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The Globe at 1500. Ingo Günther, ca 2005. Mappa-Mundi Psalter Map, ca 1225. Portolan. Portolan Atlas, ca 1535 (Venice). Christopher Columbus Chart (1492). Ptolemy Atlas, ca 1482 Based on Ptolemy’s Geographike (120-150 AD) . John Ferrar, “A mapp of Virginia discovered to ye Hills” (1651).

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Psalter Map, ca 1225


Ptolemy Atlas, ca 1482

Based on Ptolemy’s Geographike (120-150 AD)

some early documents of exploration
Some Early Documents of Exploration

Facsimile of Columbus’ letter concerning his first voyage

Publication and diffusion of letter

Martin Waldseemüller’s map first using the name “America”

Charta Cosmographia (1544)

the problem of indian historiography and cultural study
The Problem of Indian Historiography and Cultural Study

John White visits outer banks of N. Carolina with Raleigh’s expedition, 1585. His drawings are not published until the 20th century.

Theodor de Bry makes engravings from White’s drawings and publishes them for a wide European audience, 1590 (to accompany Thomas Hariot’s travel journal.


Indian culture comes to us from the pre-contact period in a highly mediated form:

  • Through the work of twentieth century anthropologists
  • Through the transmission of oral traditions within tribal groups over vast periods of time
  • When Oral Literature is transformed into print, much is lost.
rationalization for not reading native myths in this class
Rationalization for not reading Native Myths in this class

Study of specific tribal communities and the specificities of their culture before and after contact will distract us from the important main points: Indian communities were/are:

  • diverse
  • encountered history and underwent change both before and after European colonization
  • require more careful study and analysis (including the development of new methods of reading) than can be undertaken with any sophistication in one week

Moreover, we lack a decent anthology to study Native cultures in the context of New World/Colonial Studies.

marco polo
Marco Polo

Ye emperors, kings, dukes, marquises, earls, and knights, and all other people desirous of knowing the diversities of the races of mankind, as well as the diversities of kingdoms, provinces and regions of all parts of the East, read through this book, and ye will find in it the greatest and most marvellous characteristics of the peoples especially of Armenia, Persia, India, and Tartary, as they are severally related in the present work by Marco Polo, a wise and learned citizen of Venice, who states distinctly what things he saw and what things he heard from others. For this book will be a truthful one. It must be known, then, that from the creation of Adam to the present day, no man, whether Pagan, or Saracen, or Christian, or other, of whatever progeny or generation he may have been, ever saw or inquired into so many and such great things as Marco Polo above mentioned. Who, wishing in his secret thoughts that the things he had seen and heard should be made public by the present work, for the benefit of those who could not see them with their own eyes, he himself being in the years of our Lord 1295 in the prison at Genoa, cause the things which are contained in the present work to be written by master Rustigielo, a citizen of Pisa, who was with him in the same prison at Genoa.