Native Americans according to the first Western accounts



The first accounts of Native Americans, the native peoples of the Americas, that were widely read in the West were those of Columbus in 1493 and Amerigo Vespucci in 1505. Vespucci’s account was so well known that the new land was called America, after his Latin name, Americus.

Columbus in his letter of 1493, speaking about the Taino people of the Caribbean:

all go naked, men and women, as their mothers bore them

They have no iron or steel or weapons, nor are they fitted to use them. This is not because they are not well built and of handsome stature, but because they are very marvellously timorous… It is true that, after they have been reassured and have lost this fear, they are so guileless and so generous with all that they possess, that no one would believe it who has not seen it.


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