Colonial Era

Jeffreys Atlas

Media type: illustration Annotation: This volume was the first comprehensive British atlas of Florida and the Caribbean. It includes the first large, detailed printed maps of a number of Caribbean islands, such as Antigua, St. Christopher, and Barbados. On many of these individual maps, the topography is rendered with particular skill. They provide unprecedented interior detail documenting…
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George Washington’s Diary

Credit: Library of Congress Media type: diary-image Museum Number: Annotation: Both a manuscript and a printed book, George Washington’s 1762 almanac records activities at his Mount Vernon plantation. He describes mainly planting tobacco and raising cattle and sheep, although finance and slaves are also mentioned. Washington kept a diary from 1747, when he was a teen aged surveyor,…
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The Catechism in Timucuan

Credit: Library of Congress Media type: book-image Museum Number: Annotation: This rare and important text is one of the earliest known artifacts in any Indian language from what is now the United States. Francisco Pareja came to Florida in 1595 and worked among the native peoples for thirty-one years, particularly among the Timucuan peoples. The systematic destruction of…
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Pirates in America

Media type: book illustration Annotation: This is an image from the first edition, in Dutch, of one of the most important books about pirates ever written. Alexandre Exquemelin, a native of Harfleur, went to the Caribbean in 1666 with the French West Indies Company. He served as surgeon for nearly ten years with various buccaneers and gives…
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The Meeting of Cortés and Montezuma

Credit: Library of Congress Media type: painting Museum Number: Annotation: Painted in the latter half of the seventeenth century in Mexico by unknown artists, the eight paintings in the Conquest of Mexico series depict the encounter of Spanish and Aztec cultures and the ultimate victory of the Spanish over the native peoples. All eight paintings will be on…
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Francis Drake’s Voyage in an Early Map

Credit: Library of Congress Media type: map Museum Number: Annotation: Italian artist Baptista Boazio created these handsome hand-colored engravings to accompany A summarie and true discourse of Sir Francis Drake’s West Indian Voyage, published in London by Biggs and Croftes in 1588-1589. The maps are illustrated in fascinating detail with the fleet of twenty-three ships, as well as…
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Dowry for Montezuma’s Daughter (Hernando Cortés)

Credit: Library of Congress Media type: letter-image Museum Number: Annotation: In this document, Hernando Cortés justifies a large dowry to Doña Isabel, the late Emperor Montezuma’s (1480?-1520) eldest daughter, when she married a nobleman of considerable standing in New Spain. Cortés recounts the importance of Montezuma’s aid to the Spanish during the conquest of Mexico. Cortés, who served…
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Bartolomé de Las Casas (1474-1566) to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (1500-1558)

Credit: Library of Congress Media type: letter-image Museum Number: Annotation: Manuscript letter, ca. 1528 Dominican Priest Bartolomé de Las Casas was a passionate champion of the rights of the indigenous people of the Americas. Las Casas sailed from Spain to Santo Domingo in 1502. There, he was given a royal land grant including labor of the Indian inhabitants…
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Epistola . . . de Insulis Indie nuper inventis (Letter Concerning the Islands Recently Discovered. . . .); wrtitten by Christopher Columbus, 1492

Credit: Library of Congress Media type: print Museum Number: Annotation: After his first transatlantic voyage, Christopher Columbus sent an account of his encounters in the Americas to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. Several copies of his manuscript were made for court officials, and a transcription was published in April 1493. This Latin translation by Leandro de…
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