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Early Encounters in North America: Home

Painstakingly assembled from hundreds of sources, Early Encounters in North America: Peoples, Cultures, and the Environment documents the relationships among peoples in North America from 1534 to 1850. The collection focuses on personal accounts and provides unique perspectives from all of the protagonists, including traders, slaves, missionaries, explorers, soldiers, native peoples, and officials, both men and women. The project brings coherence to a wide range of published and unpublished accounts, including narratives, diaries, photographs, journals, and letters.

Mistippe Drawing

People

The variety of cultures in early North America was unprecedented. Dutch, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, African,and a host of Indian peoples developed a complex history of interactions. This collection allows scholars to see the effect of European cultures on Indians and equally to explore the Indians’ contributions to the Europeans. The collection shows, for example, the respect that Europeans had for Indian medicine. And it documents that the guerilla warfare practiced by the colonists during the American Revolution was used by Indians, a hundred years earlier, to counter European invaders.

Map of the West Coast Discovery

Local Studies

The “literature of place” unfolds through these narratives. Users interested in images can find quickly prints and maps pertaining to an area, thanks to a standardized vocabulary of geographic terms. So, for example, a search for material pertaining to Chicago will retrieve accounts of that city even before it was named. The level and detail of indexing let the user compare original descriptions of an area with the observations of those who followed

Image of Sea Creatures

Environmental Studies

Students of natural history will have instantaneous access to hundreds of years of recorded observations. Within the collection are thousands of descriptions of lands, fauna, and flora. In some cases these descriptions and drawings are now the only source we have for studying species that are extinct.

Featured Content- EENA

The Origin of the North American Indians: with a Faithful Description of Their Manners and Customs, Both Civil and Military, Their Religions, Languages, Dress, and Ornaments

McIntosh, John, fl. 1853, The Origin of the North American Indians: with a Faithful Description of Their Manners and Customs, Both Civil and Military, Their Religions, Languages, Dress, and Ornaments, New ed.. New York, NY: Nafis & Cornish, 1843, pp. 345

The Inconveniences that have happened to some persons which have transported themselves from England to Virginia.

Source: Waterhouse, Edward. A Declaration of the State of the Colony and Affaires in Virginia. With a Relation Barbarous Massacre in the Time of Peace and League...London, 1635.

Principal Chiefs photo from History of the Indian Tribes of North America

History of the Indian Tribes of North America, with Biographical sketches and Anecdotes of the Principal Chiefs. Embellished with One Hundred and Twenty Portraits, from the Indian Gallery in the Department of War

Hall, James, 1793-1868, History of the Indian Tribes of North America, with Biographical sketches and Anecdotes of the Principal Chiefs. Embellished with One Hundred and Twenty Portraits, from the Indian Gallery in the Department of War, At Washington, vol. 1. Philadelphia, PA: J.T. Bowen, 1848, pp. 333.

The form of binding a servant/ A precursor to modern boiler plate contracts.

White, Father Andrew. A Relation of Maryland: Together, with a Map of the Country, the Conditions of the Plantation, His Majesties Charter to the Lord Baltemore, Translated into English. New York: J. Sabin. 1865. 56 pp.

Golden Eagle Photo from  The Birds of America, Vol. 1

The Birds of America, Vol. 1

Audubon, John James, 1785-1851, The Birds of America, Vol. 1. New York, NY: J.J. Audubon, 1844, pp. 246.

Part II: Of Savages or Voyage of Samuel Champlain of Brouage made to New France ...

​...in the year one thousand six hundred and three translated and edited by H. H. Langton
Champlain, Samuel de, 1567(?)-1635, The Works of Samuel de Champlain, vol. 1. Biggar, H.P., ed.. Toronto, ON: Champlain Society, 1936, pp. 469.

Select Letters of Christopher Columbus: with Other Original Documents, Relating to His Four Voyages to the New World

Columbus, Christopher, 1451-1506. Major, R. H., ed. and tr.. London, England: Hakluyt Society, 1847, pp. 234. 

History of the Expedition Under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark

History of the Expedition Under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark to the Sources of the Missouri, Across the Rocky Mountains, Down the Columbia River to the Pacific in 1804-6, vol. 3. 

Complaint of George Cleeve

June 24, 1640. (1640) from The Beginnings of Colonial Maine, 1602-1658, (Portland, ME: State of Maine, 1914).

Early Encounters in North America Screenshot