Unit I: The New Land, 1500-1800
Week 2: Beginnings
- Unit 1, "The New Land", Timeline, Preview, and Background, pp. 1-7.
- Christopher Columbus, pp. 8-11.
- Indian Poetry, pp. 12-17.
- Dekanawidah, pp. 18-22.
- Cabeza de Vaca, pp. 23-26.
- La Salle, pp. 27-31.
- Smith, pp. 33-37.
- Byrd, pp. 49-51.
CONSIDER for discussion:
- The accounts of Columbus, Cabeza de Vaca, and La Salle are among the earliest accounts by European witnesses of the Americas, but they grow out of a long tradition of European travel narrative, which became very popular in the later Middle Ages, and even have their roots as far back as the Histories of Herodotus. If you have read any of these, compare Columbus' reporting to what you have found in the other sources.
- It should be noted that the selection of Indian poetry offered here is chronologically mixed: no Indians, for example, were singing about their horses until after the introduction of the horse by the Europeans. It is also geographically rather mixed -- the Navajo are native to the southwest -- very far from where Columbus or any of the early settlers landed. Finally, it should be pointed out that it is translated, unlike most of the rest of the work in the book -- a dubious distinction that sets it somewhat apart from the reader.
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