landa and other early missionaries. As the Franciscan Provincial in the Yucatan, Landa had seen in the Mayan Indians not simple converts to the true faith but duplicitious idolaters unable to surrender their attachments to a pagan past. In order to eradicate all vestiges of Mayan paganism, Landa sought to understand the nature of Mayan forms and ceremonies and their persistence. He brought in suspects for interrogation, instituted an Inquisition, and, in a spectacular auto-da-fé, destroyed thousands of "idols." For his troubles, Landa was recalled to Spain by his superiors. There he wrote his manuscript, probably for the benefit of future missionaries. The heart of the manuscript consists of Landa's long descriptions of the Maya calendar and its glyphs.

The most prominent of the antiquarians were Alexander Humboldt, who produced lavishly illustrated folios, and Lord Kingsborough, who invested years in amassing and publishing Mexican codices. Humboldt's volume is elaborate and methodically planned. In the text and nearly seventy plates included in the volume, Humboldt gives his readers a thorough tour of the antiquities of Mexico and Peru. He also printed selections from important early codices in European collections. Illustrations of vistas, of peoples, and of antiquities were executed under Humboldt's supervision with consummate care. Humboldt sought to present artifacts in their natural contexts, in order to imply the ways in which nature and culture work together toward a higher unity. For Humboldt, the discovery of New World antiquities was cause for a celebration of human genius, but also a colonialist regret at the decline of non-European civilizations.

Edward King (Viscount Kingsborough) was obsessed by the pre-Columbian civilizations of Mexico. He wanted nothing less than to possess the Mexican past and make it available to others. To that end, he hired artists to visit the major collections of Europe and make copies of important codices, and he sought to acquire as many as he could. The result was a lavish set of nine folio volumes, published at King's own expense over nearly twenty yearsa set without parallel in Meso-American scholarship. King was a poor scholar, however, and his forays into Mexican history were pastiches of myth and wild speculation. His project bankrupted him, and he spent his last years in a Dublin prison.

In North America, antiquarian scholars also excavated sites and speculated on the histories of Indian tribes, often relying more on imagination than on data. Rafinesque created a mythology for the Delaware or Lenni Lenape Indians, the Walam Olum, which has fascinated readers since its "discovery." The Walam Olum purports to be a pictographic record of the Delaware or Lenni Lenape Indians. However, Rafinesque's skills as a linguist, and his knowledge of Delaware Indians' oral histories, have come to be doubted. His Walum Olam may not be the key to Delaware mythology, but instead an antiquarian's attempt to write what he could not locate through research.

walam
Constantine Samuel Rafinesque,
Wallam Olum: First and Second Parts of the Painted and Engraved Traditions of the Linnilinape.
Manuscript: 1833.

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

del rio
Antonio del Rio,
Description of the Ruins of an
Ancient City Discovered near
Palenque in the Kingdom of Guatemala.

London: Henry Berthoud, 1822.

While most sought to provide valuable information, they also relegated these cultures to the realm of "antiquities.” For 18th and 19th century Europeans, most American native cultures seemed to belong to a distant past. But the traces of those cultures, their "antiquities," fascinated some audiences. Searching for "antiquities" became fashionable, although the results of searches could take on vastly different forms in print. Antonio del Rio’s Mayan discoveries provoked a surge of archaeological interest in the Maya.

In 1787 an obscure soldier named Antonio del Rio undertook the excavation of a Maya ruin near Palenque. He duly reported back on his mission and seemed unimpressed by what he considered evidence of rampant paganism and idolatry. Had it not been for Berthoud, the publisher, del Rio's letter would have been forgotten. Capitalizing on public interest in American indigenous cultures as well as in Romantic ruins, Berthoud published the letter along with a suite of plates of Mayan scenes.

Antonio de León y Gama's account of excavation in Mexico City carried political overtones. In 1790, while digging up the zócalo of Mexico City as part of a drainage project, workers discovered stones which were thought to relate to the Aztec calendar. The discovery of these antiquities coincided with a rising crescendo of Mexican nationalism and thus had great symbolic value. As León y Gama describes them, the stones are works of art and genius on a par with any European creations. For him, the stones epitomize the cultural sophistication of the Aztecs and are icons to hurl back at the Spanish.

In the 19th century, the labors of European antiquarians led to the recovery of manuscripts by Diego de Landa and other early missionaries. As the Franciscan Provincial in the Yucatan, Landa had seen in the Mayan Indians not simple converts to the true faith but duplicitious idolaters unable to surrender their attachments to a pagan past. In order to eradicate all vestiges of Mayan paganism, Landa sought to understand the nature of Mayan forms and ceremonies and their persistence. He brought in suspects for interrogation, instituted an Inquisition, and, in a spectacular auto-da-fé, destroyed thousands of "idols." For his troubles, Landa was recalled to Spain by his superiors. There he wrote his manuscript, probably for the benefit of future missionaries. The heart of the manuscript consists of Landa's long descriptions of the Maya calendar and its glyphs.

The most prominent of the antiquarians were Alexander Humboldt, who produced lavishly illustrated folios, and Lord Kingsborough, who invested years in amassing and publishing Mexican codices. Humboldt's volume is elaborate and methodically planned. In the text and nearly seventy plates included in the volume, Humboldt gives his readers a thorough tour of the antiquities of Mexico and Peru. He also printed selections from important early codices in European collections. Illustrations of vistas, of peoples, and of antiquities were executed under Humboldt's supervision with consummate care. Humboldt sought to present artifacts in their natural contexts, in order to imply the ways in which nature and culture work together toward a higher unity. For Humboldt, the discovery of New World antiquities was cause for a celebration of human genius, but also a colonialist regret at the decline of non-European civilizations.

Edward King (Viscount Kingsborough) was obsessed by the pre-Columbian civilizations of Mexico. He wanted nothing less than to possess the Mexican past and make it available to others. To that end, he hired artists to visit the major collections of Europe and make copies of important codices, and he sought to acquire as many as he could. The result was a lavish set of nine folio volumes, published at King's own expense over nearly twenty yearsa set without parallel in Meso-American scholarship. King was a poor scholar, however, and his forays into Mexican history were pastiches of myth and wild speculation. His project bankrupted him, and he spent his last years in a Dublin prison.

In North America, antiquarian scholars also excavated sites and speculated on the histories of Indian tribes, often relying more on imagination than on data. Rafinesque created a mythology for the Delaware or Lenni Lenape Indians, the Walam Olum, which has fascinated readers since its "discovery." The Walam Olum purports to be a pictographic record of the Delaware or Lenni Lenape Indians. However, Rafinesque's skills as a linguist, and his knowledge of Delaware Indians' oral histories, have come to be doubted. His Walum Olam may not be the key to Delaware mythology, but instead an antiquarian's attempt to write what he could not locate through research.

walam
Constantine Samuel Rafinesque,
Wallam Olum: First and Second Parts of the Painted and Engraved Traditions of the Linnilinape.
Manuscript: 1833.

 

New World Lands in Print

gyaneus
Simon Grynaeus and Johann Huttich,
Novis orbis regionum ac insularum
veteribus incognitarum.

Basle: Johann Hervagius, 1532
[detail from map].

Simon Grynaeus and Johann Huttich printed important travel relations along with their maps. Huttich compiled and Grynaeus edited this early anthology of travel relations, including the letters of Columbus and Vespucci and the decades of Peter Martyr. In his preface, Grynaeus stresses the utility of bringing these accounts together in one volume, and in Latin, so that readers might conveniently compare various descriptions of New World lands and peoples.

The remarkable feature of Grynaeus and Huttich's anthology is a world map, possibly drawn, at least in part, by Hans Holbein the younger. The New World is duly present in the Gynaeus and Huttich map, but of equal interest are the scenes and vignettes that surround the projection: representations of the exotic which emphasize the fear and terror with which Europeans could look out on worlds they knew only dimly.

 

New World Lands in Print

gyaneus
Simon Grynaeus and Johann Huttich,
Novis orbis regionum ac insularum
veteribus incognitarum.

Basle: Johann Hervagius, 1532
[detail from map].

Simon Grynaeus and Johann Huttich printed important travel relations along with their maps. Huttich compiled and Grynaeus edited this early anthology of travel relations, including the letters of Columbus and Vespucci and the decades of Peter Martyr. In his preface, Grynaeus stresses the utility of bringing these accounts together in one volume, and in Latin, so that readers might conveniently compare various descriptions of New World lands and peoples.

The remarkable feature of Grynaeus and Huttich's anthology is a world map, possibly drawn, at least in part, by Hans Holbein the younger. The New World is duly present in the Gynaeus and Huttich map, but of equal interest are the scenes and vignettes that surround the projection: representations of the exotic which emphasize the fear and terror with which Europeans could look out on worlds they knew only dimly.

 

Print & Native Cultures

smith
William Smith,
An Historical Account of the Expedition
Against the Ohio Indians, in the year
MDCCLXIV under the Command of
Henry Bouquet, Esq.

London: T. Jefferies, 1766.
Courtesy of The Rosenbach

Most native cultures preserved and passed on their traditions orally. Written texts only partially reveal this oral dimension. Nevertheless, Europeans continally testified to native oratorical abilities. North American Indian orality intrigued writers like William Smith. In North America, rhetorical prowess was central to Indian diplomacy. The engraving displayed to the left by Grignion after Benjamin West shows an Iroquois speaker with a string of wampum. The amount and color of the shell-beads on the wampum string reflect the importance and content of the message, which was memorized by the speaker. While Smith notes the importance of this custom, he dismisses the content of the speech as deceitful.

smith
William Smith,
An Historical Account of the Expedition
Against the Ohio Indians, in the year
MDCCLXIV under the Command of
Henry Bouquet, Esq.

London: T. Jefferies, 1766.
Courtesy of The Rosenbach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The speeches of Red Jacket (Segoyewatha, ca. 1752-1830), the Senecas' principal speechmaker to the United States and fierce critic of American expansionism, sold widely. The highly-developed quality of Indian oratory had long been recognized and admired among whites, and that admiration prompted the publication of works in translation such as this one—despite its profound critique of U.S. policies. In the years after the Revolution, the U.S. government advocated turning Indians into Christian farmers, as a more humane, less expensive way of getting Indians to relinquish their land claims. However, as Red Jacket indicates, many Indians had different plans.

red jacket

Whereas Europeans relied upon books and manuscripts to transmit and encapsulate knowledge, native groups employed other media: some eastern North American Indian cultures used wampum, a form of writing usually accompanied by speech. No utterance of any diplomatic occasion was valid until authenticated by the exchange of wampum in the form of strings or belts. Wampum served to engender further diplomatic contact; its presentation was a gesture that required a reciprocal effort on the part of the recipient. Acceptance of the gift of wampum implied the acceptance of its message. In this way, wampum functioned like a certificate. This wampum belt is an abstract representation of an alliance between two peoples, signified by the straight path running between them.

Print & Native Cultures

smith
William Smith,
An Historical Account of the Expedition
Against the Ohio Indians, in the year
MDCCLXIV under the Command of
Henry Bouquet, Esq.

London: T. Jefferies, 1766.
Courtesy of The Rosenbach

Most native cultures preserved and passed on their traditions orally. Written texts only partially reveal this oral dimension. Nevertheless, Europeans continally testified to native oratorical abilities. North American Indian orality intrigued writers like William Smith. In North America, rhetorical prowess was central to Indian diplomacy. The engraving displayed to the left by Grignion after Benjamin West shows an Iroquois speaker with a string of wampum. The amount and color of the shell-beads on the wampum string reflect the importance and content of the message, which was memorized by the speaker. While Smith notes the importance of this custom, he dismisses the content of the speech as deceitful.

smith
William Smith,
An Historical Account of the Expedition
Against the Ohio Indians, in the year
MDCCLXIV under the Command of
Henry Bouquet, Esq.

London: T. Jefferies, 1766.
Courtesy of The Rosenbach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The speeches of Red Jacket (Segoyewatha, ca. 1752-1830), the Senecas' principal speechmaker to the United States and fierce critic of American expansionism, sold widely. The highly-developed quality of Indian oratory had long been recognized and admired among whites, and that admiration prompted the publication of works in translation such as this one—despite its profound critique of U.S. policies. In the years after the Revolution, the U.S. government advocated turning Indians into Christian farmers, as a more humane, less expensive way of getting Indians to relinquish their land claims. However, as Red Jacket indicates, many Indians had different plans.

red jacket

Whereas Europeans relied upon books and manuscripts to transmit and encapsulate knowledge, native groups employed other media: some eastern North American Indian cultures used wampum, a form of writing usually accompanied by speech. No utterance of any diplomatic occasion was valid until authenticated by the exchange of wampum in the form of strings or belts. Wampum served to engender further diplomatic contact; its presentation was a gesture that required a reciprocal effort on the part of the recipient. Acceptance of the gift of wampum implied the acceptance of its message. In this way, wampum functioned like a certificate. This wampum belt is an abstract representation of an alliance between two peoples, signified by the straight path running between them.

Print & Native Cultures

smith
William Smith,
An Historical Account of the Expedition
Against the Ohio Indians, in the year
MDCCLXIV under the Command of
Henry Bouquet, Esq.

London: T. Jefferies, 1766.
Courtesy of The Rosenbach

Most native cultures preserved and passed on their traditions orally. Written texts only partially reveal this oral dimension. Nevertheless, Europeans continally testified to native oratorical abilities. North American Indian orality intrigued writers like William Smith. In North America, rhetorical prowess was central to Indian diplomacy. The engraving displayed to the left by Grignion after Benjamin West shows an Iroquois speaker with a string of wampum. The amount and color of the shell-beads on the wampum string reflect the importance and content of the message, which was memorized by the speaker. While Smith notes the importance of this custom, he dismisses the content of the speech as deceitful.

smith
William Smith,
An Historical Account of the Expedition
Against the Ohio Indians, in the year
MDCCLXIV under the Command of
Henry Bouquet, Esq.

London: T. Jefferies, 1766.
Courtesy of The Rosenbach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The speeches of Red Jacket (Segoyewatha, ca. 1752-1830), the Senecas' principal speechmaker to the United States and fierce critic of American expansionism, sold widely. The highly-developed quality of Indian oratory had long been recognized and admired among whites, and that admiration prompted the publication of works in translation such as this one—despite its profound critique of U.S. policies. In the years after the Revolution, the U.S. government advocated turning Indians into Christian farmers, as a more humane, less expensive way of getting Indians to relinquish their land claims. However, as Red Jacket indicates, many Indians had different plans.

red jacket

Whereas Europeans relied upon books and manuscripts to transmit and encapsulate knowledge, native groups employed other media: some eastern North American Indian cultures used wampum, a form of writing usually accompanied by speech. No utterance of any diplomatic occasion was valid until authenticated by the exchange of wampum in the form of strings or belts. Wampum served to engender further diplomatic contact; its presentation was a gesture that required a reciprocal effort on the part of the recipient. Acceptance of the gift of wampum implied the acceptance of its message. In this way, wampum functioned like a certificate. This wampum belt is an abstract representation of an alliance between two peoples, signified by the straight path running between them.

Print & Native Cultures

smith
William Smith,
An Historical Account of the Expedition
Against the Ohio Indians, in the year
MDCCLXIV under the Command of
Henry Bouquet, Esq.

London: T. Jefferies, 1766.
Courtesy of The Rosenbach

Most native cultures preserved and passed on their traditions orally. Written texts only partially reveal this oral dimension. Nevertheless, Europeans continally testified to native oratorical abilities. North American Indian orality intrigued writers like William Smith. In North America, rhetorical prowess was central to Indian diplomacy. The engraving displayed to the left by Grignion after Benjamin West shows an Iroquois speaker with a string of wampum. The amount and color of the shell-beads on the wampum string reflect the importance and content of the message, which was memorized by the speaker. While Smith notes the importance of this custom, he dismisses the content of the speech as deceitful.

smith
William Smith,
An Historical Account of the Expedition
Against the Ohio Indians, in the year
MDCCLXIV under the Command of
Henry Bouquet, Esq.

London: T. Jefferies, 1766.
Courtesy of The Rosenbach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The speeches of Red Jacket (Segoyewatha, ca. 1752-1830), the Senecas' principal speechmaker to the United States and fierce critic of American expansionism, sold widely. The highly-developed quality of Indian oratory had long been recognized and admired among whites, and that admiration prompted the publication of works in translation such as this one—despite its profound critique of U.S. policies. In the years after the Revolution, the U.S. government advocated turning Indians into Christian farmers, as a more humane, less expensive way of getting Indians to relinquish their land claims. However, as Red Jacket indicates, many Indians had different plans.

red jacket

Whereas Europeans relied upon books and manuscripts to transmit and encapsulate knowledge, native groups employed other media: some eastern North American Indian cultures used wampum, a form of writing usually accompanied by speech. No utterance of any diplomatic occasion was valid until authenticated by the exchange of wampum in the form of strings or belts. Wampum served to engender further diplomatic contact; its presentation was a gesture that required a reciprocal effort on the part of the recipient. Acceptance of the gift of wampum implied the acceptance of its message. In this way, wampum functioned like a certificate. This wampum belt is an abstract representation of an alliance between two peoples, signified by the straight path running between them.

Promotion & Possession

Hernando Cortés,  Praeclara Ferdinandi Cortesii de  nova maris oceani Hyspania narratio... Nuremberg: F. Peypus, 1524.
Hernando Cortés,
Praeclara Ferdinandi Cortesii de
nova maris oceani Hyspania narratio...

Nuremberg: F. Peypus, 1524.

The Spanish were quick to diffuse the story of the first major conquest in the New World, Cortés' defeat of the Aztecs in Mexico. Cortés sent five reports to Charles V detailing his progress in the conquest of Mexico. This edition contains the second and third reports; first published in Seville in 1522, it was translated into Latin for this 1524 Nuremberg edition.

Tenochtitlan was destroyed by the Spanish in 1521; Cortés built Mexico City on its ruins. The map below, attributed to Albrecht Dürer, shows the city before its destruction, with the principal Aztec temples in the main square, causeways connecting the city to the mainland, and an aqueduct supplying fresh water. Much of the information on this map must have come from Aztec sourcesas did a great deal of the intelligence Cortés relied upon in his conquest. This map circulated in numerous histories of the New World.

Map
Hernando Cortés,
Praeclara Ferdinandi Cortesii de
nova maris oceani Hyspania narratio...

Nuremberg: F. Peypus, 1524.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite resistance from the Spanish Crown, Cortés planned a new Mexican colonial society as deliberately as he had planned Mexican conquest. Part of that effort involved securing the allegiance of important Aztecs. In this 18th century copy of a manuscript dated 1526, Cortés recounts his conquest and explains the importance of Montezuma's aid to the conquerors as justification for granting a large dowry, consisting mainly of land, to Doña Isabel Montezuma, eldest daughter of the Aztec emperor.

 

Original: "Temixtitan"[Mexico City], June 27, 1526. Copied, Valladolid, c.1750. 3 pages.
Hernando Cortés,
Manuscript document.
Original: "Temixtitan"[Mexico City], June 27, 1526.
Copied, Valladolid, c.1750. 3 pages.
Original: "Temixtitan"[Mexico City], June 27, 1526. Copied, Valladolid, c.1750. 3 pages.
Hernando Cortés,
Detail of Manuscript document.
Original: "Temixtitan"[Mexico City], June 27, 1526.
Copied, Valladolid, c.1750. 3 pages.
Promotion & Possession

Hernando Cortés,  Praeclara Ferdinandi Cortesii de  nova maris oceani Hyspania narratio... Nuremberg: F. Peypus, 1524.
Hernando Cortés,
Praeclara Ferdinandi Cortesii de
nova maris oceani Hyspania narratio...

Nuremberg: F. Peypus, 1524.

The Spanish were quick to diffuse the story of the first major conquest in the New World, Cortés' defeat of the Aztecs in Mexico. Cortés sent five reports to Charles V detailing his progress in the conquest of Mexico. This edition contains the second and third reports; first published in Seville in 1522, it was translated into Latin for this 1524 Nuremberg edition.

Tenochtitlan was destroyed by the Spanish in 1521; Cortés built Mexico City on its ruins. The map below, attributed to Albrecht Dürer, shows the city before its destruction, with the principal Aztec temples in the main square, causeways connecting the city to the mainland, and an aqueduct supplying fresh water. Much of the information on this map must have come from Aztec sourcesas did a great deal of the intelligence Cortés relied upon in his conquest. This map circulated in numerous histories of the New World.

Map
Hernando Cortés,
Praeclara Ferdinandi Cortesii de
nova maris oceani Hyspania narratio...

Nuremberg: F. Peypus, 1524.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite resistance from the Spanish Crown, Cortés planned a new Mexican colonial society as deliberately as he had planned Mexican conquest. Part of that effort involved securing the allegiance of important Aztecs. In this 18th century copy of a manuscript dated 1526, Cortés recounts his conquest and explains the importance of Montezuma's aid to the conquerors as justification for granting a large dowry, consisting mainly of land, to Doña Isabel Montezuma, eldest daughter of the Aztec emperor.

 

Original: "Temixtitan"[Mexico City], June 27, 1526. Copied, Valladolid, c.1750. 3 pages.
Hernando Cortés,
Manuscript document.
Original: "Temixtitan"[Mexico City], June 27, 1526.
Copied, Valladolid, c.1750. 3 pages.
Original: "Temixtitan"[Mexico City], June 27, 1526. Copied, Valladolid, c.1750. 3 pages.
Hernando Cortés,
Detail of Manuscript document.
Original: "Temixtitan"[Mexico City], June 27, 1526.
Copied, Valladolid, c.1750. 3 pages.
Religion & Print

Understanding and being understood required linguistic common ground. Missionaries studied and codified native languages in western forms that permitted them to be taught and assimilated by neophyte missionaries and, in some cases, by converts. The manuscript displayed below is written in at least two Mayan languages. This was most likely created by a missionary working with Indian populations in the mid-16th century. It includes a variety of materials in Kekchi and Quiché: lives of saints, catechisms, religious songs, guidance on marital arrangements, Church feast days, and an index. The manuscript is actually several manuscripts together, a sort of all-in-one book for a priest visiting different Indian groups, and offers a wealth of documentation on missionary methods as they may have been shaped by actual experience.

anon
Chirixc Sta. Eulalia tuhixc.
Manuscript in Kekchi, Quiché, Latin, and Spanish.
Guatemala, c.1544-1570.

In New Spain, the printing press played a fundamental part in the conversion effort. Missionary presses were active both in Lima and in Mexico City, where Alonso de Molina produced a substantial dictionary in Nahuatl and Francisco Pareja printed a catechism for the Timucuans in Florida. Molina, a Franciscan, produced the first dictionary printed in the New World, and the first systematic approach to an indigenous language. Molina arrived in Mexico immediately following Cortés's invasion. His dictionary, while useful for missionaries, also served the ends of colonial policy. The Spanish sought to make Nahuatl the single language of communication in Mexico, marginalizing all other spoken and written Indian languages. This attempt to consolidate linguistic difference also effectively cut off the Indians from the language of their new masters.

French Jesuits struggled to comprend and write the languages of Indians under their dominion, both in the Caribbean, and in Canada, as the Jesuit Relations testify. Some Indians adopted the written form of their language taught by Jesuits, as reports about the Montagnais suggest.

The New England missionary effort also depended upon translation and printing. After printing the New Testament in Massachusett in 1661, John Eliot published the complete Bible in Massachusett two years later, in an edition of 1000, large by Cambridge standards. Eliot's Puritanism valued personal conversions through contact with God's Word; Puritan missionaries in New England decided to work toward teaching literacy in transliterated Indian languages, at least until all converts could be taught English. Eliot probably translated in close collaboration with native converts like Job Nesutan, although the title page does not give them credit. Three years after the Bible, Eliot attempted to compose a grammar of the same language.

eliot
Mamusse Wunneetupanatamwe Up-Biblum God...
Cambridge, Mass.:
Samuel Green and Marmaduke Johnson, 1663.
Courtesy of the Rosenbach

In the 18th century, the British continued similar work among the Mohawks. This popular primer (below) was written by Daniel Claus, a German immigrant whose lengthy residence among the Mohawks as a British military officer and interpreter during the mid-18th century enabled him to attain proficiency in the Mohawk language. After the American Revolution, and when this bilingual edition of catechisms and prayers was published, Claus supervised the relocation of many Six Nations Iroquois to Upper Canada.

mohawk
Christian Daniel Claus,
A Primer, for the Use of the Mohawk Children...
London: C. Buckton, 1786.

 

Religion & Print

Understanding and being understood required linguistic common ground. Missionaries studied and codified native languages in western forms that permitted them to be taught and assimilated by neophyte missionaries and, in some cases, by converts. The manuscript displayed below is written in at least two Mayan languages. This was most likely created by a missionary working with Indian populations in the mid-16th century. It includes a variety of materials in Kekchi and Quiché: lives of saints, catechisms, religious songs, guidance on marital arrangements, Church feast days, and an index. The manuscript is actually several manuscripts together, a sort of all-in-one book for a priest visiting different Indian groups, and offers a wealth of documentation on missionary methods as they may have been shaped by actual experience.

anon
Chirixc Sta. Eulalia tuhixc.
Manuscript in Kekchi, Quiché, Latin, and Spanish.
Guatemala, c.1544-1570.

In New Spain, the printing press played a fundamental part in the conversion effort. Missionary presses were active both in Lima and in Mexico City, where Alonso de Molina produced a substantial dictionary in Nahuatl and Francisco Pareja printed a catechism for the Timucuans in Florida. Molina, a Franciscan, produced the first dictionary printed in the New World, and the first systematic approach to an indigenous language. Molina arrived in Mexico immediately following Cortés's invasion. His dictionary, while useful for missionaries, also served the ends of colonial policy. The Spanish sought to make Nahuatl the single language of communication in Mexico, marginalizing all other spoken and written Indian languages. This attempt to consolidate linguistic difference also effectively cut off the Indians from the language of their new masters.

French Jesuits struggled to comprend and write the languages of Indians under their dominion, both in the Caribbean, and in Canada, as the Jesuit Relations testify. Some Indians adopted the written form of their language taught by Jesuits, as reports about the Montagnais suggest.

The New England missionary effort also depended upon translation and printing. After printing the New Testament in Massachusett in 1661, John Eliot published the complete Bible in Massachusett two years later, in an edition of 1000, large by Cambridge standards. Eliot's Puritanism valued personal conversions through contact with God's Word; Puritan missionaries in New England decided to work toward teaching literacy in transliterated Indian languages, at least until all converts could be taught English. Eliot probably translated in close collaboration with native converts like Job Nesutan, although the title page does not give them credit. Three years after the Bible, Eliot attempted to compose a grammar of the same language.

eliot
Mamusse Wunneetupanatamwe Up-Biblum God...
Cambridge, Mass.:
Samuel Green and Marmaduke Johnson, 1663.
Courtesy of the Rosenbach

In the 18th century, the British continued similar work among the Mohawks. This popular primer (below) was written by Daniel Claus, a German immigrant whose lengthy residence among the Mohawks as a British military officer and interpreter during the mid-18th century enabled him to attain proficiency in the Mohawk language. After the American Revolution, and when this bilingual edition of catechisms and prayers was published, Claus supervised the relocation of many Six Nations Iroquois to Upper Canada.

mohawk
Christian Daniel Claus,
A Primer, for the Use of the Mohawk Children...
London: C. Buckton, 1786.

 

Religion & Print

Understanding and being understood required linguistic common ground. Missionaries studied and codified native languages in western forms that permitted them to be taught and assimilated by neophyte missionaries and, in some cases, by converts. The manuscript displayed below is written in at least two Mayan languages. This was most likely created by a missionary working with Indian populations in the mid-16th century. It includes a variety of materials in Kekchi and Quiché: lives of saints, catechisms, religious songs, guidance on marital arrangements, Church feast days, and an index. The manuscript is actually several manuscripts together, a sort of all-in-one book for a priest visiting different Indian groups, and offers a wealth of documentation on missionary methods as they may have been shaped by actual experience.

anon
Chirixc Sta. Eulalia tuhixc.
Manuscript in Kekchi, Quiché, Latin, and Spanish.
Guatemala, c.1544-1570.

In New Spain, the printing press played a fundamental part in the conversion effort. Missionary presses were active both in Lima and in Mexico City, where Alonso de Molina produced a substantial dictionary in Nahuatl and Francisco Pareja printed a catechism for the Timucuans in Florida. Molina, a Franciscan, produced the first dictionary printed in the New World, and the first systematic approach to an indigenous language. Molina arrived in Mexico immediately following Cortés's invasion. His dictionary, while useful for missionaries, also served the ends of colonial policy. The Spanish sought to make Nahuatl the single language of communication in Mexico, marginalizing all other spoken and written Indian languages. This attempt to consolidate linguistic difference also effectively cut off the Indians from the language of their new masters.

French Jesuits struggled to comprend and write the languages of Indians under their dominion, both in the Caribbean, and in Canada, as the Jesuit Relations testify. Some Indians adopted the written form of their language taught by Jesuits, as reports about the Montagnais suggest.

The New England missionary effort also depended upon translation and printing. After printing the New Testament in Massachusett in 1661, John Eliot published the complete Bible in Massachusett two years later, in an edition of 1000, large by Cambridge standards. Eliot's Puritanism valued personal conversions through contact with God's Word; Puritan missionaries in New England decided to work toward teaching literacy in transliterated Indian languages, at least until all converts could be taught English. Eliot probably translated in close collaboration with native converts like Job Nesutan, although the title page does not give them credit. Three years after the Bible, Eliot attempted to compose a grammar of the same language.

eliot
Mamusse Wunneetupanatamwe Up-Biblum God...
Cambridge, Mass.:
Samuel Green and Marmaduke Johnson, 1663.
Courtesy of the Rosenbach

In the 18th century, the British continued similar work among the Mohawks. This popular primer (below) was written by Daniel Claus, a German immigrant whose lengthy residence among the Mohawks as a British military officer and interpreter during the mid-18th century enabled him to attain proficiency in the Mohawk language. After the American Revolution, and when this bilingual edition of catechisms and prayers was published, Claus supervised the relocation of many Six Nations Iroquois to Upper Canada.

mohawk
Christian Daniel Claus,
A Primer, for the Use of the Mohawk Children...
London: C. Buckton, 1786.

 

Religion & Print

Understanding and being understood required linguistic common ground. Missionaries studied and codified native languages in western forms that permitted them to be taught and assimilated by neophyte missionaries and, in some cases, by converts. The manuscript displayed below is written in at least two Mayan languages. This was most likely created by a missionary working with Indian populations in the mid-16th century. It includes a variety of materials in Kekchi and Quiché: lives of saints, catechisms, religious songs, guidance on marital arrangements, Church feast days, and an index. The manuscript is actually several manuscripts together, a sort of all-in-one book for a priest visiting different Indian groups, and offers a wealth of documentation on missionary methods as they may have been shaped by actual experience.

anon
Chirixc Sta. Eulalia tuhixc.
Manuscript in Kekchi, Quiché, Latin, and Spanish.
Guatemala, c.1544-1570.

In New Spain, the printing press played a fundamental part in the conversion effort. Missionary presses were active both in Lima and in Mexico City, where Alonso de Molina produced a substantial dictionary in Nahuatl and Francisco Pareja printed a catechism for the Timucuans in Florida. Molina, a Franciscan, produced the first dictionary printed in the New World, and the first systematic approach to an indigenous language. Molina arrived in Mexico immediately following Cortés's invasion. His dictionary, while useful for missionaries, also served the ends of colonial policy. The Spanish sought to make Nahuatl the single language of communication in Mexico, marginalizing all other spoken and written Indian languages. This attempt to consolidate linguistic difference also effectively cut off the Indians from the language of their new masters.

French Jesuits struggled to comprend and write the languages of Indians under their dominion, both in the Caribbean, and in Canada, as the Jesuit Relations testify. Some Indians adopted the written form of their language taught by Jesuits, as reports about the Montagnais suggest.

The New England missionary effort also depended upon translation and printing. After printing the New Testament in Massachusett in 1661, John Eliot published the complete Bible in Massachusett two years later, in an edition of 1000, large by Cambridge standards. Eliot's Puritanism valued personal conversions through contact with God's Word; Puritan missionaries in New England decided to work toward teaching literacy in transliterated Indian languages, at least until all converts could be taught English. Eliot probably translated in close collaboration with native converts like Job Nesutan, although the title page does not give them credit. Three years after the Bible, Eliot attempted to compose a grammar of the same language.

eliot
Mamusse Wunneetupanatamwe Up-Biblum God...
Cambridge, Mass.:
Samuel Green and Marmaduke Johnson, 1663.
Courtesy of the Rosenbach

In the 18th century, the British continued similar work among the Mohawks. This popular primer (below) was written by Daniel Claus, a German immigrant whose lengthy residence among the Mohawks as a British military officer and interpreter during the mid-18th century enabled him to attain proficiency in the Mohawk language. After the American Revolution, and when this bilingual edition of catechisms and prayers was published, Claus supervised the relocation of many Six Nations Iroquois to Upper Canada.

mohawk
Christian Daniel Claus,
A Primer, for the Use of the Mohawk Children...
London: C. Buckton, 1786.

 

Religion & Print

Understanding and being understood required linguistic common ground. Missionaries studied and codified native languages in western forms that permitted them to be taught and assimilated by neophyte missionaries and, in some cases, by converts. The manuscript displayed below is written in at least two Mayan languages. This was most likely created by a missionary working with Indian populations in the mid-16th century. It includes a variety of materials in Kekchi and Quiché: lives of saints, catechisms, religious songs, guidance on marital arrangements, Church feast days, and an index. The manuscript is actually several manuscripts together, a sort of all-in-one book for a priest visiting different Indian groups, and offers a wealth of documentation on missionary methods as they may have been shaped by actual experience.

anon
Chirixc Sta. Eulalia tuhixc.
Manuscript in Kekchi, Quiché, Latin, and Spanish.
Guatemala, c.1544-1570.

In New Spain, the printing press played a fundamental part in the conversion effort. Missionary presses were active both in Lima and in Mexico City, where Alonso de Molina produced a substantial dictionary in Nahuatl and Francisco Pareja printed a catechism for the Timucuans in Florida. Molina, a Franciscan, produced the first dictionary printed in the New World, and the first systematic approach to an indigenous language. Molina arrived in Mexico immediately following Cortés's invasion. His dictionary, while useful for missionaries, also served the ends of colonial policy. The Spanish sought to make Nahuatl the single language of communication in Mexico, marginalizing all other spoken and written Indian languages. This attempt to consolidate linguistic difference also effectively cut off the Indians from the language of their new masters.

French Jesuits struggled to comprend and write the languages of Indians under their dominion, both in the Caribbean, and in Canada, as the Jesuit Relations testify. Some Indians adopted the written form of their language taught by Jesuits, as reports about the Montagnais suggest.

The New England missionary effort also depended upon translation and printing. After printing the New Testament in Massachusett in 1661, John Eliot published the complete Bible in Massachusett two years later, in an edition of 1000, large by Cambridge standards. Eliot's Puritanism valued personal conversions through contact with God's Word; Puritan missionaries in New England decided to work toward teaching literacy in transliterated Indian languages, at least until all converts could be taught English. Eliot probably translated in close collaboration with native converts like Job Nesutan, although the title page does not give them credit. Three years after the Bible, Eliot attempted to compose a grammar of the same language.

eliot
Mamusse Wunneetupanatamwe Up-Biblum God...
Cambridge, Mass.:
Samuel Green and Marmaduke Johnson, 1663.
Courtesy of the Rosenbach

In the 18th century, the British continued similar work among the Mohawks. This popular primer (below) was written by Daniel Claus, a German immigrant whose lengthy residence among the Mohawks as a British military officer and interpreter during the mid-18th century enabled him to attain proficiency in the Mohawk language. After the American Revolution, and when this bilingual edition of catechisms and prayers was published, Claus supervised the relocation of many Six Nations Iroquois to Upper Canada.

mohawk
Christian Daniel Claus,
A Primer, for the Use of the Mohawk Children...
London: C. Buckton, 1786.

 

Religion & Print

Understanding and being understood required linguistic common ground. Missionaries studied and codified native languages in western forms that permitted them to be taught and assimilated by neophyte missionaries and, in some cases, by converts. The manuscript displayed below is written in at least two Mayan languages. This was most likely created by a missionary working with Indian populations in the mid-16th century. It includes a variety of materials in Kekchi and Quiché: lives of saints, catechisms, religious songs, guidance on marital arrangements, Church feast days, and an index. The manuscript is actually several manuscripts together, a sort of all-in-one book for a priest visiting different Indian groups, and offers a wealth of documentation on missionary methods as they may have been shaped by actual experience.

anon
Chirixc Sta. Eulalia tuhixc.
Manuscript in Kekchi, Quiché, Latin, and Spanish.
Guatemala, c.1544-1570.

In New Spain, the printing press played a fundamental part in the conversion effort. Missionary presses were active both in Lima and in Mexico City, where Alonso de Molina produced a substantial dictionary in Nahuatl and Francisco Pareja printed a catechism for the Timucuans in Florida. Molina, a Franciscan, produced the first dictionary printed in the New World, and the first systematic approach to an indigenous language. Molina arrived in Mexico immediately following Cortés's invasion. His dictionary, while useful for missionaries, also served the ends of colonial policy. The Spanish sought to make Nahuatl the single language of communication in Mexico, marginalizing all other spoken and written Indian languages. This attempt to consolidate linguistic difference also effectively cut off the Indians from the language of their new masters.

French Jesuits struggled to comprend and write the languages of Indians under their dominion, both in the Caribbean, and in Canada, as the Jesuit Relations testify. Some Indians adopted the written form of their language taught by Jesuits, as reports about the Montagnais suggest.

The New England missionary effort also depended upon translation and printing. After printing the New Testament in Massachusett in 1661, John Eliot published the complete Bible in Massachusett two years later, in an edition of 1000, large by Cambridge standards. Eliot's Puritanism valued personal conversions through contact with God's Word; Puritan missionaries in New England decided to work toward teaching literacy in transliterated Indian languages, at least until all converts could be taught English. Eliot probably translated in close collaboration with native converts like Job Nesutan, although the title page does not give them credit. Three years after the Bible, Eliot attempted to compose a grammar of the same language.

eliot
Mamusse Wunneetupanatamwe Up-Biblum God...
Cambridge, Mass.:
Samuel Green and Marmaduke Johnson, 1663.
Courtesy of the Rosenbach

In the 18th century, the British continued similar work among the Mohawks. This popular primer (below) was written by Daniel Claus, a German immigrant whose lengthy residence among the Mohawks as a British military officer and interpreter during the mid-18th century enabled him to attain proficiency in the Mohawk language. After the American Revolution, and when this bilingual edition of catechisms and prayers was published, Claus supervised the relocation of many Six Nations Iroquois to Upper Canada.

mohawk
Christian Daniel Claus,
A Primer, for the Use of the Mohawk Children...
London: C. Buckton, 1786.

 

Religion & Print

Understanding and being understood required linguistic common ground. Missionaries studied and codified native languages in western forms that permitted them to be taught and assimilated by neophyte missionaries and, in some cases, by converts. The manuscript displayed below is written in at least two Mayan languages. This was most likely created by a missionary working with Indian populations in the mid-16th century. It includes a variety of materials in Kekchi and Quiché: lives of saints, catechisms, religious songs, guidance on marital arrangements, Church feast days, and an index. The manuscript is actually several manuscripts together, a sort of all-in-one book for a priest visiting different Indian groups, and offers a wealth of documentation on missionary methods as they may have been shaped by actual experience.

anon
Chirixc Sta. Eulalia tuhixc.
Manuscript in Kekchi, Quiché, Latin, and Spanish.
Guatemala, c.1544-1570.

In New Spain, the printing press played a fundamental part in the conversion effort. Missionary presses were active both in Lima and in Mexico City, where Alonso de Molina produced a substantial dictionary in Nahuatl and Francisco Pareja printed a catechism for the Timucuans in Florida. Molina, a Franciscan, produced the first dictionary printed in the New World, and the first systematic approach to an indigenous language. Molina arrived in Mexico immediately following Cortés's invasion. His dictionary, while useful for missionaries, also served the ends of colonial policy. The Spanish sought to make Nahuatl the single language of communication in Mexico, marginalizing all other spoken and written Indian languages. This attempt to consolidate linguistic difference also effectively cut off the Indians from the language of their new masters.

French Jesuits struggled to comprend and write the languages of Indians under their dominion, both in the Caribbean, and in Canada, as the Jesuit Relations testify. Some Indians adopted the written form of their language taught by Jesuits, as reports about the Montagnais suggest.

The New England missionary effort also depended upon translation and printing. After printing the New Testament in Massachusett in 1661, John Eliot published the complete Bible in Massachusett two years later, in an edition of 1000, large by Cambridge standards. Eliot's Puritanism valued personal conversions through contact with God's Word; Puritan missionaries in New England decided to work toward teaching literacy in transliterated Indian languages, at least until all converts could be taught English. Eliot probably translated in close collaboration with native converts like Job Nesutan, although the title page does not give them credit. Three years after the Bible, Eliot attempted to compose a grammar of the same language.

eliot
Mamusse Wunneetupanatamwe Up-Biblum God...
Cambridge, Mass.:
Samuel Green and Marmaduke Johnson, 1663.
Courtesy of the Rosenbach

In the 18th century, the British continued similar work among the Mohawks. This popular primer (below) was written by Daniel Claus, a German immigrant whose lengthy residence among the Mohawks as a British military officer and interpreter during the mid-18th century enabled him to attain proficiency in the Mohawk language. After the American Revolution, and when this bilingual edition of catechisms and prayers was published, Claus supervised the relocation of many Six Nations Iroquois to Upper Canada.

mohawk
Christian Daniel Claus,
A Primer, for the Use of the Mohawk Children...
London: C. Buckton, 1786.

 

Religion & Print

Understanding and being understood required linguistic common ground. Missionaries studied and codified native languages in western forms that permitted them to be taught and assimilated by neophyte missionaries and, in some cases, by converts. The manuscript displayed below is written in at least two Mayan languages. This was most likely created by a missionary working with Indian populations in the mid-16th century. It includes a variety of materials in Kekchi and Quiché: lives of saints, catechisms, religious songs, guidance on marital arrangements, Church feast days, and an index. The manuscript is actually several manuscripts together, a sort of all-in-one book for a priest visiting different Indian groups, and offers a wealth of documentation on missionary methods as they may have been shaped by actual experience.

anon
Chirixc Sta. Eulalia tuhixc.
Manuscript in Kekchi, Quiché, Latin, and Spanish.
Guatemala, c.1544-1570.

In New Spain, the printing press played a fundamental part in the conversion effort. Missionary presses were active both in Lima and in Mexico City, where Alonso de Molina produced a substantial dictionary in Nahuatl and Francisco Pareja printed a catechism for the Timucuans in Florida. Molina, a Franciscan, produced the first dictionary printed in the New World, and the first systematic approach to an indigenous language. Molina arrived in Mexico immediately following Cortés's invasion. His dictionary, while useful for missionaries, also served the ends of colonial policy. The Spanish sought to make Nahuatl the single language of communication in Mexico, marginalizing all other spoken and written Indian languages. This attempt to consolidate linguistic difference also effectively cut off the Indians from the language of their new masters.

French Jesuits struggled to comprend and write the languages of Indians under their dominion, both in the Caribbean, and in Canada, as the Jesuit Relations testify. Some Indians adopted the written form of their language taught by Jesuits, as reports about the Montagnais suggest.

The New England missionary effort also depended upon translation and printing. After printing the New Testament in Massachusett in 1661, John Eliot published the complete Bible in Massachusett two years later, in an edition of 1000, large by Cambridge standards. Eliot's Puritanism valued personal conversions through contact with God's Word; Puritan missionaries in New England decided to work toward teaching literacy in transliterated Indian languages, at least until all converts could be taught English. Eliot probably translated in close collaboration with native converts like Job Nesutan, although the title page does not give them credit. Three years after the Bible, Eliot attempted to compose a grammar of the same language.

eliot
Mamusse Wunneetupanatamwe Up-Biblum God...
Cambridge, Mass.:
Samuel Green and Marmaduke Johnson, 1663.
Courtesy of the Rosenbach

In the 18th century, the British continued similar work among the Mohawks. This popular primer (below) was written by Daniel Claus, a German immigrant whose lengthy residence among the Mohawks as a British military officer and interpreter during the mid-18th century enabled him to attain proficiency in the Mohawk language. After the American Revolution, and when this bilingual edition of catechisms and prayers was published, Claus supervised the relocation of many Six Nations Iroquois to Upper Canada.

mohawk
Christian Daniel Claus,
A Primer, for the Use of the Mohawk Children...
London: C. Buckton, 1786.

 

Religion & Print

Understanding and being understood required linguistic common ground. Missionaries studied and codified native languages in western forms that permitted them to be taught and assimilated by neophyte missionaries and, in some cases, by converts. The manuscript displayed below is written in at least two Mayan languages. This was most likely created by a missionary working with Indian populations in the mid-16th century. It includes a variety of materials in Kekchi and Quiché: lives of saints, catechisms, religious songs, guidance on marital arrangements, Church feast days, and an index. The manuscript is actually several manuscripts together, a sort of all-in-one book for a priest visiting different Indian groups, and offers a wealth of documentation on missionary methods as they may have been shaped by actual experience.

anon
Chirixc Sta. Eulalia tuhixc.
Manuscript in Kekchi, Quiché, Latin, and Spanish.
Guatemala, c.1544-1570.

In New Spain, the printing press played a fundamental part in the conversion effort. Missionary presses were active both in Lima and in Mexico City, where Alonso de Molina produced a substantial dictionary in Nahuatl and Francisco Pareja printed a catechism for the Timucuans in Florida. Molina, a Franciscan, produced the first dictionary printed in the New World, and the first systematic approach to an indigenous language. Molina arrived in Mexico immediately following Cortés's invasion. His dictionary, while useful for missionaries, also served the ends of colonial policy. The Spanish sought to make Nahuatl the single language of communication in Mexico, marginalizing all other spoken and written Indian languages. This attempt to consolidate linguistic difference also effectively cut off the Indians from the language of their new masters.

French Jesuits struggled to comprend and write the languages of Indians under their dominion, both in the Caribbean, and in Canada, as the Jesuit Relations testify. Some Indians adopted the written form of their language taught by Jesuits, as reports about the Montagnais suggest.

The New England missionary effort also depended upon translation and printing. After printing the New Testament in Massachusett in 1661, John Eliot published the complete Bible in Massachusett two years later, in an edition of 1000, large by Cambridge standards. Eliot's Puritanism valued personal conversions through contact with God's Word; Puritan missionaries in New England decided to work toward teaching literacy in transliterated Indian languages, at least until all converts could be taught English. Eliot probably translated in close collaboration with native converts like Job Nesutan, although the title page does not give them credit. Three years after the Bible, Eliot attempted to compose a grammar of the same language.

eliot
Mamusse Wunneetupanatamwe Up-Biblum God...
Cambridge, Mass.:
Samuel Green and Marmaduke Johnson, 1663.
Courtesy of the Rosenbach

In the 18th century, the British continued similar work among the Mohawks. This popular primer (below) was written by Daniel Claus, a German immigrant whose lengthy residence among the Mohawks as a British military officer and interpreter during the mid-18th century enabled him to attain proficiency in the Mohawk language. After the American Revolution, and when this bilingual edition of catechisms and prayers was published, Claus supervised the relocation of many Six Nations Iroquois to Upper Canada.

mohawk
Christian Daniel Claus,
A Primer, for the Use of the Mohawk Children...
London: C. Buckton, 1786.

 

Viewers & the Viewed

Early illustrations of the Indians reflect the same narrow range of models as do prose descriptions. Almost always nude or partially clothed, the indigenous peoples are variously childlike and harmless, savage and wild, or stately and composed. They are often modeled on classical precedents from the Mediterranean world familiar to their audiences. By the middle of the 16th century, Indians also began appearing as iconographic ornaments in representations of processions, in murals, and on maps as cartouches. They are both exotic and familiar, threatening and reassuring - impressions which proved remarkably enduring.

columbus
Christopher Columbus,
De insulis nuper in mari Indico repertis.
Bound with Carlo Verardi,
In laudem...Ferdinandi Hispaniarum regis...
Basel: Johann Bergmann de Olpe, 1494.

Displayed on the right, this edition of Columbus's letter contains the first portrait of the peoples whom the Admiral encountered. A woodcut entitled "Insula hyspana" shows two groups of naked Indians looking at each other as well as at the approaching Europeans in wonderment and apprehension. Two Europeans in a small boat row to the shore, while the caravel (resembling more Noah's ark than a 15th century sailing ship) sits in the water with its oars up. The scene is the moment before an exchange of gifts, while the scenery vaguely resembles a European pastoral. The image places the notion of exchange at the center of the encounter: each side was giving, each was getting.

lery
Jean de Léry,
Histoire d'un voyage fait en la terre du Bresil, autrement dite Amerique...
Geneva: For the heirs of Eustache Vignon, 1594.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jean de Léry, a French Protestant, accompanied an ill-fated French colonial expedition to Brazil. His popular account of the voyage (first edition, 1578) contains extended descriptions of the Tupinamba Indians. The illustrations, however, reflect classical and medieval traditions, not New World realities.

Viewers & the Viewed

Early illustrations of the Indians reflect the same narrow range of models as do prose descriptions. Almost always nude or partially clothed, the indigenous peoples are variously childlike and harmless, savage and wild, or stately and composed. They are often modeled on classical precedents from the Mediterranean world familiar to their audiences. By the middle of the 16th century, Indians also began appearing as iconographic ornaments in representations of processions, in murals, and on maps as cartouches. They are both exotic and familiar, threatening and reassuring - impressions which proved remarkably enduring.

columbus
Christopher Columbus,
De insulis nuper in mari Indico repertis.
Bound with Carlo Verardi,
In laudem...Ferdinandi Hispaniarum regis...
Basel: Johann Bergmann de Olpe, 1494.

Displayed on the right, this edition of Columbus's letter contains the first portrait of the peoples whom the Admiral encountered. A woodcut entitled "Insula hyspana" shows two groups of naked Indians looking at each other as well as at the approaching Europeans in wonderment and apprehension. Two Europeans in a small boat row to the shore, while the caravel (resembling more Noah's ark than a 15th century sailing ship) sits in the water with its oars up. The scene is the moment before an exchange of gifts, while the scenery vaguely resembles a European pastoral. The image places the notion of exchange at the center of the encounter: each side was giving, each was getting.

lery
Jean de Léry,
Histoire d'un voyage fait en la terre du Bresil, autrement dite Amerique...
Geneva: For the heirs of Eustache Vignon, 1594.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jean de Léry, a French Protestant, accompanied an ill-fated French colonial expedition to Brazil. His popular account of the voyage (first edition, 1578) contains extended descriptions of the Tupinamba Indians. The illustrations, however, reflect classical and medieval traditions, not New World realities.

Viewers & the Viewed

Early illustrations of the Indians reflect the same narrow range of models as do prose descriptions. Almost always nude or partially clothed, the indigenous peoples are variously childlike and harmless, savage and wild, or stately and composed. They are often modeled on classical precedents from the Mediterranean world familiar to their audiences. By the middle of the 16th century, Indians also began appearing as iconographic ornaments in representations of processions, in murals, and on maps as cartouches. They are both exotic and familiar, threatening and reassuring - impressions which proved remarkably enduring.

columbus
Christopher Columbus,
De insulis nuper in mari Indico repertis.
Bound with Carlo Verardi,
In laudem...Ferdinandi Hispaniarum regis...
Basel: Johann Bergmann de Olpe, 1494.

Displayed on the right, this edition of Columbus's letter contains the first portrait of the peoples whom the Admiral encountered. A woodcut entitled "Insula hyspana" shows two groups of naked Indians looking at each other as well as at the approaching Europeans in wonderment and apprehension. Two Europeans in a small boat row to the shore, while the caravel (resembling more Noah's ark than a 15th century sailing ship) sits in the water with its oars up. The scene is the moment before an exchange of gifts, while the scenery vaguely resembles a European pastoral. The image places the notion of exchange at the center of the encounter: each side was giving, each was getting.

lery
Jean de Léry,
Histoire d'un voyage fait en la terre du Bresil, autrement dite Amerique...
Geneva: For the heirs of Eustache Vignon, 1594.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jean de Léry, a French Protestant, accompanied an ill-fated French colonial expedition to Brazil. His popular account of the voyage (first edition, 1578) contains extended descriptions of the Tupinamba Indians. The illustrations, however, reflect classical and medieval traditions, not New World realities.

Viewers & the Viewed

Early illustrations of the Indians reflect the same narrow range of models as do prose descriptions. Almost always nude or partially clothed, the indigenous peoples are variously childlike and harmless, savage and wild, or stately and composed. They are often modeled on classical precedents from the Mediterranean world familiar to their audiences. By the middle of the 16th century, Indians also began appearing as iconographic ornaments in representations of processions, in murals, and on maps as cartouches. They are both exotic and familiar, threatening and reassuring - impressions which proved remarkably enduring.

columbus
Christopher Columbus,
De insulis nuper in mari Indico repertis.
Bound with Carlo Verardi,
In laudem...Ferdinandi Hispaniarum regis...
Basel: Johann Bergmann de Olpe, 1494.

Displayed on the right, this edition of Columbus's letter contains the first portrait of the peoples whom the Admiral encountered. A woodcut entitled "Insula hyspana" shows two groups of naked Indians looking at each other as well as at the approaching Europeans in wonderment and apprehension. Two Europeans in a small boat row to the shore, while the caravel (resembling more Noah's ark than a 15th century sailing ship) sits in the water with its oars up. The scene is the moment before an exchange of gifts, while the scenery vaguely resembles a European pastoral. The image places the notion of exchange at the center of the encounter: each side was giving, each was getting.

lery
Jean de Léry,
Histoire d'un voyage fait en la terre du Bresil, autrement dite Amerique...
Geneva: For the heirs of Eustache Vignon, 1594.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jean de Léry, a French Protestant, accompanied an ill-fated French colonial expedition to Brazil. His popular account of the voyage (first edition, 1578) contains extended descriptions of the Tupinamba Indians. The illustrations, however, reflect classical and medieval traditions, not New World realities.

Viewers & the Viewed

Early illustrations of the Indians reflect the same narrow range of models as do prose descriptions. Almost always nude or partially clothed, the indigenous peoples are variously childlike and harmless, savage and wild, or stately and composed. They are often modeled on classical precedents from the Mediterranean world familiar to their audiences. By the middle of the 16th century, Indians also began appearing as iconographic ornaments in representations of processions, in murals, and on maps as cartouches. They are both exotic and familiar, threatening and reassuring - impressions which proved remarkably enduring.

columbus
Christopher Columbus,
De insulis nuper in mari Indico repertis.
Bound with Carlo Verardi,
In laudem...Ferdinandi Hispaniarum regis...
Basel: Johann Bergmann de Olpe, 1494.

Displayed on the right, this edition of Columbus's letter contains the first portrait of the peoples whom the Admiral encountered. A woodcut entitled "Insula hyspana" shows two groups of naked Indians looking at each other as well as at the approaching Europeans in wonderment and apprehension. Two Europeans in a small boat row to the shore, while the caravel (resembling more Noah's ark than a 15th century sailing ship) sits in the water with its oars up. The scene is the moment before an exchange of gifts, while the scenery vaguely resembles a European pastoral. The image places the notion of exchange at the center of the encounter: each side was giving, each was getting.

lery
Jean de Léry,
Histoire d'un voyage fait en la terre du Bresil, autrement dite Amerique...
Geneva: For the heirs of Eustache Vignon, 1594.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jean de Léry, a French Protestant, accompanied an ill-fated French colonial expedition to Brazil. His popular account of the voyage (first edition, 1578) contains extended descriptions of the Tupinamba Indians. The illustrations, however, reflect classical and medieval traditions, not New World realities.

Viewers & the Viewed

Early illustrations of the Indians reflect the same narrow range of models as do prose descriptions. Almost always nude or partially clothed, the indigenous peoples are variously childlike and harmless, savage and wild, or stately and composed. They are often modeled on classical precedents from the Mediterranean world familiar to their audiences. By the middle of the 16th century, Indians also began appearing as iconographic ornaments in representations of processions, in murals, and on maps as cartouches. They are both exotic and familiar, threatening and reassuring - impressions which proved remarkably enduring.

columbus
Christopher Columbus,
De insulis nuper in mari Indico repertis.
Bound with Carlo Verardi,
In laudem...Ferdinandi Hispaniarum regis...
Basel: Johann Bergmann de Olpe, 1494.

Displayed on the right, this edition of Columbus's letter contains the first portrait of the peoples whom the Admiral encountered. A woodcut entitled "Insula hyspana" shows two groups of naked Indians looking at each other as well as at the approaching Europeans in wonderment and apprehension. Two Europeans in a small boat row to the shore, while the caravel (resembling more Noah's ark than a 15th century sailing ship) sits in the water with its oars up. The scene is the moment before an exchange of gifts, while the scenery vaguely resembles a European pastoral. The image places the notion of exchange at the center of the encounter: each side was giving, each was getting.

lery
Jean de Léry,
Histoire d'un voyage fait en la terre du Bresil, autrement dite Amerique...
Geneva: For the heirs of Eustache Vignon, 1594.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jean de Léry, a French Protestant, accompanied an ill-fated French colonial expedition to Brazil. His popular account of the voyage (first edition, 1578) contains extended descriptions of the Tupinamba Indians. The illustrations, however, reflect classical and medieval traditions, not New World realities.

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

Captivity narratives brought cultural conflict to readers with violent immediacy, by describing white captives' prolonged encounters with Indians. In many native cultures, capturing people rather than territory was the principal end of warfare. Captives were taken for purposes of adoption, execution, or ransom. For their part, Europeans captured Indians to use as soldiers, guides, interpreters, and slaves. Narratives of Europeans or white Americans held captive among Indians were in circulation as early as the 16th century.

Cabeza de Vaca's relation of his shipwreck in Florida may be the earliest such account to be printed. Cabeza de Vaca's account of his shipwreck and trek across Florida and northern Mexico in the early 16th century is sometimes considered the first "captivity" account. His narrative is crafted in ways reminiscent of medieval romance. Cabeza was one of four men out of three hundred to survive a shipwreck and subsequent hardships in Florida, c.1528. Cabeza's depictions of Indians are ambivalent, much like those in subsequent captivity narratives. Indians often appear treacherous and ignorant; yet many are generous, providing him food, shelter, and protection.

In the 17th century, Catholic readers learned of the captivity of Isaac Jogues among the Iroquois. Jogues, a Jesuit missionary in New France, was captured by the Iroquois and died while in their custody. His death was described in thorough detail by the Jesuit Relation printed in 1648 and commented upon repeatedly in subsequent accounts. Jogues's suffering and his death only rendered him a more perfect Christian martyr in the eyes of French Catholic readers. Iroquois motives, however, remain obscure. Jogues may have been singled out for particularly harsh treatment because of Iroquois anger at diseases spreading from village to village; or he may simply have been a victim of the rigorous adoption rituals Iroquois compelled their captives to undergo.

tanner
Edwin James, ed.,
A Narrative of the Captivity and
Adventures of John Tanner...

New York: G. & C. & H. Carvill, 1830.

Mary Rowlandson, a Puritan, composed her own account of captivity among tribes resisting English colonialism. Mary Rowlandson spent three months as a captive of Indian tribes allied against the English during King Philip's War. Her account, the first "captivity narrative" published in America, proved enormously popular: four editions were issued in 1682 alone, and nineteen more by 1828. Rowlandson's perspective on her Indian captors wavers: while she describes them, generally, as "hell-hounds" sent from God to test her faith, she also reveals the humanity of Indians accompanying her and provides details of the hardships they, like her, underwent in the context of the war. Later editions of tales like that of Rowlandson became American bestsellers, spawning a market for printed captivities.

The stories may have helped readers to define the uncertain boundaries between white and Indian cultures. At the same time, captives like Mary Jemison and John Tanner found much to admire in their adoptive Indian cultures and much to question in Euro-American society. Mary Jemison, also known as Dehgewanus, was captured by the Shawnees and later adopted by the Senecas. When opportunities arose to return to Euro-American society, she chose not to do so. Seaver interviewed her in 1823 and edited her account for publication. In it, Dehgewanus defends her life among the Senecas and condemns white prejudices against her community.

John Tanner, captured by Shawnees in 1785 when five years of age, was raised by a female Ottawa leader. Unlike some captives, Tanner did return to white society as an adult. His re-adaptation, however, was unsuccessful, and he had several failed marriages and legal mishaps. His narrative is notable for the attention it pays to native pictography and to the multiple uses of pictographs as a means of communication among the Ottawas.

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

Captivity narratives brought cultural conflict to readers with violent immediacy, by describing white captives' prolonged encounters with Indians. In many native cultures, capturing people rather than territory was the principal end of warfare. Captives were taken for purposes of adoption, execution, or ransom. For their part, Europeans captured Indians to use as soldiers, guides, interpreters, and slaves. Narratives of Europeans or white Americans held captive among Indians were in circulation as early as the 16th century.

Cabeza de Vaca's relation of his shipwreck in Florida may be the earliest such account to be printed. Cabeza de Vaca's account of his shipwreck and trek across Florida and northern Mexico in the early 16th century is sometimes considered the first "captivity" account. His narrative is crafted in ways reminiscent of medieval romance. Cabeza was one of four men out of three hundred to survive a shipwreck and subsequent hardships in Florida, c.1528. Cabeza's depictions of Indians are ambivalent, much like those in subsequent captivity narratives. Indians often appear treacherous and ignorant; yet many are generous, providing him food, shelter, and protection.

In the 17th century, Catholic readers learned of the captivity of Isaac Jogues among the Iroquois. Jogues, a Jesuit missionary in New France, was captured by the Iroquois and died while in their custody. His death was described in thorough detail by the Jesuit Relation printed in 1648 and commented upon repeatedly in subsequent accounts. Jogues's suffering and his death only rendered him a more perfect Christian martyr in the eyes of French Catholic readers. Iroquois motives, however, remain obscure. Jogues may have been singled out for particularly harsh treatment because of Iroquois anger at diseases spreading from village to village; or he may simply have been a victim of the rigorous adoption rituals Iroquois compelled their captives to undergo.

tanner
Edwin James, ed.,
A Narrative of the Captivity and
Adventures of John Tanner...

New York: G. & C. & H. Carvill, 1830.

Mary Rowlandson, a Puritan, composed her own account of captivity among tribes resisting English colonialism. Mary Rowlandson spent three months as a captive of Indian tribes allied against the English during King Philip's War. Her account, the first "captivity narrative" published in America, proved enormously popular: four editions were issued in 1682 alone, and nineteen more by 1828. Rowlandson's perspective on her Indian captors wavers: while she describes them, generally, as "hell-hounds" sent from God to test her faith, she also reveals the humanity of Indians accompanying her and provides details of the hardships they, like her, underwent in the context of the war. Later editions of tales like that of Rowlandson became American bestsellers, spawning a market for printed captivities.

The stories may have helped readers to define the uncertain boundaries between white and Indian cultures. At the same time, captives like Mary Jemison and John Tanner found much to admire in their adoptive Indian cultures and much to question in Euro-American society. Mary Jemison, also known as Dehgewanus, was captured by the Shawnees and later adopted by the Senecas. When opportunities arose to return to Euro-American society, she chose not to do so. Seaver interviewed her in 1823 and edited her account for publication. In it, Dehgewanus defends her life among the Senecas and condemns white prejudices against her community.

John Tanner, captured by Shawnees in 1785 when five years of age, was raised by a female Ottawa leader. Unlike some captives, Tanner did return to white society as an adult. His re-adaptation, however, was unsuccessful, and he had several failed marriages and legal mishaps. His narrative is notable for the attention it pays to native pictography and to the multiple uses of pictographs as a means of communication among the Ottawas.

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

Captivity narratives brought cultural conflict to readers with violent immediacy, by describing white captives' prolonged encounters with Indians. In many native cultures, capturing people rather than territory was the principal end of warfare. Captives were taken for purposes of adoption, execution, or ransom. For their part, Europeans captured Indians to use as soldiers, guides, interpreters, and slaves. Narratives of Europeans or white Americans held captive among Indians were in circulation as early as the 16th century.

Cabeza de Vaca's relation of his shipwreck in Florida may be the earliest such account to be printed. Cabeza de Vaca's account of his shipwreck and trek across Florida and northern Mexico in the early 16th century is sometimes considered the first "captivity" account. His narrative is crafted in ways reminiscent of medieval romance. Cabeza was one of four men out of three hundred to survive a shipwreck and subsequent hardships in Florida, c.1528. Cabeza's depictions of Indians are ambivalent, much like those in subsequent captivity narratives. Indians often appear treacherous and ignorant; yet many are generous, providing him food, shelter, and protection.

In the 17th century, Catholic readers learned of the captivity of Isaac Jogues among the Iroquois. Jogues, a Jesuit missionary in New France, was captured by the Iroquois and died while in their custody. His death was described in thorough detail by the Jesuit Relation printed in 1648 and commented upon repeatedly in subsequent accounts. Jogues's suffering and his death only rendered him a more perfect Christian martyr in the eyes of French Catholic readers. Iroquois motives, however, remain obscure. Jogues may have been singled out for particularly harsh treatment because of Iroquois anger at diseases spreading from village to village; or he may simply have been a victim of the rigorous adoption rituals Iroquois compelled their captives to undergo.

tanner
Edwin James, ed.,
A Narrative of the Captivity and
Adventures of John Tanner...

New York: G. & C. & H. Carvill, 1830.

Mary Rowlandson, a Puritan, composed her own account of captivity among tribes resisting English colonialism. Mary Rowlandson spent three months as a captive of Indian tribes allied against the English during King Philip's War. Her account, the first "captivity narrative" published in America, proved enormously popular: four editions were issued in 1682 alone, and nineteen more by 1828. Rowlandson's perspective on her Indian captors wavers: while she describes them, generally, as "hell-hounds" sent from God to test her faith, she also reveals the humanity of Indians accompanying her and provides details of the hardships they, like her, underwent in the context of the war. Later editions of tales like that of Rowlandson became American bestsellers, spawning a market for printed captivities.

The stories may have helped readers to define the uncertain boundaries between white and Indian cultures. At the same time, captives like Mary Jemison and John Tanner found much to admire in their adoptive Indian cultures and much to question in Euro-American society. Mary Jemison, also known as Dehgewanus, was captured by the Shawnees and later adopted by the Senecas. When opportunities arose to return to Euro-American society, she chose not to do so. Seaver interviewed her in 1823 and edited her account for publication. In it, Dehgewanus defends her life among the Senecas and condemns white prejudices against her community.

John Tanner, captured by Shawnees in 1785 when five years of age, was raised by a female Ottawa leader. Unlike some captives, Tanner did return to white society as an adult. His re-adaptation, however, was unsuccessful, and he had several failed marriages and legal mishaps. His narrative is notable for the attention it pays to native pictography and to the multiple uses of pictographs as a means of communication among the Ottawas.

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

Captivity narratives brought cultural conflict to readers with violent immediacy, by describing white captives' prolonged encounters with Indians. In many native cultures, capturing people rather than territory was the principal end of warfare. Captives were taken for purposes of adoption, execution, or ransom. For their part, Europeans captured Indians to use as soldiers, guides, interpreters, and slaves. Narratives of Europeans or white Americans held captive among Indians were in circulation as early as the 16th century.

Cabeza de Vaca's relation of his shipwreck in Florida may be the earliest such account to be printed. Cabeza de Vaca's account of his shipwreck and trek across Florida and northern Mexico in the early 16th century is sometimes considered the first "captivity" account. His narrative is crafted in ways reminiscent of medieval romance. Cabeza was one of four men out of three hundred to survive a shipwreck and subsequent hardships in Florida, c.1528. Cabeza's depictions of Indians are ambivalent, much like those in subsequent captivity narratives. Indians often appear treacherous and ignorant; yet many are generous, providing him food, shelter, and protection.

In the 17th century, Catholic readers learned of the captivity of Isaac Jogues among the Iroquois. Jogues, a Jesuit missionary in New France, was captured by the Iroquois and died while in their custody. His death was described in thorough detail by the Jesuit Relation printed in 1648 and commented upon repeatedly in subsequent accounts. Jogues's suffering and his death only rendered him a more perfect Christian martyr in the eyes of French Catholic readers. Iroquois motives, however, remain obscure. Jogues may have been singled out for particularly harsh treatment because of Iroquois anger at diseases spreading from village to village; or he may simply have been a victim of the rigorous adoption rituals Iroquois compelled their captives to undergo.

tanner
Edwin James, ed.,
A Narrative of the Captivity and
Adventures of John Tanner...

New York: G. & C. & H. Carvill, 1830.

Mary Rowlandson, a Puritan, composed her own account of captivity among tribes resisting English colonialism. Mary Rowlandson spent three months as a captive of Indian tribes allied against the English during King Philip's War. Her account, the first "captivity narrative" published in America, proved enormously popular: four editions were issued in 1682 alone, and nineteen more by 1828. Rowlandson's perspective on her Indian captors wavers: while she describes them, generally, as "hell-hounds" sent from God to test her faith, she also reveals the humanity of Indians accompanying her and provides details of the hardships they, like her, underwent in the context of the war. Later editions of tales like that of Rowlandson became American bestsellers, spawning a market for printed captivities.

The stories may have helped readers to define the uncertain boundaries between white and Indian cultures. At the same time, captives like Mary Jemison and John Tanner found much to admire in their adoptive Indian cultures and much to question in Euro-American society. Mary Jemison, also known as Dehgewanus, was captured by the Shawnees and later adopted by the Senecas. When opportunities arose to return to Euro-American society, she chose not to do so. Seaver interviewed her in 1823 and edited her account for publication. In it, Dehgewanus defends her life among the Senecas and condemns white prejudices against her community.

John Tanner, captured by Shawnees in 1785 when five years of age, was raised by a female Ottawa leader. Unlike some captives, Tanner did return to white society as an adult. His re-adaptation, however, was unsuccessful, and he had several failed marriages and legal mishaps. His narrative is notable for the attention it pays to native pictography and to the multiple uses of pictographs as a means of communication among the Ottawas.

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

Captivity narratives brought cultural conflict to readers with violent immediacy, by describing white captives' prolonged encounters with Indians. In many native cultures, capturing people rather than territory was the principal end of warfare. Captives were taken for purposes of adoption, execution, or ransom. For their part, Europeans captured Indians to use as soldiers, guides, interpreters, and slaves. Narratives of Europeans or white Americans held captive among Indians were in circulation as early as the 16th century.

Cabeza de Vaca's relation of his shipwreck in Florida may be the earliest such account to be printed. Cabeza de Vaca's account of his shipwreck and trek across Florida and northern Mexico in the early 16th century is sometimes considered the first "captivity" account. His narrative is crafted in ways reminiscent of medieval romance. Cabeza was one of four men out of three hundred to survive a shipwreck and subsequent hardships in Florida, c.1528. Cabeza's depictions of Indians are ambivalent, much like those in subsequent captivity narratives. Indians often appear treacherous and ignorant; yet many are generous, providing him food, shelter, and protection.

In the 17th century, Catholic readers learned of the captivity of Isaac Jogues among the Iroquois. Jogues, a Jesuit missionary in New France, was captured by the Iroquois and died while in their custody. His death was described in thorough detail by the Jesuit Relation printed in 1648 and commented upon repeatedly in subsequent accounts. Jogues's suffering and his death only rendered him a more perfect Christian martyr in the eyes of French Catholic readers. Iroquois motives, however, remain obscure. Jogues may have been singled out for particularly harsh treatment because of Iroquois anger at diseases spreading from village to village; or he may simply have been a victim of the rigorous adoption rituals Iroquois compelled their captives to undergo.

tanner
Edwin James, ed.,
A Narrative of the Captivity and
Adventures of John Tanner...

New York: G. & C. & H. Carvill, 1830.

Mary Rowlandson, a Puritan, composed her own account of captivity among tribes resisting English colonialism. Mary Rowlandson spent three months as a captive of Indian tribes allied against the English during King Philip's War. Her account, the first "captivity narrative" published in America, proved enormously popular: four editions were issued in 1682 alone, and nineteen more by 1828. Rowlandson's perspective on her Indian captors wavers: while she describes them, generally, as "hell-hounds" sent from God to test her faith, she also reveals the humanity of Indians accompanying her and provides details of the hardships they, like her, underwent in the context of the war. Later editions of tales like that of Rowlandson became American bestsellers, spawning a market for printed captivities.

The stories may have helped readers to define the uncertain boundaries between white and Indian cultures. At the same time, captives like Mary Jemison and John Tanner found much to admire in their adoptive Indian cultures and much to question in Euro-American society. Mary Jemison, also known as Dehgewanus, was captured by the Shawnees and later adopted by the Senecas. When opportunities arose to return to Euro-American society, she chose not to do so. Seaver interviewed her in 1823 and edited her account for publication. In it, Dehgewanus defends her life among the Senecas and condemns white prejudices against her community.

John Tanner, captured by Shawnees in 1785 when five years of age, was raised by a female Ottawa leader. Unlike some captives, Tanner did return to white society as an adult. His re-adaptation, however, was unsuccessful, and he had several failed marriages and legal mishaps. His narrative is notable for the attention it pays to native pictography and to the multiple uses of pictographs as a means of communication among the Ottawas.

 

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

Captivity narratives brought cultural conflict to readers with violent immediacy, by describing white captives' prolonged encounters with Indians. In many native cultures, capturing people rather than territory was the principal end of warfare. Captives were taken for purposes of adoption, execution, or ransom. For their part, Europeans captured Indians to use as soldiers, guides, interpreters, and slaves. Narratives of Europeans or white Americans held captive among Indians were in circulation as early as the 16th century.

Cabeza de Vaca's relation of his shipwreck in Florida may be the earliest such account to be printed. Cabeza de Vaca's account of his shipwreck and trek across Florida and northern Mexico in the early 16th century is sometimes considered the first "captivity" account. His narrative is crafted in ways reminiscent of medieval romance. Cabeza was one of four men out of three hundred to survive a shipwreck and subsequent hardships in Florida, c.1528. Cabeza's depictions of Indians are ambivalent, much like those in subsequent captivity narratives. Indians often appear treacherous and ignorant; yet many are generous, providing him food, shelter, and protection.

In the 17th century, Catholic readers learned of the captivity of Isaac Jogues among the Iroquois. Jogues, a Jesuit missionary in New France, was captured by the Iroquois and died while in their custody. His death was described in thorough detail by the Jesuit Relation printed in 1648 and commented upon repeatedly in subsequent accounts. Jogues's suffering and his death only rendered him a more perfect Christian martyr in the eyes of French Catholic readers. Iroquois motives, however, remain obscure. Jogues may have been singled out for particularly harsh treatment because of Iroquois anger at diseases spreading from village to village; or he may simply have been a victim of the rigorous adoption rituals Iroquois compelled their captives to undergo.

tanner
Edwin James, ed.,
A Narrative of the Captivity and
Adventures of John Tanner...

New York: G. & C. & H. Carvill, 1830.

Mary Rowlandson, a Puritan, composed her own account of captivity among tribes resisting English colonialism. Mary Rowlandson spent three months as a captive of Indian tribes allied against the English during King Philip's War. Her account, the first "captivity narrative" published in America, proved enormously popular: four editions were issued in 1682 alone, and nineteen more by 1828. Rowlandson's perspective on her Indian captors wavers: while she describes them, generally, as "hell-hounds" sent from God to test her faith, she also reveals the humanity of Indians accompanying her and provides details of the hardships they, like her, underwent in the context of the war. Later editions of tales like that of Rowlandson became American bestsellers, spawning a market for printed captivities.

The stories may have helped readers to define the uncertain boundaries between white and Indian cultures. At the same time, captives like Mary Jemison and John Tanner found much to admire in their adoptive Indian cultures and much to question in Euro-American society. Mary Jemison, also known as Dehgewanus, was captured by the Shawnees and later adopted by the Senecas. When opportunities arose to return to Euro-American society, she chose not to do so. Seaver interviewed her in 1823 and edited her account for publication. In it, Dehgewanus defends her life among the Senecas and condemns white prejudices against her community.

John Tanner, captured by Shawnees in 1785 when five years of age, was raised by a female Ottawa leader. Unlike some captives, Tanner did return to white society as an adult. His re-adaptation, however, was unsuccessful, and he had several failed marriages and legal mishaps. His narrative is notable for the attention it pays to native pictography and to the multiple uses of pictographs as a means of communication among the Ottawas.

 

New World Lands in Print

champlain
Samuel de Champlain,
Les Voyages du Sieur de Champlain capitaine
ordinarie pour le Roy en la Nouvelle France
es annees 1615 et 1618.

Paris: Claude Collet, 1619.

American landscapes, viewed from different angles, also fascinated Europeans like Samuel de Champlain, who described Algonquian hunting practices. The engraving shows a deer-trap used by Algonquin and Montagnais tribes near Quebec. Champlain, unlike most European observers, describes some native hunting and agricultural practices in detail, although the landscape here resembles that of a European hunting scene rather than that of Eastern Canada.

Arnoldus Montanus presented exotic New World creatures for European readers, while Juan Eusebio Nieremberg applied principles of natural history to the New World by cataloging plants, animalsand peoples. The lavish engravings which accompany Montanus's text provide examples of the growing taste among European readers for representations of New World plants and animals, pictured in their exotic settings. Nieremberg's text is one of the earliest encyclopedic discussions of the flora and fauna of the New World, with particular emphasis on New Spain. The fauna shown are not the only subject of Nieremberg's text: included are extensive discussions of Aztec and Incan cultures, which European readers had come to consider part of "natural," unchanging, American landscapes.

 

 

New World Lands in Print

champlain
Samuel de Champlain,
Les Voyages du Sieur de Champlain capitaine
ordinarie pour le Roy en la Nouvelle France
es annees 1615 et 1618.

Paris: Claude Collet, 1619.

American landscapes, viewed from different angles, also fascinated Europeans like Samuel de Champlain, who described Algonquian hunting practices. The engraving shows a deer-trap used by Algonquin and Montagnais tribes near Quebec. Champlain, unlike most European observers, describes some native hunting and agricultural practices in detail, although the landscape here resembles that of a European hunting scene rather than that of Eastern Canada.

Arnoldus Montanus presented exotic New World creatures for European readers, while Juan Eusebio Nieremberg applied principles of natural history to the New World by cataloging plants, animalsand peoples. The lavish engravings which accompany Montanus's text provide examples of the growing taste among European readers for representations of New World plants and animals, pictured in their exotic settings. Nieremberg's text is one of the earliest encyclopedic discussions of the flora and fauna of the New World, with particular emphasis on New Spain. The fauna shown are not the only subject of Nieremberg's text: included are extensive discussions of Aztec and Incan cultures, which European readers had come to consider part of "natural," unchanging, American landscapes.

 

 

New World Lands in Print

champlain
Samuel de Champlain,
Les Voyages du Sieur de Champlain capitaine
ordinarie pour le Roy en la Nouvelle France
es annees 1615 et 1618.

Paris: Claude Collet, 1619.

American landscapes, viewed from different angles, also fascinated Europeans like Samuel de Champlain, who described Algonquian hunting practices. The engraving shows a deer-trap used by Algonquin and Montagnais tribes near Quebec. Champlain, unlike most European observers, describes some native hunting and agricultural practices in detail, although the landscape here resembles that of a European hunting scene rather than that of Eastern Canada.

Arnoldus Montanus presented exotic New World creatures for European readers, while Juan Eusebio Nieremberg applied principles of natural history to the New World by cataloging plants, animalsand peoples. The lavish engravings which accompany Montanus's text provide examples of the growing taste among European readers for representations of New World plants and animals, pictured in their exotic settings. Nieremberg's text is one of the earliest encyclopedic discussions of the flora and fauna of the New World, with particular emphasis on New Spain. The fauna shown are not the only subject of Nieremberg's text: included are extensive discussions of Aztec and Incan cultures, which European readers had come to consider part of "natural," unchanging, American landscapes.

 

 

Print & Native Cultures

Most Europeans chose to overlook the fact that many native cultures, like them, employed forms of writing to record matters of cultural and political importanceIncan quipus (knotted cords); Mayan hieroglyphic codices; Iroquoian and Algonquian pictographs and wampum belts, to name just a few. Europeans emphasized the supremacy of alphabetic literacy (in European languages) and sought to teach it. Some natives who became literate went on to employ print in order to speak directly to European readers. Garcilaso de la Vega, an Inca, modeled his histories on European examples; his narratives were translated from Spanish into English and French. [See related essay by Sabine MacCormack]. Garcilaso de la Vega became an author in the European sense, employing the technology of print and the discipline of classical history in order to publish histories of the Spanish and the Incas. In this early printed edition, displayed below, Garcilaso narrates Hernando de Soto's conquest of Florida. The title page proclaims both Garcilaso's Incan heritage and his status in the Spanish colonial hierarchy.

garcilaso
Garcilaso de la Vega (1539-1616),
La Florida del Ynca...
Lisbon: Pedro Crasbeeck, 1605.
occom
"Revd. Samson Occom, Indian Preacher."
Engraving: Ridley & Blood, 1802.

In North America, Indian preachers like Sansom Occom and William Apess sought to appeal to the religious conscience of white audiences. Samson Occom was a member of the Mohegan tribe of Connecticut who received a missionary education prior to his ordination as a Congregational minister. His sermons, including his "Sermon at the Execution of Moses Paul" (1789), were reprinted frequently. Occom deployed a style of careful humility to mask his defense of the humanity of Native Americans.

william
William Apess,
A Son of the Forest. The Experience of William Apes,
A Native of the Forest.

New York: The author, 1831.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Son of the Forest was the first full-length autobiography published by a North American Indian. Apess, a Pequot, used his position as a Methodist preacher to reach white audiences, both in speech and in print. Although he defended the virtues of native oral traditions, he was acutely aware of the damage inflicted by a written historical record devoted entirely to the victors' version of events. A masterful polemicist, Apess published five works between 1829 and 1836. He added the second "s" to his name in 1836.

David Cusick wrote the oral traditions of the Iroquois, while the defeated Black Hawk turned to autobiography to seek justice for his people. Cusick, a Tuscarora, was responsible for this version of important Iroquois oral traditions displayed below. This work includes the stories of the origin of the world and of the Iroquois League. This text is one of the first written appreciations of a North American Indian culture produced by an Indian. The illustrations are probably based upon ones made by Cusick or his brother Dennis.

atotarho
David Cusick,
David Cusick's Sketches of the Ancient History of the Six Nations...
Tuscarora Village, NY:
Lewiston, Niagara, and Co., 1828.
sequoyah
Thomas McKenney and James Hall,
History of the Indian Tribes of North America:
with biographical sketches and anecdotes
of the principal chiefs...

Philadelphia: E.C. Biddle, 1836-1844.

Sequoyah, dissatisfied with writing in English, developed a syllabary to enable Cherokees to become literate more quickly.Sequoyah (George Guess, c.1770-1843) spent over a decade developing a syllabary for writing the Cherokee language. His system was remarkably simple, and became popular throughout the tribe (see the Cherokee Constitution below). Paradoxically, Sequoyah's motivation in appropriating the European-introduced technology of writing lay in his desire to combat Cherokee acculturation to Euro-American norms. The syllabary promoted Cherokee pride by making literacy available in the Cherokees' own language. Advocates of the syllabary also noted that, by writing in Cherokee, their written communication would not be available to whites.

cherokee
Constitution and Laws of the Cherokee Nation. [in Cherokee]
Parsons, Kansas: Foley r'y Printing Co., 1892-3.

 

Print & Native Cultures

Most Europeans chose to overlook the fact that many native cultures, like them, employed forms of writing to record matters of cultural and political importanceIncan quipus (knotted cords); Mayan hieroglyphic codices; Iroquoian and Algonquian pictographs and wampum belts, to name just a few. Europeans emphasized the supremacy of alphabetic literacy (in European languages) and sought to teach it. Some natives who became literate went on to employ print in order to speak directly to European readers. Garcilaso de la Vega, an Inca, modeled his histories on European examples; his narratives were translated from Spanish into English and French. [See related essay by Sabine MacCormack]. Garcilaso de la Vega became an author in the European sense, employing the technology of print and the discipline of classical history in order to publish histories of the Spanish and the Incas. In this early printed edition, displayed below, Garcilaso narrates Hernando de Soto's conquest of Florida. The title page proclaims both Garcilaso's Incan heritage and his status in the Spanish colonial hierarchy.

garcilaso
Garcilaso de la Vega (1539-1616),
La Florida del Ynca...
Lisbon: Pedro Crasbeeck, 1605.
occom
"Revd. Samson Occom, Indian Preacher."
Engraving: Ridley & Blood, 1802.

In North America, Indian preachers like Sansom Occom and William Apess sought to appeal to the religious conscience of white audiences. Samson Occom was a member of the Mohegan tribe of Connecticut who received a missionary education prior to his ordination as a Congregational minister. His sermons, including his "Sermon at the Execution of Moses Paul" (1789), were reprinted frequently. Occom deployed a style of careful humility to mask his defense of the humanity of Native Americans.

william
William Apess,
A Son of the Forest. The Experience of William Apes,
A Native of the Forest.

New York: The author, 1831.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Son of the Forest was the first full-length autobiography published by a North American Indian. Apess, a Pequot, used his position as a Methodist preacher to reach white audiences, both in speech and in print. Although he defended the virtues of native oral traditions, he was acutely aware of the damage inflicted by a written historical record devoted entirely to the victors' version of events. A masterful polemicist, Apess published five works between 1829 and 1836. He added the second "s" to his name in 1836.

David Cusick wrote the oral traditions of the Iroquois, while the defeated Black Hawk turned to autobiography to seek justice for his people. Cusick, a Tuscarora, was responsible for this version of important Iroquois oral traditions displayed below. This work includes the stories of the origin of the world and of the Iroquois League. This text is one of the first written appreciations of a North American Indian culture produced by an Indian. The illustrations are probably based upon ones made by Cusick or his brother Dennis.

atotarho
David Cusick,
David Cusick's Sketches of the Ancient History of the Six Nations...
Tuscarora Village, NY:
Lewiston, Niagara, and Co., 1828.
sequoyah
Thomas McKenney and James Hall,
History of the Indian Tribes of North America:
with biographical sketches and anecdotes
of the principal chiefs...

Philadelphia: E.C. Biddle, 1836-1844.

Sequoyah, dissatisfied with writing in English, developed a syllabary to enable Cherokees to become literate more quickly.Sequoyah (George Guess, c.1770-1843) spent over a decade developing a syllabary for writing the Cherokee language. His system was remarkably simple, and became popular throughout the tribe (see the Cherokee Constitution below). Paradoxically, Sequoyah's motivation in appropriating the European-introduced technology of writing lay in his desire to combat Cherokee acculturation to Euro-American norms. The syllabary promoted Cherokee pride by making literacy available in the Cherokees' own language. Advocates of the syllabary also noted that, by writing in Cherokee, their written communication would not be available to whites.

cherokee
Constitution and Laws of the Cherokee Nation. [in Cherokee]
Parsons, Kansas: Foley r'y Printing Co., 1892-3.

 

Print & Native Cultures

Most Europeans chose to overlook the fact that many native cultures, like them, employed forms of writing to record matters of cultural and political importanceIncan quipus (knotted cords); Mayan hieroglyphic codices; Iroquoian and Algonquian pictographs and wampum belts, to name just a few. Europeans emphasized the supremacy of alphabetic literacy (in European languages) and sought to teach it. Some natives who became literate went on to employ print in order to speak directly to European readers. Garcilaso de la Vega, an Inca, modeled his histories on European examples; his narratives were translated from Spanish into English and French. [See related essay by Sabine MacCormack]. Garcilaso de la Vega became an author in the European sense, employing the technology of print and the discipline of classical history in order to publish histories of the Spanish and the Incas. In this early printed edition, displayed below, Garcilaso narrates Hernando de Soto's conquest of Florida. The title page proclaims both Garcilaso's Incan heritage and his status in the Spanish colonial hierarchy.

garcilaso
Garcilaso de la Vega (1539-1616),
La Florida del Ynca...
Lisbon: Pedro Crasbeeck, 1605.
occom
"Revd. Samson Occom, Indian Preacher."
Engraving: Ridley & Blood, 1802.

In North America, Indian preachers like Sansom Occom and William Apess sought to appeal to the religious conscience of white audiences. Samson Occom was a member of the Mohegan tribe of Connecticut who received a missionary education prior to his ordination as a Congregational minister. His sermons, including his "Sermon at the Execution of Moses Paul" (1789), were reprinted frequently. Occom deployed a style of careful humility to mask his defense of the humanity of Native Americans.

william
William Apess,
A Son of the Forest. The Experience of William Apes,
A Native of the Forest.

New York: The author, 1831.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Son of the Forest was the first full-length autobiography published by a North American Indian. Apess, a Pequot, used his position as a Methodist preacher to reach white audiences, both in speech and in print. Although he defended the virtues of native oral traditions, he was acutely aware of the damage inflicted by a written historical record devoted entirely to the victors' version of events. A masterful polemicist, Apess published five works between 1829 and 1836. He added the second "s" to his name in 1836.

David Cusick wrote the oral traditions of the Iroquois, while the defeated Black Hawk turned to autobiography to seek justice for his people. Cusick, a Tuscarora, was responsible for this version of important Iroquois oral traditions displayed below. This work includes the stories of the origin of the world and of the Iroquois League. This text is one of the first written appreciations of a North American Indian culture produced by an Indian. The illustrations are probably based upon ones made by Cusick or his brother Dennis.

atotarho
David Cusick,
David Cusick's Sketches of the Ancient History of the Six Nations...
Tuscarora Village, NY:
Lewiston, Niagara, and Co., 1828.
sequoyah
Thomas McKenney and James Hall,
History of the Indian Tribes of North America:
with biographical sketches and anecdotes
of the principal chiefs...

Philadelphia: E.C. Biddle, 1836-1844.

Sequoyah, dissatisfied with writing in English, developed a syllabary to enable Cherokees to become literate more quickly.Sequoyah (George Guess, c.1770-1843) spent over a decade developing a syllabary for writing the Cherokee language. His system was remarkably simple, and became popular throughout the tribe (see the Cherokee Constitution below). Paradoxically, Sequoyah's motivation in appropriating the European-introduced technology of writing lay in his desire to combat Cherokee acculturation to Euro-American norms. The syllabary promoted Cherokee pride by making literacy available in the Cherokees' own language. Advocates of the syllabary also noted that, by writing in Cherokee, their written communication would not be available to whites.

cherokee
Constitution and Laws of the Cherokee Nation. [in Cherokee]
Parsons, Kansas: Foley r'y Printing Co., 1892-3.

 

Print & Native Cultures

Most Europeans chose to overlook the fact that many native cultures, like them, employed forms of writing to record matters of cultural and political importanceIncan quipus (knotted cords); Mayan hieroglyphic codices; Iroquoian and Algonquian pictographs and wampum belts, to name just a few. Europeans emphasized the supremacy of alphabetic literacy (in European languages) and sought to teach it. Some natives who became literate went on to employ print in order to speak directly to European readers. Garcilaso de la Vega, an Inca, modeled his histories on European examples; his narratives were translated from Spanish into English and French. [See related essay by Sabine MacCormack]. Garcilaso de la Vega became an author in the European sense, employing the technology of print and the discipline of classical history in order to publish histories of the Spanish and the Incas. In this early printed edition, displayed below, Garcilaso narrates Hernando de Soto's conquest of Florida. The title page proclaims both Garcilaso's Incan heritage and his status in the Spanish colonial hierarchy.

garcilaso
Garcilaso de la Vega (1539-1616),
La Florida del Ynca...
Lisbon: Pedro Crasbeeck, 1605.
occom
"Revd. Samson Occom, Indian Preacher."
Engraving: Ridley & Blood, 1802.

In North America, Indian preachers like Sansom Occom and William Apess sought to appeal to the religious conscience of white audiences. Samson Occom was a member of the Mohegan tribe of Connecticut who received a missionary education prior to his ordination as a Congregational minister. His sermons, including his "Sermon at the Execution of Moses Paul" (1789), were reprinted frequently. Occom deployed a style of careful humility to mask his defense of the humanity of Native Americans.

william
William Apess,
A Son of the Forest. The Experience of William Apes,
A Native of the Forest.

New York: The author, 1831.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Son of the Forest was the first full-length autobiography published by a North American Indian. Apess, a Pequot, used his position as a Methodist preacher to reach white audiences, both in speech and in print. Although he defended the virtues of native oral traditions, he was acutely aware of the damage inflicted by a written historical record devoted entirely to the victors' version of events. A masterful polemicist, Apess published five works between 1829 and 1836. He added the second "s" to his name in 1836.

David Cusick wrote the oral traditions of the Iroquois, while the defeated Black Hawk turned to autobiography to seek justice for his people. Cusick, a Tuscarora, was responsible for this version of important Iroquois oral traditions displayed below. This work includes the stories of the origin of the world and of the Iroquois League. This text is one of the first written appreciations of a North American Indian culture produced by an Indian. The illustrations are probably based upon ones made by Cusick or his brother Dennis.

atotarho
David Cusick,
David Cusick's Sketches of the Ancient History of the Six Nations...
Tuscarora Village, NY:
Lewiston, Niagara, and Co., 1828.
sequoyah
Thomas McKenney and James Hall,
History of the Indian Tribes of North America:
with biographical sketches and anecdotes
of the principal chiefs...

Philadelphia: E.C. Biddle, 1836-1844.

Sequoyah, dissatisfied with writing in English, developed a syllabary to enable Cherokees to become literate more quickly.Sequoyah (George Guess, c.1770-1843) spent over a decade developing a syllabary for writing the Cherokee language. His system was remarkably simple, and became popular throughout the tribe (see the Cherokee Constitution below). Paradoxically, Sequoyah's motivation in appropriating the European-introduced technology of writing lay in his desire to combat Cherokee acculturation to Euro-American norms. The syllabary promoted Cherokee pride by making literacy available in the Cherokees' own language. Advocates of the syllabary also noted that, by writing in Cherokee, their written communication would not be available to whites.

cherokee
Constitution and Laws of the Cherokee Nation. [in Cherokee]
Parsons, Kansas: Foley r'y Printing Co., 1892-3.

 

Print & Native Cultures

Most Europeans chose to overlook the fact that many native cultures, like them, employed forms of writing to record matters of cultural and political importanceIncan quipus (knotted cords); Mayan hieroglyphic codices; Iroquoian and Algonquian pictographs and wampum belts, to name just a few. Europeans emphasized the supremacy of alphabetic literacy (in European languages) and sought to teach it. Some natives who became literate went on to employ print in order to speak directly to European readers. Garcilaso de la Vega, an Inca, modeled his histories on European examples; his narratives were translated from Spanish into English and French. [See related essay by Sabine MacCormack]. Garcilaso de la Vega became an author in the European sense, employing the technology of print and the discipline of classical history in order to publish histories of the Spanish and the Incas. In this early printed edition, displayed below, Garcilaso narrates Hernando de Soto's conquest of Florida. The title page proclaims both Garcilaso's Incan heritage and his status in the Spanish colonial hierarchy.

garcilaso
Garcilaso de la Vega (1539-1616),
La Florida del Ynca...
Lisbon: Pedro Crasbeeck, 1605.
occom
"Revd. Samson Occom, Indian Preacher."
Engraving: Ridley & Blood, 1802.

In North America, Indian preachers like Sansom Occom and William Apess sought to appeal to the religious conscience of white audiences. Samson Occom was a member of the Mohegan tribe of Connecticut who received a missionary education prior to his ordination as a Congregational minister. His sermons, including his "Sermon at the Execution of Moses Paul" (1789), were reprinted frequently. Occom deployed a style of careful humility to mask his defense of the humanity of Native Americans.

william
William Apess,
A Son of the Forest. The Experience of William Apes,
A Native of the Forest.

New York: The author, 1831.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Son of the Forest was the first full-length autobiography published by a North American Indian. Apess, a Pequot, used his position as a Methodist preacher to reach white audiences, both in speech and in print. Although he defended the virtues of native oral traditions, he was acutely aware of the damage inflicted by a written historical record devoted entirely to the victors' version of events. A masterful polemicist, Apess published five works between 1829 and 1836. He added the second "s" to his name in 1836.

David Cusick wrote the oral traditions of the Iroquois, while the defeated Black Hawk turned to autobiography to seek justice for his people. Cusick, a Tuscarora, was responsible for this version of important Iroquois oral traditions displayed below. This work includes the stories of the origin of the world and of the Iroquois League. This text is one of the first written appreciations of a North American Indian culture produced by an Indian. The illustrations are probably based upon ones made by Cusick or his brother Dennis.

atotarho
David Cusick,
David Cusick's Sketches of the Ancient History of the Six Nations...
Tuscarora Village, NY:
Lewiston, Niagara, and Co., 1828.
sequoyah
Thomas McKenney and James Hall,
History of the Indian Tribes of North America:
with biographical sketches and anecdotes
of the principal chiefs...

Philadelphia: E.C. Biddle, 1836-1844.

Sequoyah, dissatisfied with writing in English, developed a syllabary to enable Cherokees to become literate more quickly.Sequoyah (George Guess, c.1770-1843) spent over a decade developing a syllabary for writing the Cherokee language. His system was remarkably simple, and became popular throughout the tribe (see the Cherokee Constitution below). Paradoxically, Sequoyah's motivation in appropriating the European-introduced technology of writing lay in his desire to combat Cherokee acculturation to Euro-American norms. The syllabary promoted Cherokee pride by making literacy available in the Cherokees' own language. Advocates of the syllabary also noted that, by writing in Cherokee, their written communication would not be available to whites.

cherokee
Constitution and Laws of the Cherokee Nation. [in Cherokee]
Parsons, Kansas: Foley r'y Printing Co., 1892-3.

 

Print & Native Cultures

Most Europeans chose to overlook the fact that many native cultures, like them, employed forms of writing to record matters of cultural and political importanceIncan quipus (knotted cords); Mayan hieroglyphic codices; Iroquoian and Algonquian pictographs and wampum belts, to name just a few. Europeans emphasized the supremacy of alphabetic literacy (in European languages) and sought to teach it. Some natives who became literate went on to employ print in order to speak directly to European readers. Garcilaso de la Vega, an Inca, modeled his histories on European examples; his narratives were translated from Spanish into English and French. [See related essay by Sabine MacCormack]. Garcilaso de la Vega became an author in the European sense, employing the technology of print and the discipline of classical history in order to publish histories of the Spanish and the Incas. In this early printed edition, displayed below, Garcilaso narrates Hernando de Soto's conquest of Florida. The title page proclaims both Garcilaso's Incan heritage and his status in the Spanish colonial hierarchy.

garcilaso
Garcilaso de la Vega (1539-1616),
La Florida del Ynca...
Lisbon: Pedro Crasbeeck, 1605.
occom
"Revd. Samson Occom, Indian Preacher."
Engraving: Ridley & Blood, 1802.

In North America, Indian preachers like Sansom Occom and William Apess sought to appeal to the religious conscience of white audiences. Samson Occom was a member of the Mohegan tribe of Connecticut who received a missionary education prior to his ordination as a Congregational minister. His sermons, including his "Sermon at the Execution of Moses Paul" (1789), were reprinted frequently. Occom deployed a style of careful humility to mask his defense of the humanity of Native Americans.

william
William Apess,
A Son of the Forest. The Experience of William Apes,
A Native of the Forest.

New York: The author, 1831.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Son of the Forest was the first full-length autobiography published by a North American Indian. Apess, a Pequot, used his position as a Methodist preacher to reach white audiences, both in speech and in print. Although he defended the virtues of native oral traditions, he was acutely aware of the damage inflicted by a written historical record devoted entirely to the victors' version of events. A masterful polemicist, Apess published five works between 1829 and 1836. He added the second "s" to his name in 1836.

David Cusick wrote the oral traditions of the Iroquois, while the defeated Black Hawk turned to autobiography to seek justice for his people. Cusick, a Tuscarora, was responsible for this version of important Iroquois oral traditions displayed below. This work includes the stories of the origin of the world and of the Iroquois League. This text is one of the first written appreciations of a North American Indian culture produced by an Indian. The illustrations are probably based upon ones made by Cusick or his brother Dennis.

atotarho
David Cusick,
David Cusick's Sketches of the Ancient History of the Six Nations...
Tuscarora Village, NY:
Lewiston, Niagara, and Co., 1828.
sequoyah
Thomas McKenney and James Hall,
History of the Indian Tribes of North America:
with biographical sketches and anecdotes
of the principal chiefs...

Philadelphia: E.C. Biddle, 1836-1844.

Sequoyah, dissatisfied with writing in English, developed a syllabary to enable Cherokees to become literate more quickly.Sequoyah (George Guess, c.1770-1843) spent over a decade developing a syllabary for writing the Cherokee language. His system was remarkably simple, and became popular throughout the tribe (see the Cherokee Constitution below). Paradoxically, Sequoyah's motivation in appropriating the European-introduced technology of writing lay in his desire to combat Cherokee acculturation to Euro-American norms. The syllabary promoted Cherokee pride by making literacy available in the Cherokees' own language. Advocates of the syllabary also noted that, by writing in Cherokee, their written communication would not be available to whites.

cherokee
Constitution and Laws of the Cherokee Nation. [in Cherokee]
Parsons, Kansas: Foley r'y Printing Co., 1892-3.

 

Print & Native Cultures

Most Europeans chose to overlook the fact that many native cultures, like them, employed forms of writing to record matters of cultural and political importanceIncan quipus (knotted cords); Mayan hieroglyphic codices; Iroquoian and Algonquian pictographs and wampum belts, to name just a few. Europeans emphasized the supremacy of alphabetic literacy (in European languages) and sought to teach it. Some natives who became literate went on to employ print in order to speak directly to European readers. Garcilaso de la Vega, an Inca, modeled his histories on European examples; his narratives were translated from Spanish into English and French. [See related essay by Sabine MacCormack]. Garcilaso de la Vega became an author in the European sense, employing the technology of print and the discipline of classical history in order to publish histories of the Spanish and the Incas. In this early printed edition, displayed below, Garcilaso narrates Hernando de Soto's conquest of Florida. The title page proclaims both Garcilaso's Incan heritage and his status in the Spanish colonial hierarchy.

garcilaso
Garcilaso de la Vega (1539-1616),
La Florida del Ynca...
Lisbon: Pedro Crasbeeck, 1605.
occom
"Revd. Samson Occom, Indian Preacher."
Engraving: Ridley & Blood, 1802.

In North America, Indian preachers like Sansom Occom and William Apess sought to appeal to the religious conscience of white audiences. Samson Occom was a member of the Mohegan tribe of Connecticut who received a missionary education prior to his ordination as a Congregational minister. His sermons, including his "Sermon at the Execution of Moses Paul" (1789), were reprinted frequently. Occom deployed a style of careful humility to mask his defense of the humanity of Native Americans.

william
William Apess,
A Son of the Forest. The Experience of William Apes,
A Native of the Forest.

New York: The author, 1831.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Son of the Forest was the first full-length autobiography published by a North American Indian. Apess, a Pequot, used his position as a Methodist preacher to reach white audiences, both in speech and in print. Although he defended the virtues of native oral traditions, he was acutely aware of the damage inflicted by a written historical record devoted entirely to the victors' version of events. A masterful polemicist, Apess published five works between 1829 and 1836. He added the second "s" to his name in 1836.

David Cusick wrote the oral traditions of the Iroquois, while the defeated Black Hawk turned to autobiography to seek justice for his people. Cusick, a Tuscarora, was responsible for this version of important Iroquois oral traditions displayed below. This work includes the stories of the origin of the world and of the Iroquois League. This text is one of the first written appreciations of a North American Indian culture produced by an Indian. The illustrations are probably based upon ones made by Cusick or his brother Dennis.

atotarho
David Cusick,
David Cusick's Sketches of the Ancient History of the Six Nations...
Tuscarora Village, NY:
Lewiston, Niagara, and Co., 1828.
sequoyah
Thomas McKenney and James Hall,
History of the Indian Tribes of North America:
with biographical sketches and anecdotes
of the principal chiefs...

Philadelphia: E.C. Biddle, 1836-1844.

Sequoyah, dissatisfied with writing in English, developed a syllabary to enable Cherokees to become literate more quickly.Sequoyah (George Guess, c.1770-1843) spent over a decade developing a syllabary for writing the Cherokee language. His system was remarkably simple, and became popular throughout the tribe (see the Cherokee Constitution below). Paradoxically, Sequoyah's motivation in appropriating the European-introduced technology of writing lay in his desire to combat Cherokee acculturation to Euro-American norms. The syllabary promoted Cherokee pride by making literacy available in the Cherokees' own language. Advocates of the syllabary also noted that, by writing in Cherokee, their written communication would not be available to whites.

cherokee
Constitution and Laws of the Cherokee Nation. [in Cherokee]
Parsons, Kansas: Foley r'y Printing Co., 1892-3.

 

Print & Native Cultures

Most Europeans chose to overlook the fact that many native cultures, like them, employed forms of writing to record matters of cultural and political importanceIncan quipus (knotted cords); Mayan hieroglyphic codices; Iroquoian and Algonquian pictographs and wampum belts, to name just a few. Europeans emphasized the supremacy of alphabetic literacy (in European languages) and sought to teach it. Some natives who became literate went on to employ print in order to speak directly to European readers. Garcilaso de la Vega, an Inca, modeled his histories on European examples; his narratives were translated from Spanish into English and French. [See related essay by Sabine MacCormack]. Garcilaso de la Vega became an author in the European sense, employing the technology of print and the discipline of classical history in order to publish histories of the Spanish and the Incas. In this early printed edition, displayed below, Garcilaso narrates Hernando de Soto's conquest of Florida. The title page proclaims both Garcilaso's Incan heritage and his status in the Spanish colonial hierarchy.

garcilaso
Garcilaso de la Vega (1539-1616),
La Florida del Ynca...
Lisbon: Pedro Crasbeeck, 1605.
occom
"Revd. Samson Occom, Indian Preacher."
Engraving: Ridley & Blood, 1802.

In North America, Indian preachers like Sansom Occom and William Apess sought to appeal to the religious conscience of white audiences. Samson Occom was a member of the Mohegan tribe of Connecticut who received a missionary education prior to his ordination as a Congregational minister. His sermons, including his "Sermon at the Execution of Moses Paul" (1789), were reprinted frequently. Occom deployed a style of careful humility to mask his defense of the humanity of Native Americans.

william
William Apess,
A Son of the Forest. The Experience of William Apes,
A Native of the Forest.

New York: The author, 1831.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Son of the Forest was the first full-length autobiography published by a North American Indian. Apess, a Pequot, used his position as a Methodist preacher to reach white audiences, both in speech and in print. Although he defended the virtues of native oral traditions, he was acutely aware of the damage inflicted by a written historical record devoted entirely to the victors' version of events. A masterful polemicist, Apess published five works between 1829 and 1836. He added the second "s" to his name in 1836.

David Cusick wrote the oral traditions of the Iroquois, while the defeated Black Hawk turned to autobiography to seek justice for his people. Cusick, a Tuscarora, was responsible for this version of important Iroquois oral traditions displayed below. This work includes the stories of the origin of the world and of the Iroquois League. This text is one of the first written appreciations of a North American Indian culture produced by an Indian. The illustrations are probably based upon ones made by Cusick or his brother Dennis.

atotarho
David Cusick,
David Cusick's Sketches of the Ancient History of the Six Nations...
Tuscarora Village, NY:
Lewiston, Niagara, and Co., 1828.
sequoyah
Thomas McKenney and James Hall,
History of the Indian Tribes of North America:
with biographical sketches and anecdotes
of the principal chiefs...

Philadelphia: E.C. Biddle, 1836-1844.

Sequoyah, dissatisfied with writing in English, developed a syllabary to enable Cherokees to become literate more quickly.Sequoyah (George Guess, c.1770-1843) spent over a decade developing a syllabary for writing the Cherokee language. His system was remarkably simple, and became popular throughout the tribe (see the Cherokee Constitution below). Paradoxically, Sequoyah's motivation in appropriating the European-introduced technology of writing lay in his desire to combat Cherokee acculturation to Euro-American norms. The syllabary promoted Cherokee pride by making literacy available in the Cherokees' own language. Advocates of the syllabary also noted that, by writing in Cherokee, their written communication would not be available to whites.

cherokee
Constitution and Laws of the Cherokee Nation. [in Cherokee]
Parsons, Kansas: Foley r'y Printing Co., 1892-3.

 

Print & Native Cultures

Most Europeans chose to overlook the fact that many native cultures, like them, employed forms of writing to record matters of cultural and political importanceIncan quipus (knotted cords); Mayan hieroglyphic codices; Iroquoian and Algonquian pictographs and wampum belts, to name just a few. Europeans emphasized the supremacy of alphabetic literacy (in European languages) and sought to teach it. Some natives who became literate went on to employ print in order to speak directly to European readers. Garcilaso de la Vega, an Inca, modeled his histories on European examples; his narratives were translated from Spanish into English and French. [See related essay by Sabine MacCormack]. Garcilaso de la Vega became an author in the European sense, employing the technology of print and the discipline of classical history in order to publish histories of the Spanish and the Incas. In this early printed edition, displayed below, Garcilaso narrates Hernando de Soto's conquest of Florida. The title page proclaims both Garcilaso's Incan heritage and his status in the Spanish colonial hierarchy.

garcilaso
Garcilaso de la Vega (1539-1616),
La Florida del Ynca...
Lisbon: Pedro Crasbeeck, 1605.
occom
"Revd. Samson Occom, Indian Preacher."
Engraving: Ridley & Blood, 1802.

In North America, Indian preachers like Sansom Occom and William Apess sought to appeal to the religious conscience of white audiences. Samson Occom was a member of the Mohegan tribe of Connecticut who received a missionary education prior to his ordination as a Congregational minister. His sermons, including his "Sermon at the Execution of Moses Paul" (1789), were reprinted frequently. Occom deployed a style of careful humility to mask his defense of the humanity of Native Americans.

william
William Apess,
A Son of the Forest. The Experience of William Apes,
A Native of the Forest.

New York: The author, 1831.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Son of the Forest was the first full-length autobiography published by a North American Indian. Apess, a Pequot, used his position as a Methodist preacher to reach white audiences, both in speech and in print. Although he defended the virtues of native oral traditions, he was acutely aware of the damage inflicted by a written historical record devoted entirely to the victors' version of events. A masterful polemicist, Apess published five works between 1829 and 1836. He added the second "s" to his name in 1836.

David Cusick wrote the oral traditions of the Iroquois, while the defeated Black Hawk turned to autobiography to seek justice for his people. Cusick, a Tuscarora, was responsible for this version of important Iroquois oral traditions displayed below. This work includes the stories of the origin of the world and of the Iroquois League. This text is one of the first written appreciations of a North American Indian culture produced by an Indian. The illustrations are probably based upon ones made by Cusick or his brother Dennis.

atotarho
David Cusick,
David Cusick's Sketches of the Ancient History of the Six Nations...
Tuscarora Village, NY:
Lewiston, Niagara, and Co., 1828.
sequoyah
Thomas McKenney and James Hall,
History of the Indian Tribes of North America:
with biographical sketches and anecdotes
of the principal chiefs...

Philadelphia: E.C. Biddle, 1836-1844.

Sequoyah, dissatisfied with writing in English, developed a syllabary to enable Cherokees to become literate more quickly.Sequoyah (George Guess, c.1770-1843) spent over a decade developing a syllabary for writing the Cherokee language. His system was remarkably simple, and became popular throughout the tribe (see the Cherokee Constitution below). Paradoxically, Sequoyah's motivation in appropriating the European-introduced technology of writing lay in his desire to combat Cherokee acculturation to Euro-American norms. The syllabary promoted Cherokee pride by making literacy available in the Cherokees' own language. Advocates of the syllabary also noted that, by writing in Cherokee, their written communication would not be available to whites.

cherokee
Constitution and Laws of the Cherokee Nation. [in Cherokee]
Parsons, Kansas: Foley r'y Printing Co., 1892-3.

 

Promotion & Possession

gomara
Francisco López de Gómara,
Historia delle nuove Indie Occidentali...
Venice: Giovanni Bonadio, 1564.

Three Spanish accounts of the conquest of Mexico, all retrospective, were printed: that of Cortés himself; that of the historian, López de Gómara; and that of one of Cortés's captains, Bernal Diaz. First published in 1552, López de Gómara's history of the Spanish territories in the New World looks with considerable sympathy on the Conquistadors, especially Pizarro and Cortés. However, Charles V found López too sympathetic to the grandees of the New World, then engaged in battles with the Crown, and proscribed the Historia in the Spanish empire. In spite of its critics, the Historia went through nearly twenty editions in the 16th century. This Italian edition's owner was Thomas Shirley, an English gentleman with material interests in the New World.

diaz
Bernal Diaz del Castillo,
Historia verdadera de la conquista
de la Nueva-Espaņa.

Madrid: En la imprenta del reyno, 1632.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diaz's story is a rambling epic, in which Montezuma is a great and powerful emperor, his kingdom vast and wealthy, and his subjects numerous and fierce. The material splendor of the Aztec empire make it a worthy plum for the Spanish empire. Diaz never doubts the legitimacy of Spanish claims of ownership: to be Christian and Spanish is to be powerful, and to be powerful is to possess. Written in the later 16th century, but not published until the 17th, the "True History" shown here is the first edition.

Mexico and Peru posed more interpretive than military challenges for the Spanish. Cieza de León admired the political achievements of the Incas, even as he chronicled the deterioration of their civilization.

Promotion & Possession

gomara
Francisco López de Gómara,
Historia delle nuove Indie Occidentali...
Venice: Giovanni Bonadio, 1564.

Three Spanish accounts of the conquest of Mexico, all retrospective, were printed: that of Cortés himself; that of the historian, López de Gómara; and that of one of Cortés's captains, Bernal Diaz. First published in 1552, López de Gómara's history of the Spanish territories in the New World looks with considerable sympathy on the Conquistadors, especially Pizarro and Cortés. However, Charles V found López too sympathetic to the grandees of the New World, then engaged in battles with the Crown, and proscribed the Historia in the Spanish empire. In spite of its critics, the Historia went through nearly twenty editions in the 16th century. This Italian edition's owner was Thomas Shirley, an English gentleman with material interests in the New World.

diaz
Bernal Diaz del Castillo,
Historia verdadera de la conquista
de la Nueva-Espaņa.

Madrid: En la imprenta del reyno, 1632.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diaz's story is a rambling epic, in which Montezuma is a great and powerful emperor, his kingdom vast and wealthy, and his subjects numerous and fierce. The material splendor of the Aztec empire make it a worthy plum for the Spanish empire. Diaz never doubts the legitimacy of Spanish claims of ownership: to be Christian and Spanish is to be powerful, and to be powerful is to possess. Written in the later 16th century, but not published until the 17th, the "True History" shown here is the first edition.

Mexico and Peru posed more interpretive than military challenges for the Spanish. Cieza de León admired the political achievements of the Incas, even as he chronicled the deterioration of their civilization.

Viewers & the Viewed

Bartolomé de Las Casas, formerly Bishop of Chiapas, began what became known as the "Black Legend" by publishing a powerful and lasting indictment of Spanish behavior toward Indian populations in the New World. In 1550, Las Casas took a leading part in Spanish royal inquiries into the treatment of the Indians in the New World. In response to assertions by the Spanish Bishop Sepúlveda that the Indians were less than human and therefore fit to be slaves of the Spanish, Las Casas prepared nine essays, eight of which were published in 1552 and the ninth in 1553. The Dominican was keenly aware of the power of the printed word, so much so that he ignored the need to secure royal permission before publishing these treatises. With their wide ranging indictment of Spanish atrocities, they exploded onto the European scene. Las Casas became Spain's witness against itself. Las Casas's critique is particularly powerful because Las Casas was not only a master of important traditions of Scholastic philosophy and logic, he was also an acute observer who reported on the situation of the Indians in an immediate, persuasive style.

las casas
Bartholomé de Las Casas,
Brevissima relación de la destruycion de las Indias [nine tracts on the Indies].
Seville: Sebastian Trugillo, 1552-1553.

At the Legend's core are two intertwined stereotypes: that of the peaceable, childlike, innocent Indian and that of the cruel, rapacious, self-serving Spaniard. For Las Casas, the Indians were innocents being led to the slaughter by greedy Spanish overlords and their violent henchmen. In this manuscript, Las Casas addresses the Emperor and indicts the Spanish for killing the Indians to obtain wealth "against the law of God. & your Majesty is compelled by divine precept and law to declare them free." Las Casas's powerful arguments, here and elsewhere, led to a victory of sorts: in 1542, the Indians of New Spain were formally made vassals of the Emperor and their enslavement was prohibited.

Autograph letter to Emperor Charles V.
Bartholomé de Las Casas,
Autograph letter to Emperor Charles V.
Valladolid, c.1528 [detail].

What gave the Black Legend its strength and resiliency was not Las Casas himself, but the printing press. By the third quarter of the 16th century, Las Casas's writings had been translated into French, Dutch, and English, while other accounts like that of Benzoni were also in circulation. For Protestants, Las Casas's condemnation of his own people and catalogue of their injustices allowed them to quote the Catholic devil against his cohorts and to argue for a greater non-Spanish European presence in the New World.

Viewers & the Viewed

Bartolomé de Las Casas, formerly Bishop of Chiapas, began what became known as the "Black Legend" by publishing a powerful and lasting indictment of Spanish behavior toward Indian populations in the New World. In 1550, Las Casas took a leading part in Spanish royal inquiries into the treatment of the Indians in the New World. In response to assertions by the Spanish Bishop Sepúlveda that the Indians were less than human and therefore fit to be slaves of the Spanish, Las Casas prepared nine essays, eight of which were published in 1552 and the ninth in 1553. The Dominican was keenly aware of the power of the printed word, so much so that he ignored the need to secure royal permission before publishing these treatises. With their wide ranging indictment of Spanish atrocities, they exploded onto the European scene. Las Casas became Spain's witness against itself. Las Casas's critique is particularly powerful because Las Casas was not only a master of important traditions of Scholastic philosophy and logic, he was also an acute observer who reported on the situation of the Indians in an immediate, persuasive style.

las casas
Bartholomé de Las Casas,
Brevissima relación de la destruycion de las Indias [nine tracts on the Indies].
Seville: Sebastian Trugillo, 1552-1553.

At the Legend's core are two intertwined stereotypes: that of the peaceable, childlike, innocent Indian and that of the cruel, rapacious, self-serving Spaniard. For Las Casas, the Indians were innocents being led to the slaughter by greedy Spanish overlords and their violent henchmen. In this manuscript, Las Casas addresses the Emperor and indicts the Spanish for killing the Indians to obtain wealth "against the law of God. & your Majesty is compelled by divine precept and law to declare them free." Las Casas's powerful arguments, here and elsewhere, led to a victory of sorts: in 1542, the Indians of New Spain were formally made vassals of the Emperor and their enslavement was prohibited.

Autograph letter to Emperor Charles V.
Bartholomé de Las Casas,
Autograph letter to Emperor Charles V.
Valladolid, c.1528 [detail].

What gave the Black Legend its strength and resiliency was not Las Casas himself, but the printing press. By the third quarter of the 16th century, Las Casas's writings had been translated into French, Dutch, and English, while other accounts like that of Benzoni were also in circulation. For Protestants, Las Casas's condemnation of his own people and catalogue of their injustices allowed them to quote the Catholic devil against his cohorts and to argue for a greater non-Spanish European presence in the New World.

Viewers & the Viewed

Bartolomé de Las Casas, formerly Bishop of Chiapas, began what became known as the "Black Legend" by publishing a powerful and lasting indictment of Spanish behavior toward Indian populations in the New World. In 1550, Las Casas took a leading part in Spanish royal inquiries into the treatment of the Indians in the New World. In response to assertions by the Spanish Bishop Sepúlveda that the Indians were less than human and therefore fit to be slaves of the Spanish, Las Casas prepared nine essays, eight of which were published in 1552 and the ninth in 1553. The Dominican was keenly aware of the power of the printed word, so much so that he ignored the need to secure royal permission before publishing these treatises. With their wide ranging indictment of Spanish atrocities, they exploded onto the European scene. Las Casas became Spain's witness against itself. Las Casas's critique is particularly powerful because Las Casas was not only a master of important traditions of Scholastic philosophy and logic, he was also an acute observer who reported on the situation of the Indians in an immediate, persuasive style.

las casas
Bartholomé de Las Casas,
Brevissima relación de la destruycion de las Indias [nine tracts on the Indies].
Seville: Sebastian Trugillo, 1552-1553.

At the Legend's core are two intertwined stereotypes: that of the peaceable, childlike, innocent Indian and that of the cruel, rapacious, self-serving Spaniard. For Las Casas, the Indians were innocents being led to the slaughter by greedy Spanish overlords and their violent henchmen. In this manuscript, Las Casas addresses the Emperor and indicts the Spanish for killing the Indians to obtain wealth "against the law of God. & your Majesty is compelled by divine precept and law to declare them free." Las Casas's powerful arguments, here and elsewhere, led to a victory of sorts: in 1542, the Indians of New Spain were formally made vassals of the Emperor and their enslavement was prohibited.

Autograph letter to Emperor Charles V.
Bartholomé de Las Casas,
Autograph letter to Emperor Charles V.
Valladolid, c.1528 [detail].

What gave the Black Legend its strength and resiliency was not Las Casas himself, but the printing press. By the third quarter of the 16th century, Las Casas's writings had been translated into French, Dutch, and English, while other accounts like that of Benzoni were also in circulation. For Protestants, Las Casas's condemnation of his own people and catalogue of their injustices allowed them to quote the Catholic devil against his cohorts and to argue for a greater non-Spanish European presence in the New World.

Viewers & the Viewed

Bartolomé de Las Casas, formerly Bishop of Chiapas, began what became known as the "Black Legend" by publishing a powerful and lasting indictment of Spanish behavior toward Indian populations in the New World. In 1550, Las Casas took a leading part in Spanish royal inquiries into the treatment of the Indians in the New World. In response to assertions by the Spanish Bishop Sepúlveda that the Indians were less than human and therefore fit to be slaves of the Spanish, Las Casas prepared nine essays, eight of which were published in 1552 and the ninth in 1553. The Dominican was keenly aware of the power of the printed word, so much so that he ignored the need to secure royal permission before publishing these treatises. With their wide ranging indictment of Spanish atrocities, they exploded onto the European scene. Las Casas became Spain's witness against itself. Las Casas's critique is particularly powerful because Las Casas was not only a master of important traditions of Scholastic philosophy and logic, he was also an acute observer who reported on the situation of the Indians in an immediate, persuasive style.

las casas
Bartholomé de Las Casas,
Brevissima relación de la destruycion de las Indias [nine tracts on the Indies].
Seville: Sebastian Trugillo, 1552-1553.

At the Legend's core are two intertwined stereotypes: that of the peaceable, childlike, innocent Indian and that of the cruel, rapacious, self-serving Spaniard. For Las Casas, the Indians were innocents being led to the slaughter by greedy Spanish overlords and their violent henchmen. In this manuscript, Las Casas addresses the Emperor and indicts the Spanish for killing the Indians to obtain wealth "against the law of God. & your Majesty is compelled by divine precept and law to declare them free." Las Casas's powerful arguments, here and elsewhere, led to a victory of sorts: in 1542, the Indians of New Spain were formally made vassals of the Emperor and their enslavement was prohibited.

Autograph letter to Emperor Charles V.
Bartholomé de Las Casas,
Autograph letter to Emperor Charles V.
Valladolid, c.1528 [detail].

What gave the Black Legend its strength and resiliency was not Las Casas himself, but the printing press. By the third quarter of the 16th century, Las Casas's writings had been translated into French, Dutch, and English, while other accounts like that of Benzoni were also in circulation. For Protestants, Las Casas's condemnation of his own people and catalogue of their injustices allowed them to quote the Catholic devil against his cohorts and to argue for a greater non-Spanish European presence in the New World.

Viewers & the Viewed

Bartolomé de Las Casas, formerly Bishop of Chiapas, began what became known as the "Black Legend" by publishing a powerful and lasting indictment of Spanish behavior toward Indian populations in the New World. In 1550, Las Casas took a leading part in Spanish royal inquiries into the treatment of the Indians in the New World. In response to assertions by the Spanish Bishop Sepúlveda that the Indians were less than human and therefore fit to be slaves of the Spanish, Las Casas prepared nine essays, eight of which were published in 1552 and the ninth in 1553. The Dominican was keenly aware of the power of the printed word, so much so that he ignored the need to secure royal permission before publishing these treatises. With their wide ranging indictment of Spanish atrocities, they exploded onto the European scene. Las Casas became Spain's witness against itself. Las Casas's critique is particularly powerful because Las Casas was not only a master of important traditions of Scholastic philosophy and logic, he was also an acute observer who reported on the situation of the Indians in an immediate, persuasive style.

las casas
Bartholomé de Las Casas,
Brevissima relación de la destruycion de las Indias [nine tracts on the Indies].
Seville: Sebastian Trugillo, 1552-1553.

At the Legend's core are two intertwined stereotypes: that of the peaceable, childlike, innocent Indian and that of the cruel, rapacious, self-serving Spaniard. For Las Casas, the Indians were innocents being led to the slaughter by greedy Spanish overlords and their violent henchmen. In this manuscript, Las Casas addresses the Emperor and indicts the Spanish for killing the Indians to obtain wealth "against the law of God. & your Majesty is compelled by divine precept and law to declare them free." Las Casas's powerful arguments, here and elsewhere, led to a victory of sorts: in 1542, the Indians of New Spain were formally made vassals of the Emperor and their enslavement was prohibited.

Autograph letter to Emperor Charles V.
Bartholomé de Las Casas,
Autograph letter to Emperor Charles V.
Valladolid, c.1528 [detail].

What gave the Black Legend its strength and resiliency was not Las Casas himself, but the printing press. By the third quarter of the 16th century, Las Casas's writings had been translated into French, Dutch, and English, while other accounts like that of Benzoni were also in circulation. For Protestants, Las Casas's condemnation of his own people and catalogue of their injustices allowed them to quote the Catholic devil against his cohorts and to argue for a greater non-Spanish European presence in the New World.

New World Lands in Print

In the Americas, too, new definitions of land and territory competed with older ones. Europeans, employing written devices such as maps, charts, and treaties, often succeeded in compelling native populations to accept the dividing of territory among nations and among individual owners.While Indian groups in the New World had competed over territorial privileges long before the arrival of Europeans, Euro-American encounters overturned previous compromises, as Europeans staked national claims and colonists sought land for themselves. Print, which Europeans relied upon when legitimating land claims, became a weapon in these struggles.

Maps helped to define and enforce European geographical conceptions, by dividing the Americas into national territories and by pushing Indian groups into ever smaller areas. Such cartographic assertions took on particular importance in contested North America, where the English, the Dutch, and the French staked out large territories.

leon
Antonio de León Pinelo,
Tratado de confirmaciones reales
de encomiendas, ofisios i casos
en que se requieren para
las Indias Occidentales...

Madrid: Juan González, 1630.

The Dutch set the technical standard of mapmaking in the 17th century, but Dutch maps were artifacts of statecraft as well as cartography. Nicolaes J. Visscher's map confers a great deal of territory claimed by the English to the Dutch, relegating "Nova Anglia" to a corner. While it acknowledges the presence of Indian tribes and seeks to label their territories, this map, like many others, also depicts North America as a field for competition among the European powers.

Legal texts could only partially reconcile divisive land conflicts - usually in favor of the dominant group. In New Spain, the Spanish allotted settlers rights to land and Indian labor (encomiendas). Antonio de León Pinelo produced a survey of existing encomiendas in 1630. León Pinelo was a judge, jurist, and one of the first bibliographers of the New World. In this treatise, he reviews the history of the granting of encomiendas - the right to extract tribute or labor from specific Indian groupsto Spanish colonists. León Pinelo surveys New Spain, giving information concerning each region's discovery and conquest. This text probably served as a manual for the Council of the Indies in their review of the legitimacy of encomienda grants.

In North America, where conquest was not so rapid, colonial leaders became negotiators, and the treaty became the principal written genre of intercultural communication. New England's colonial agents encouraged Algonquian tribes to declare "submission" to the English, an act which either limited tribal access to territory or eliminated it altogether.

manuscript
Submission by Indian tribes, 1642
Manuscript: June 22, 1643.
Courtesy of the Rosenbach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this formal declaration of submission, two minor chiefs, Pomham and Sacononoco, relinquished their sovereignity over their "subjects, land, and estates" at Shawomet. That the pair had few subjects was of little concern to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, because the land was what the English were really after. The land was arguably not the chiefs' to surrender, since it had already been sold by another chief of ostensibly superior jurisdiction to a faction of whites hostile to the Bay Colony. Pomham's subsequent anticolonial role in King Philip's War casts doubt on the extent of his "submission" to the English.

Reeling from the effects of epidemic disease and outnumbered by whites, many other tribes in eastern New England signed similar documents in order to obtain protection from Indian enemies or access to badly-needed European goods.

 

The Iroquois were successful, as least until the American Revolution, in maintaining their strategic position between New France, New York, and Pennsylvania. Treaties like those published by Cadwallader Colden demonstrate Iroquois willingness to give up territory but also resistance to European definitions of land and ownership.

Cadwallader Colden, a historian and agent of New York colony, published the first edition of his History of the Five Indian Nations in 1727 and updated it for this edition by including transcripts of new treaties. While Colden and those he represented struggled to render the Iroquois "dependent" upon the colonies, the treaty texts included here suggest that Iroquois diplomats, too, could act shrewdly to protect their interests in the face of steadily expanding colonial populations, even at the expense of other Indian groups.

One faction of Iroquois headmen sought to stymie both New York and New France by negotiating with leaders from Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland. In a series of meetings, including this one at Lancaster in 1744, they proposed to cede territories claimed not by the Iroquois but by Shawnee and Delaware Indians. The Middle Colonies, eager to take control of lands in the Delaware and Susquehanna valleys, agreed to abide by this fiction.

Treaties like this, while providing the colonies with legalistic cover for expansion, may nonetheless have temporarily strengthened the Iroquois, who used their knowledge of the written, oral, and legal conventions of treaty dealings to their best advantage. Here, one day after Canassatego has agreed to a land settlement, Gachradodow outlines differences between Europeans and Indians and demands that the colonies help sustain trade with the Iroquois.

New World Lands in Print

In the Americas, too, new definitions of land and territory competed with older ones. Europeans, employing written devices such as maps, charts, and treaties, often succeeded in compelling native populations to accept the dividing of territory among nations and among individual owners.While Indian groups in the New World had competed over territorial privileges long before the arrival of Europeans, Euro-American encounters overturned previous compromises, as Europeans staked national claims and colonists sought land for themselves. Print, which Europeans relied upon when legitimating land claims, became a weapon in these struggles.

Maps helped to define and enforce European geographical conceptions, by dividing the Americas into national territories and by pushing Indian groups into ever smaller areas. Such cartographic assertions took on particular importance in contested North America, where the English, the Dutch, and the French staked out large territories.

leon
Antonio de León Pinelo,
Tratado de confirmaciones reales
de encomiendas, ofisios i casos
en que se requieren para
las Indias Occidentales...

Madrid: Juan González, 1630.

The Dutch set the technical standard of mapmaking in the 17th century, but Dutch maps were artifacts of statecraft as well as cartography. Nicolaes J. Visscher's map confers a great deal of territory claimed by the English to the Dutch, relegating "Nova Anglia" to a corner. While it acknowledges the presence of Indian tribes and seeks to label their territories, this map, like many others, also depicts North America as a field for competition among the European powers.

Legal texts could only partially reconcile divisive land conflicts - usually in favor of the dominant group. In New Spain, the Spanish allotted settlers rights to land and Indian labor (encomiendas). Antonio de León Pinelo produced a survey of existing encomiendas in 1630. León Pinelo was a judge, jurist, and one of the first bibliographers of the New World. In this treatise, he reviews the history of the granting of encomiendas - the right to extract tribute or labor from specific Indian groupsto Spanish colonists. León Pinelo surveys New Spain, giving information concerning each region's discovery and conquest. This text probably served as a manual for the Council of the Indies in their review of the legitimacy of encomienda grants.

In North America, where conquest was not so rapid, colonial leaders became negotiators, and the treaty became the principal written genre of intercultural communication. New England's colonial agents encouraged Algonquian tribes to declare "submission" to the English, an act which either limited tribal access to territory or eliminated it altogether.

manuscript
Submission by Indian tribes, 1642
Manuscript: June 22, 1643.
Courtesy of the Rosenbach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this formal declaration of submission, two minor chiefs, Pomham and Sacononoco, relinquished their sovereignity over their "subjects, land, and estates" at Shawomet. That the pair had few subjects was of little concern to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, because the land was what the English were really after. The land was arguably not the chiefs' to surrender, since it had already been sold by another chief of ostensibly superior jurisdiction to a faction of whites hostile to the Bay Colony. Pomham's subsequent anticolonial role in King Philip's War casts doubt on the extent of his "submission" to the English.

Reeling from the effects of epidemic disease and outnumbered by whites, many other tribes in eastern New England signed similar documents in order to obtain protection from Indian enemies or access to badly-needed European goods.

 

The Iroquois were successful, as least until the American Revolution, in maintaining their strategic position between New France, New York, and Pennsylvania. Treaties like those published by Cadwallader Colden demonstrate Iroquois willingness to give up territory but also resistance to European definitions of land and ownership.

Cadwallader Colden, a historian and agent of New York colony, published the first edition of his History of the Five Indian Nations in 1727 and updated it for this edition by including transcripts of new treaties. While Colden and those he represented struggled to render the Iroquois "dependent" upon the colonies, the treaty texts included here suggest that Iroquois diplomats, too, could act shrewdly to protect their interests in the face of steadily expanding colonial populations, even at the expense of other Indian groups.

One faction of Iroquois headmen sought to stymie both New York and New France by negotiating with leaders from Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland. In a series of meetings, including this one at Lancaster in 1744, they proposed to cede territories claimed not by the Iroquois but by Shawnee and Delaware Indians. The Middle Colonies, eager to take control of lands in the Delaware and Susquehanna valleys, agreed to abide by this fiction.

Treaties like this, while providing the colonies with legalistic cover for expansion, may nonetheless have temporarily strengthened the Iroquois, who used their knowledge of the written, oral, and legal conventions of treaty dealings to their best advantage. Here, one day after Canassatego has agreed to a land settlement, Gachradodow outlines differences between Europeans and Indians and demands that the colonies help sustain trade with the Iroquois.

New World Lands in Print

In the Americas, too, new definitions of land and territory competed with older ones. Europeans, employing written devices such as maps, charts, and treaties, often succeeded in compelling native populations to accept the dividing of territory among nations and among individual owners.While Indian groups in the New World had competed over territorial privileges long before the arrival of Europeans, Euro-American encounters overturned previous compromises, as Europeans staked national claims and colonists sought land for themselves. Print, which Europeans relied upon when legitimating land claims, became a weapon in these struggles.

Maps helped to define and enforce European geographical conceptions, by dividing the Americas into national territories and by pushing Indian groups into ever smaller areas. Such cartographic assertions took on particular importance in contested North America, where the English, the Dutch, and the French staked out large territories.

leon
Antonio de León Pinelo,
Tratado de confirmaciones reales
de encomiendas, ofisios i casos
en que se requieren para
las Indias Occidentales...

Madrid: Juan González, 1630.

The Dutch set the technical standard of mapmaking in the 17th century, but Dutch maps were artifacts of statecraft as well as cartography. Nicolaes J. Visscher's map confers a great deal of territory claimed by the English to the Dutch, relegating "Nova Anglia" to a corner. While it acknowledges the presence of Indian tribes and seeks to label their territories, this map, like many others, also depicts North America as a field for competition among the European powers.

Legal texts could only partially reconcile divisive land conflicts - usually in favor of the dominant group. In New Spain, the Spanish allotted settlers rights to land and Indian labor (encomiendas). Antonio de León Pinelo produced a survey of existing encomiendas in 1630. León Pinelo was a judge, jurist, and one of the first bibliographers of the New World. In this treatise, he reviews the history of the granting of encomiendas - the right to extract tribute or labor from specific Indian groupsto Spanish colonists. León Pinelo surveys New Spain, giving information concerning each region's discovery and conquest. This text probably served as a manual for the Council of the Indies in their review of the legitimacy of encomienda grants.

In North America, where conquest was not so rapid, colonial leaders became negotiators, and the treaty became the principal written genre of intercultural communication. New England's colonial agents encouraged Algonquian tribes to declare "submission" to the English, an act which either limited tribal access to territory or eliminated it altogether.

manuscript
Submission by Indian tribes, 1642
Manuscript: June 22, 1643.
Courtesy of the Rosenbach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this formal declaration of submission, two minor chiefs, Pomham and Sacononoco, relinquished their sovereignity over their "subjects, land, and estates" at Shawomet. That the pair had few subjects was of little concern to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, because the land was what the English were really after. The land was arguably not the chiefs' to surrender, since it had already been sold by another chief of ostensibly superior jurisdiction to a faction of whites hostile to the Bay Colony. Pomham's subsequent anticolonial role in King Philip's War casts doubt on the extent of his "submission" to the English.

Reeling from the effects of epidemic disease and outnumbered by whites, many other tribes in eastern New England signed similar documents in order to obtain protection from Indian enemies or access to badly-needed European goods.

 

The Iroquois were successful, as least until the American Revolution, in maintaining their strategic position between New France, New York, and Pennsylvania. Treaties like those published by Cadwallader Colden demonstrate Iroquois willingness to give up territory but also resistance to European definitions of land and ownership.

Cadwallader Colden, a historian and agent of New York colony, published the first edition of his History of the Five Indian Nations in 1727 and updated it for this edition by including transcripts of new treaties. While Colden and those he represented struggled to render the Iroquois "dependent" upon the colonies, the treaty texts included here suggest that Iroquois diplomats, too, could act shrewdly to protect their interests in the face of steadily expanding colonial populations, even at the expense of other Indian groups.

One faction of Iroquois headmen sought to stymie both New York and New France by negotiating with leaders from Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland. In a series of meetings, including this one at Lancaster in 1744, they proposed to cede territories claimed not by the Iroquois but by Shawnee and Delaware Indians. The Middle Colonies, eager to take control of lands in the Delaware and Susquehanna valleys, agreed to abide by this fiction.

Treaties like this, while providing the colonies with legalistic cover for expansion, may nonetheless have temporarily strengthened the Iroquois, who used their knowledge of the written, oral, and legal conventions of treaty dealings to their best advantage. Here, one day after Canassatego has agreed to a land settlement, Gachradodow outlines differences between Europeans and Indians and demands that the colonies help sustain trade with the Iroquois.

New World Lands in Print

In the Americas, too, new definitions of land and territory competed with older ones. Europeans, employing written devices such as maps, charts, and treaties, often succeeded in compelling native populations to accept the dividing of territory among nations and among individual owners.While Indian groups in the New World had competed over territorial privileges long before the arrival of Europeans, Euro-American encounters overturned previous compromises, as Europeans staked national claims and colonists sought land for themselves. Print, which Europeans relied upon when legitimating land claims, became a weapon in these struggles.

Maps helped to define and enforce European geographical conceptions, by dividing the Americas into national territories and by pushing Indian groups into ever smaller areas. Such cartographic assertions took on particular importance in contested North America, where the English, the Dutch, and the French staked out large territories.

leon
Antonio de León Pinelo,
Tratado de confirmaciones reales
de encomiendas, ofisios i casos
en que se requieren para
las Indias Occidentales...

Madrid: Juan González, 1630.

The Dutch set the technical standard of mapmaking in the 17th century, but Dutch maps were artifacts of statecraft as well as cartography. Nicolaes J. Visscher's map confers a great deal of territory claimed by the English to the Dutch, relegating "Nova Anglia" to a corner. While it acknowledges the presence of Indian tribes and seeks to label their territories, this map, like many others, also depicts North America as a field for competition among the European powers.

Legal texts could only partially reconcile divisive land conflicts - usually in favor of the dominant group. In New Spain, the Spanish allotted settlers rights to land and Indian labor (encomiendas). Antonio de León Pinelo produced a survey of existing encomiendas in 1630. León Pinelo was a judge, jurist, and one of the first bibliographers of the New World. In this treatise, he reviews the history of the granting of encomiendas - the right to extract tribute or labor from specific Indian groupsto Spanish colonists. León Pinelo surveys New Spain, giving information concerning each region's discovery and conquest. This text probably served as a manual for the Council of the Indies in their review of the legitimacy of encomienda grants.

In North America, where conquest was not so rapid, colonial leaders became negotiators, and the treaty became the principal written genre of intercultural communication. New England's colonial agents encouraged Algonquian tribes to declare "submission" to the English, an act which either limited tribal access to territory or eliminated it altogether.

manuscript
Submission by Indian tribes, 1642
Manuscript: June 22, 1643.
Courtesy of the Rosenbach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this formal declaration of submission, two minor chiefs, Pomham and Sacononoco, relinquished their sovereignity over their "subjects, land, and estates" at Shawomet. That the pair had few subjects was of little concern to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, because the land was what the English were really after. The land was arguably not the chiefs' to surrender, since it had already been sold by another chief of ostensibly superior jurisdiction to a faction of whites hostile to the Bay Colony. Pomham's subsequent anticolonial role in King Philip's War casts doubt on the extent of his "submission" to the English.

Reeling from the effects of epidemic disease and outnumbered by whites, many other tribes in eastern New England signed similar documents in order to obtain protection from Indian enemies or access to badly-needed European goods.

 

The Iroquois were successful, as least until the American Revolution, in maintaining their strategic position between New France, New York, and Pennsylvania. Treaties like those published by Cadwallader Colden demonstrate Iroquois willingness to give up territory but also resistance to European definitions of land and ownership.

Cadwallader Colden, a historian and agent of New York colony, published the first edition of his History of the Five Indian Nations in 1727 and updated it for this edition by including transcripts of new treaties. While Colden and those he represented struggled to render the Iroquois "dependent" upon the colonies, the treaty texts included here suggest that Iroquois diplomats, too, could act shrewdly to protect their interests in the face of steadily expanding colonial populations, even at the expense of other Indian groups.

One faction of Iroquois headmen sought to stymie both New York and New France by negotiating with leaders from Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland. In a series of meetings, including this one at Lancaster in 1744, they proposed to cede territories claimed not by the Iroquois but by Shawnee and Delaware Indians. The Middle Colonies, eager to take control of lands in the Delaware and Susquehanna valleys, agreed to abide by this fiction.

Treaties like this, while providing the colonies with legalistic cover for expansion, may nonetheless have temporarily strengthened the Iroquois, who used their knowledge of the written, oral, and legal conventions of treaty dealings to their best advantage. Here, one day after Canassatego has agreed to a land settlement, Gachradodow outlines differences between Europeans and Indians and demands that the colonies help sustain trade with the Iroquois.

New World Lands in Print

In the Americas, too, new definitions of land and territory competed with older ones. Europeans, employing written devices such as maps, charts, and treaties, often succeeded in compelling native populations to accept the dividing of territory among nations and among individual owners.While Indian groups in the New World had competed over territorial privileges long before the arrival of Europeans, Euro-American encounters overturned previous compromises, as Europeans staked national claims and colonists sought land for themselves. Print, which Europeans relied upon when legitimating land claims, became a weapon in these struggles.

Maps helped to define and enforce European geographical conceptions, by dividing the Americas into national territories and by pushing Indian groups into ever smaller areas. Such cartographic assertions took on particular importance in contested North America, where the English, the Dutch, and the French staked out large territories.

leon
Antonio de León Pinelo,
Tratado de confirmaciones reales
de encomiendas, ofisios i casos
en que se requieren para
las Indias Occidentales...

Madrid: Juan González, 1630.

The Dutch set the technical standard of mapmaking in the 17th century, but Dutch maps were artifacts of statecraft as well as cartography. Nicolaes J. Visscher's map confers a great deal of territory claimed by the English to the Dutch, relegating "Nova Anglia" to a corner. While it acknowledges the presence of Indian tribes and seeks to label their territories, this map, like many others, also depicts North America as a field for competition among the European powers.

Legal texts could only partially reconcile divisive land conflicts - usually in favor of the dominant group. In New Spain, the Spanish allotted settlers rights to land and Indian labor (encomiendas). Antonio de León Pinelo produced a survey of existing encomiendas in 1630. León Pinelo was a judge, jurist, and one of the first bibliographers of the New World. In this treatise, he reviews the history of the granting of encomiendas - the right to extract tribute or labor from specific Indian groupsto Spanish colonists. León Pinelo surveys New Spain, giving information concerning each region's discovery and conquest. This text probably served as a manual for the Council of the Indies in their review of the legitimacy of encomienda grants.

In North America, where conquest was not so rapid, colonial leaders became negotiators, and the treaty became the principal written genre of intercultural communication. New England's colonial agents encouraged Algonquian tribes to declare "submission" to the English, an act which either limited tribal access to territory or eliminated it altogether.

manuscript
Submission by Indian tribes, 1642
Manuscript: June 22, 1643.
Courtesy of the Rosenbach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this formal declaration of submission, two minor chiefs, Pomham and Sacononoco, relinquished their sovereignity over their "subjects, land, and estates" at Shawomet. That the pair had few subjects was of little concern to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, because the land was what the English were really after. The land was arguably not the chiefs' to surrender, since it had already been sold by another chief of ostensibly superior jurisdiction to a faction of whites hostile to the Bay Colony. Pomham's subsequent anticolonial role in King Philip's War casts doubt on the extent of his "submission" to the English.

Reeling from the effects of epidemic disease and outnumbered by whites, many other tribes in eastern New England signed similar documents in order to obtain protection from Indian enemies or access to badly-needed European goods.

 

The Iroquois were successful, as least until the American Revolution, in maintaining their strategic position between New France, New York, and Pennsylvania. Treaties like those published by Cadwallader Colden demonstrate Iroquois willingness to give up territory but also resistance to European definitions of land and ownership.

Cadwallader Colden, a historian and agent of New York colony, published the first edition of his History of the Five Indian Nations in 1727 and updated it for this edition by including transcripts of new treaties. While Colden and those he represented struggled to render the Iroquois "dependent" upon the colonies, the treaty texts included here suggest that Iroquois diplomats, too, could act shrewdly to protect their interests in the face of steadily expanding colonial populations, even at the expense of other Indian groups.

One faction of Iroquois headmen sought to stymie both New York and New France by negotiating with leaders from Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland. In a series of meetings, including this one at Lancaster in 1744, they proposed to cede territories claimed not by the Iroquois but by Shawnee and Delaware Indians. The Middle Colonies, eager to take control of lands in the Delaware and Susquehanna valleys, agreed to abide by this fiction.

Treaties like this, while providing the colonies with legalistic cover for expansion, may nonetheless have temporarily strengthened the Iroquois, who used their knowledge of the written, oral, and legal conventions of treaty dealings to their best advantage. Here, one day after Canassatego has agreed to a land settlement, Gachradodow outlines differences between Europeans and Indians and demands that the colonies help sustain trade with the Iroquois.

New World Lands in Print

In the Americas, too, new definitions of land and territory competed with older ones. Europeans, employing written devices such as maps, charts, and treaties, often succeeded in compelling native populations to accept the dividing of territory among nations and among individual owners.While Indian groups in the New World had competed over territorial privileges long before the arrival of Europeans, Euro-American encounters overturned previous compromises, as Europeans staked national claims and colonists sought land for themselves. Print, which Europeans relied upon when legitimating land claims, became a weapon in these struggles.

Maps helped to define and enforce European geographical conceptions, by dividing the Americas into national territories and by pushing Indian groups into ever smaller areas. Such cartographic assertions took on particular importance in contested North America, where the English, the Dutch, and the French staked out large territories.

leon
Antonio de León Pinelo,
Tratado de confirmaciones reales
de encomiendas, ofisios i casos
en que se requieren para
las Indias Occidentales...

Madrid: Juan González, 1630.

The Dutch set the technical standard of mapmaking in the 17th century, but Dutch maps were artifacts of statecraft as well as cartography. Nicolaes J. Visscher's map confers a great deal of territory claimed by the English to the Dutch, relegating "Nova Anglia" to a corner. While it acknowledges the presence of Indian tribes and seeks to label their territories, this map, like many others, also depicts North America as a field for competition among the European powers.

Legal texts could only partially reconcile divisive land conflicts - usually in favor of the dominant group. In New Spain, the Spanish allotted settlers rights to land and Indian labor (encomiendas). Antonio de León Pinelo produced a survey of existing encomiendas in 1630. León Pinelo was a judge, jurist, and one of the first bibliographers of the New World. In this treatise, he reviews the history of the granting of encomiendas - the right to extract tribute or labor from specific Indian groupsto Spanish colonists. León Pinelo surveys New Spain, giving information concerning each region's discovery and conquest. This text probably served as a manual for the Council of the Indies in their review of the legitimacy of encomienda grants.

In North America, where conquest was not so rapid, colonial leaders became negotiators, and the treaty became the principal written genre of intercultural communication. New England's colonial agents encouraged Algonquian tribes to declare "submission" to the English, an act which either limited tribal access to territory or eliminated it altogether.

manuscript
Submission by Indian tribes, 1642
Manuscript: June 22, 1643.
Courtesy of the Rosenbach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this formal declaration of submission, two minor chiefs, Pomham and Sacononoco, relinquished their sovereignity over their "subjects, land, and estates" at Shawomet. That the pair had few subjects was of little concern to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, because the land was what the English were really after. The land was arguably not the chiefs' to surrender, since it had already been sold by another chief of ostensibly superior jurisdiction to a faction of whites hostile to the Bay Colony. Pomham's subsequent anticolonial role in King Philip's War casts doubt on the extent of his "submission" to the English.

Reeling from the effects of epidemic disease and outnumbered by whites, many other tribes in eastern New England signed similar documents in order to obtain protection from Indian enemies or access to badly-needed European goods.

 

The Iroquois were successful, as least until the American Revolution, in maintaining their strategic position between New France, New York, and Pennsylvania. Treaties like those published by Cadwallader Colden demonstrate Iroquois willingness to give up territory but also resistance to European definitions of land and ownership.

Cadwallader Colden, a historian and agent of New York colony, published the first edition of his History of the Five Indian Nations in 1727 and updated it for this edition by including transcripts of new treaties. While Colden and those he represented struggled to render the Iroquois "dependent" upon the colonies, the treaty texts included here suggest that Iroquois diplomats, too, could act shrewdly to protect their interests in the face of steadily expanding colonial populations, even at the expense of other Indian groups.

One faction of Iroquois headmen sought to stymie both New York and New France by negotiating with leaders from Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland. In a series of meetings, including this one at Lancaster in 1744, they proposed to cede territories claimed not by the Iroquois but by Shawnee and Delaware Indians. The Middle Colonies, eager to take control of lands in the Delaware and Susquehanna valleys, agreed to abide by this fiction.

Treaties like this, while providing the colonies with legalistic cover for expansion, may nonetheless have temporarily strengthened the Iroquois, who used their knowledge of the written, oral, and legal conventions of treaty dealings to their best advantage. Here, one day after Canassatego has agreed to a land settlement, Gachradodow outlines differences between Europeans and Indians and demands that the colonies help sustain trade with the Iroquois.

Promotion & Possession

Before England had an overseas empire, it had a library devoted to English imperial exploits and prospects. Richard Hakluyt, British colonialism's prime mover, translated continental narratives of exploration for an English-speaking audience. A scholar and geographer, Hakluyt undertook to compile extant narratives in The Principall Navigations (displayed on the left) and make them available for an English-speaking audience. In his effort to create a tradition of British colonialism in America to uphold, he purported that one "Madoc the sonne of Owen Gwyneth Prince of North-wales" had "discovered" America in 1170. This massive compilation of voyage narratives was both a dense homage to English genius and a gallery of examples, both English and foreign, that would move the English to redouble their quest for empire.

Theodor de Bry coupled Thomas Hariot's account of the lost Roanoke colony with maps and engravings to create an alluring Virginia for European readers.

debry
Thomas Hariot,
Admiranda narratio fida tamen,
de commodis et incolarum ritibus Virginiae.

Frankfurt: Theodor de Bry, 1590.
debry
Thomas Hariot,
Admiranda narratio fida tamen,
de commodis et incolarum ritibus Virginiae.

Frankfurt: Theodor de Bry, 1590.
debry
Thomas Hariot,
Admiranda narratio fida tamen,
de commodis et incolarum ritibus Virginiae.

Frankfurt: Theodor de Bry, 1590.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Displayed on the right is the first in de Bry's series of translations of accounts of the New World, famous mainly for their engravings. For the volume on Virginia, de Bry chose Thomas Hariot's account of the ill-fated Roanoke colony, led by Sir Walter Raleigh. De Bry's Virginia is a classical site, framed by non-threatening, statuesque Indians.

Pamphlets like Nova Britannia and Virginia Richly Valued, describing Virginia's Edenic potential, were crucial in encouraging new emigrants to that colony, while John Smith promoted himself as well as his colonial vision in his Generall Historie. In the late 17th and 18th centuries, promotional literature by William Penn and others assured would-be settlers of America's fine prospects.

The wide distribution of promotional tracts such as this one contributed to the diversity of 18th century British America. Penn's writings, which were translated into German and Dutch, described the landscapes of America as populated by compliant natives who were ready to contribute to the immigrants' prosperity.
William Penn,
The Benefit of Plantations, or Colonies.
London: J. Roberts, 1735.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wide distribution of promotional tracts such as William Penn's The Benefit of Plantations, or Colonies contributed to the diversity of 18th century British America. Penn's writings, which were translated into German and Dutch, described the landscapes of America as populated by compliant natives who were ready to contribute to the immigrants' prosperity.

Promotion & Possession

Before England had an overseas empire, it had a library devoted to English imperial exploits and prospects. Richard Hakluyt, British colonialism's prime mover, translated continental narratives of exploration for an English-speaking audience. A scholar and geographer, Hakluyt undertook to compile extant narratives in The Principall Navigations (displayed on the left) and make them available for an English-speaking audience. In his effort to create a tradition of British colonialism in America to uphold, he purported that one "Madoc the sonne of Owen Gwyneth Prince of North-wales" had "discovered" America in 1170. This massive compilation of voyage narratives was both a dense homage to English genius and a gallery of examples, both English and foreign, that would move the English to redouble their quest for empire.

Theodor de Bry coupled Thomas Hariot's account of the lost Roanoke colony with maps and engravings to create an alluring Virginia for European readers.

debry
Thomas Hariot,
Admiranda narratio fida tamen,
de commodis et incolarum ritibus Virginiae.

Frankfurt: Theodor de Bry, 1590.
debry
Thomas Hariot,
Admiranda narratio fida tamen,
de commodis et incolarum ritibus Virginiae.

Frankfurt: Theodor de Bry, 1590.
debry
Thomas Hariot,
Admiranda narratio fida tamen,
de commodis et incolarum ritibus Virginiae.

Frankfurt: Theodor de Bry, 1590.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Displayed on the right is the first in de Bry's series of translations of accounts of the New World, famous mainly for their engravings. For the volume on Virginia, de Bry chose Thomas Hariot's account of the ill-fated Roanoke colony, led by Sir Walter Raleigh. De Bry's Virginia is a classical site, framed by non-threatening, statuesque Indians.

Pamphlets like Nova Britannia and Virginia Richly Valued, describing Virginia's Edenic potential, were crucial in encouraging new emigrants to that colony, while John Smith promoted himself as well as his colonial vision in his Generall Historie. In the late 17th and 18th centuries, promotional literature by William Penn and others assured would-be settlers of America's fine prospects.

The wide distribution of promotional tracts such as this one contributed to the diversity of 18th century British America. Penn's writings, which were translated into German and Dutch, described the landscapes of America as populated by compliant natives who were ready to contribute to the immigrants' prosperity.
William Penn,
The Benefit of Plantations, or Colonies.
London: J. Roberts, 1735.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wide distribution of promotional tracts such as William Penn's The Benefit of Plantations, or Colonies contributed to the diversity of 18th century British America. Penn's writings, which were translated into German and Dutch, described the landscapes of America as populated by compliant natives who were ready to contribute to the immigrants' prosperity.

Promotion & Possession

Before England had an overseas empire, it had a library devoted to English imperial exploits and prospects. Richard Hakluyt, British colonialism's prime mover, translated continental narratives of exploration for an English-speaking audience. A scholar and geographer, Hakluyt undertook to compile extant narratives in The Principall Navigations (displayed on the left) and make them available for an English-speaking audience. In his effort to create a tradition of British colonialism in America to uphold, he purported that one "Madoc the sonne of Owen Gwyneth Prince of North-wales" had "discovered" America in 1170. This massive compilation of voyage narratives was both a dense homage to English genius and a gallery of examples, both English and foreign, that would move the English to redouble their quest for empire.

Theodor de Bry coupled Thomas Hariot's account of the lost Roanoke colony with maps and engravings to create an alluring Virginia for European readers.

debry
Thomas Hariot,
Admiranda narratio fida tamen,
de commodis et incolarum ritibus Virginiae.

Frankfurt: Theodor de Bry, 1590.
debry
Thomas Hariot,
Admiranda narratio fida tamen,
de commodis et incolarum ritibus Virginiae.

Frankfurt: Theodor de Bry, 1590.
debry
Thomas Hariot,
Admiranda narratio fida tamen,
de commodis et incolarum ritibus Virginiae.

Frankfurt: Theodor de Bry, 1590.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Displayed on the right is the first in de Bry's series of translations of accounts of the New World, famous mainly for their engravings. For the volume on Virginia, de Bry chose Thomas Hariot's account of the ill-fated Roanoke colony, led by Sir Walter Raleigh. De Bry's Virginia is a classical site, framed by non-threatening, statuesque Indians.

Pamphlets like Nova Britannia and Virginia Richly Valued, describing Virginia's Edenic potential, were crucial in encouraging new emigrants to that colony, while John Smith promoted himself as well as his colonial vision in his Generall Historie. In the late 17th and 18th centuries, promotional literature by William Penn and others assured would-be settlers of America's fine prospects.

The wide distribution of promotional tracts such as this one contributed to the diversity of 18th century British America. Penn's writings, which were translated into German and Dutch, described the landscapes of America as populated by compliant natives who were ready to contribute to the immigrants' prosperity.
William Penn,
The Benefit of Plantations, or Colonies.
London: J. Roberts, 1735.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wide distribution of promotional tracts such as William Penn's The Benefit of Plantations, or Colonies contributed to the diversity of 18th century British America. Penn's writings, which were translated into German and Dutch, described the landscapes of America as populated by compliant natives who were ready to contribute to the immigrants' prosperity.

Promotion & Possession

Before England had an overseas empire, it had a library devoted to English imperial exploits and prospects. Richard Hakluyt, British colonialism's prime mover, translated continental narratives of exploration for an English-speaking audience. A scholar and geographer, Hakluyt undertook to compile extant narratives in The Principall Navigations (displayed on the left) and make them available for an English-speaking audience. In his effort to create a tradition of British colonialism in America to uphold, he purported that one "Madoc the sonne of Owen Gwyneth Prince of North-wales" had "discovered" America in 1170. This massive compilation of voyage narratives was both a dense homage to English genius and a gallery of examples, both English and foreign, that would move the English to redouble their quest for empire.

Theodor de Bry coupled Thomas Hariot's account of the lost Roanoke colony with maps and engravings to create an alluring Virginia for European readers.

debry
Thomas Hariot,
Admiranda narratio fida tamen,
de commodis et incolarum ritibus Virginiae.

Frankfurt: Theodor de Bry, 1590.
debry
Thomas Hariot,
Admiranda narratio fida tamen,
de commodis et incolarum ritibus Virginiae.

Frankfurt: Theodor de Bry, 1590.
debry
Thomas Hariot,
Admiranda narratio fida tamen,
de commodis et incolarum ritibus Virginiae.

Frankfurt: Theodor de Bry, 1590.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Displayed on the right is the first in de Bry's series of translations of accounts of the New World, famous mainly for their engravings. For the volume on Virginia, de Bry chose Thomas Hariot's account of the ill-fated Roanoke colony, led by Sir Walter Raleigh. De Bry's Virginia is a classical site, framed by non-threatening, statuesque Indians.

Pamphlets like Nova Britannia and Virginia Richly Valued, describing Virginia's Edenic potential, were crucial in encouraging new emigrants to that colony, while John Smith promoted himself as well as his colonial vision in his Generall Historie. In the late 17th and 18th centuries, promotional literature by William Penn and others assured would-be settlers of America's fine prospects.

The wide distribution of promotional tracts such as this one contributed to the diversity of 18th century British America. Penn's writings, which were translated into German and Dutch, described the landscapes of America as populated by compliant natives who were ready to contribute to the immigrants' prosperity.
William Penn,
The Benefit of Plantations, or Colonies.
London: J. Roberts, 1735.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wide distribution of promotional tracts such as William Penn's The Benefit of Plantations, or Colonies contributed to the diversity of 18th century British America. Penn's writings, which were translated into German and Dutch, described the landscapes of America as populated by compliant natives who were ready to contribute to the immigrants' prosperity.

Promotion & Possession

Before England had an overseas empire, it had a library devoted to English imperial exploits and prospects. Richard Hakluyt, British colonialism's prime mover, translated continental narratives of exploration for an English-speaking audience. A scholar and geographer, Hakluyt undertook to compile extant narratives in The Principall Navigations (displayed on the left) and make them available for an English-speaking audience. In his effort to create a tradition of British colonialism in America to uphold, he purported that one "Madoc the sonne of Owen Gwyneth Prince of North-wales" had "discovered" America in 1170. This massive compilation of voyage narratives was both a dense homage to English genius and a gallery of examples, both English and foreign, that would move the English to redouble their quest for empire.

Theodor de Bry coupled Thomas Hariot's account of the lost Roanoke colony with maps and engravings to create an alluring Virginia for European readers.

debry
Thomas Hariot,
Admiranda narratio fida tamen,
de commodis et incolarum ritibus Virginiae.

Frankfurt: Theodor de Bry, 1590.
debry
Thomas Hariot,
Admiranda narratio fida tamen,
de commodis et incolarum ritibus Virginiae.

Frankfurt: Theodor de Bry, 1590.
debry
Thomas Hariot,
Admiranda narratio fida tamen,
de commodis et incolarum ritibus Virginiae.

Frankfurt: Theodor de Bry, 1590.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Displayed on the right is the first in de Bry's series of translations of accounts of the New World, famous mainly for their engravings. For the volume on Virginia, de Bry chose Thomas Hariot's account of the ill-fated Roanoke colony, led by Sir Walter Raleigh. De Bry's Virginia is a classical site, framed by non-threatening, statuesque Indians.

Pamphlets like Nova Britannia and Virginia Richly Valued, describing Virginia's Edenic potential, were crucial in encouraging new emigrants to that colony, while John Smith promoted himself as well as his colonial vision in his Generall Historie. In the late 17th and 18th centuries, promotional literature by William Penn and others assured would-be settlers of America's fine prospects.

The wide distribution of promotional tracts such as this one contributed to the diversity of 18th century British America. Penn's writings, which were translated into German and Dutch, described the landscapes of America as populated by compliant natives who were ready to contribute to the immigrants' prosperity.
William Penn,
The Benefit of Plantations, or Colonies.
London: J. Roberts, 1735.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wide distribution of promotional tracts such as William Penn's The Benefit of Plantations, or Colonies contributed to the diversity of 18th century British America. Penn's writings, which were translated into German and Dutch, described the landscapes of America as populated by compliant natives who were ready to contribute to the immigrants' prosperity.