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The Brief American Pageant , Sixth Edition
David M. Kennedy, Stanford University
Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University
Thomas A. Bailey
Mel Piehl, Valparaiso University
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Introduction | Questions to Consider | Source

English Trade with Indians
Theodor de Bry

Instructors' Note
Theodor de Bry was a Frankfurt goldsmith, engraver, and seller of prints and books. He was most famous for his series chronicling many of the earliest expeditions to the New World. Each volume in the series included illustrations of the events, often produced from firsthand observations. De Bry's work was important because earlier accounts of life in the New World contained either very crude drawings or no illustrations at all. De Bry, however, relied on European interpretations of "refined Europeans" and "savage Indians" in his drawings. Have students look closely at the drawing to help them better understand visually the early relationship between the Native Americans and the early Europeans who arrived in the New World.

This picture shows you one interpretation of a trading session between the English and Native Americans. Theodor de Bry drew this illustration and was one of the first to include such drawings in his accounts of the New World. Previous works on the subject contained either no illustrations or very crude ones. Look for de Bry's European biases about Native Americans as you look at the drawing.

Questions to Consider
  1. What two groups of people are pictured? Describe some of the contrasts in how each is portrayed.

  2. What are they doing?

  3. Explain the significance of the objects involved in this activity.


Drawing of the English trading with the Indians