Encounters in the New World: A History in Documents (Pages by Jill Lepore

By Jill Lepore

From Columbus's voyage in 1492 to the booklet of the autobiography of Olaudah Equiano, a former slave, in 1789, Jill Lepore, winner of the celebrated Bancroft Prize for background, brings to lifestyles in interesting, first-person aspect the various earliest occasions in American historical past in Encounters within the New global. offering interesting remark alongside the way in which, Lepore seamlessly hyperlinks jointly fundamental assets that illustrate the strong conflict of cultures within the Americas. via emotional eyewitness debts -- memoirs, petitions, diaries, captivity narratives, inner most correspondence -- formal records, authentic reviews, and journalistic reportage, dramatic tales of the hot global are printed, including:* A Jesuit priest's chronicle of existence between his Iroquois captors* Aztec files of forbidding omens* John Smith's account of cannibalism one of the British citizens of Jamestown* Memoirs by means of participants of Cortes's excursion* recollections of an escaped slave a distinct 16-page colour cartographic part, together with maps from either Europe and North the United States, offers a desirable examine how the maps' creators observed themselves and the realm round them.

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Their hair [is] coarse—almost like the tail of a horse—and short. They wear their hair down over their eyebrows except for a little in the back which they wear long and never cut. , from the Canary Islands], neither black nor white; and some of them paint themselves with white, and some of them with red, and some of them with whatever they find. And some of them FIRST ENCOUNTERS 41 paint their faces, and some of them the whole body, and some of them only the eyes, and some of them only the nose.

They dwell together in houses made like huts in the construction of which they use neither iron nor any other metal. This is very remarkable, for I have seen houses two hundred and twenty feet long, and thirty feet wide, built with much skill, and containing five or six hundred people. They sleep in hammocks of cotton, suspended in the air, without any covering; they eat seated upon the ground, and their food consists of the roots of herbs, or fruits and fish. . They are a warlike race, and extremely cruel.

Prophecies, Plans, and Fantasies The Indians often understood the arrival of Europeans to be the fulfillment of prophecy. ” Other native stories predicted the arrival of “floating islands”—European ships— and warned that tragedies of disease and conquest would FIRST ENCOUNTERS 35 follow in the ships’ wakes. Meanwhile, Europeans brought their own prophecies, predictions, and fantasies to encounters with new peoples. The Aztecs of central Mexico witnessed a series of ominous signs—furious fires, terrifying lightning bolts, and strange birds—in the years before the Spanish first arrived, at the beginning of the 16th century.

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