Natives in the Landscape: Images and Documents of Seventeenth Century Virginia Indians
Compiled by Buck Woodard
1) John White and Thomas Harriot, "La Virginea Pars." c.1585. Prints and Drawings Dept., ©The British Museum, London.
From the 1585 English expedition to the North Carolina coast of North America. The map illustrates major bodies of water from the region, Including the Albemarle and Pamilco Sound as well as the Chesapeake Bay (unnamed). The mouths of the York and James Rivers are also depicted in the northern section of the map. Careful attention was paid to the names and locations of local American Indian settlements.
A revised map of John White's original. In this version, the Chesapeake Bay appears named for the first time and the orientation has changed to the west at the top. Another map was created as a close-up of the Roanoke area specifically.
The earliest survey map by a Jamestown colonist, Tindall's draught is an important reference to the early locations of Indian villages. It includes content based on the 1607 and 1608 expeditions of Christpher Newport.
Smith's map is the first published map of the Chesapeake region. Oriented with the west at the top, the map has excellent detail and accuracy of Indian villages and imagery. The Smith map is the most significant visual document from the period.
*Listed below are two of a dozen or so renditions based almost entirely on Smith's map. These releases include Smith's format but often change images, add longitude lines, change, add, or delete place names, and alter the geographic image. The altered reproductions of Smith's original stay in print for most of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Derived from Smith, this map replaces accuracy with stereotypes developing at the time. Powhatan and the Susquehanna have been removed and replaced with cherubs and two African Natives admiring a llama, a unicorn, and a goat. However, the map's contents remain accurate.
Hall's map is a poor copy of Smith's earlier work. Accuracy was not the intent; most of the geography is only reminiscent of reality, as are some of the creatures (wild boar and leopards). New renditions of DeBry's engraving have been included in the bizarre landscape.
The famous Zuniga map offers a hand drawn version of the Jon Smith map, and the information contained there in. It also includes content on the travels to the south and west in search of Lost Colonists of Roanoke.
A very detailed map collected by the Spanish Ambassador to England. The map illustrates the English understanding of the coast of N.A. from Newfoundland to the Outer Banks. Some Indian and English names appear as a list and then correlate to numbers on the drawings of rivers systems.
Four sheet survey of the Chesapeake Bay area, the best rendition since John Smith's original map published 50 yrs. earlier. The illustrations are detailed and outline the expanding European settlements and declining Native communities.
Lamb's map is a combination of Smith's earlier work and the Herrman map. Less detail is present; however some settlements of English and Native are displayed for the period.
Lederer's map was the first to illustrate the far interior of Virginia and Carolina. He includes several "mistakes" in his work, such as the "South Seas" and "Desserts" that are not present in reality. He includes a variety of Indian villages, of mostly Siouan extraction, with the exception of the Iroquois and Algonquians mentioned from the earliest part of his expedition.
This map is an example of Indian knowledge of diverse groups and territories. Lamhatty was a Towasa, captured by Muskogees and sold into slavery to consorting Shawnees. He breaks free and makes his way to the edge of English settlement on the Mattaponi, where his story was recorded by John Walker. The map appears on the reverse of the letter to Robert Beverly, and is supposedly in Lamhatty's own hand.
The first recorded exploration of the lower Shenandoah Valley, undertaken in 1706. Michel was in search of land suitable for a Swiss colony in the region. Several of the rivers and mountainous areas are named using the local Indian dialect.
This page from the Princeton manuscript are thought to at least have the heading and marginal notes in Strachey's hand. The entire collection is available for reproduction; two copies are extant, one at the British Museum, the other in the Bodleain Library.
Printed by John Bill, Christopher Barker, Thomas Newcomb, and Henry Hills, Printers to the Kings Most Excellent Majesty, London, 1677.
The Treaty of Middle Plantation granted peace at the end of Bacon's Rebellion. Two series of signatures took place between Indians of Virginia and the British Crown. The treaties established new formal relationships and laws to govern the interaction between the colony and the Native population.
"A True Narrative of the Rise, Progress, and Cessation of the Late Rebellion in Virginia Most Humbly and Impartially Reported By His Majesties Commissioners Appointed to Enquire into the Affairs of the Said Colony." p.370 / 188 (stamped), Library of Virginia, Reel 32. Virginia Colonial Records Project.
A description and illustration of the fort at Susquehanna. An account of a July 1675 conflict is described in the article next to the map, mentioning Susquehanock and Doeg Indians in the Potomack River district.
The image collection provided is a sample of the materials available for use by the National Park Service. The seventeenth-century documents are limited in number, and their use in museum work and educational publications has been extensive. Further material may be revealed in the libraries and record houses of Europe and the Caribbean. Resources in Madrid, Rome (the Vatican), Bermuda, and Barbados may await the studious researcher. Additional seventeenth-century documents are available for scanning from courthouses that are complete in their record collection, like those of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Further studies of seventeenth-century documents pertaining to Virginia's Indians may reveal margin notes, tribal character signatures, and descriptions left out by earlier archivists. The use of seventeenth-century handwriting in museum display may be a new way to present the American Indian of Virginia. Panels dedicated to documents exclusive to Indians could offer an insight into chronology, fluctuating terms of treaties, land loss, conflict, and cultural activities. Maps that illustrate the changing face of Virginia's landscape could be used to focus on a particular area through time; detailing the changing Native names, village sites, and political control. Additional photographs of archeological study collections from across the state may provide further imagery for NPS consideration. Archeological images could be used not only in informational publications, but as design elements in larger formats for exhibitions. A display of seventeenth-century house patterns and interpreted recreations of exact local housing could be used in a dramatic way for exhibit design or just for information's sake. As an example of future image research consideration, an extensive catalogue of seventeenth-century ceramic vessel incised rim design patterns has never been done for this region. Further investigation of design elements in existing Late Woodland / Contact period archeological collections may reveal a wealth of indigenous patterned designs available for use in exhibit borders, banners, and publications or even as an exhibit focus. As a final consideration, new images could be commissioned for development. Contemporary illustrations of the Virginia Indians of the seventeenth-century are far and few between. Completed ethnographic and archeological research could provide the suitable inspiration for new imagery to be created, based on the primary materials present in this image collection.
Last Updated: 22-Nov-2006