American Beginnings: Exploration, Culture, and Cartography in the Land of Norumbega

American Beginnings: Exploration, Culture, and Cartography in the Land of Norumbega

American Beginnings: Exploration, Culture, and Cartography in the Land of Norumbega

American Beginnings: Exploration, Culture, and Cartography in the Land of Norumbega

Synopsis

This illustrated collection of essays examines early Native American contact with European explorers, fishermen, and traders in "Norumbega," the sixteenth-century name of the Atlantic coast of New England near the Penobscot River in Maine. This coast was the focus of several French and English voyagers seeking a northwest passage and other avenues to riches and treasure. A tacit division gradually emerged: the French concentrated on the region north of the Penobscot and the English on the lands to the south. The 100 illustrations in this book come largely from the Osher Map Library at the University of Southern Maine and include many rare early maps (1500–1800). Ten are reproduced in full color.

Excerpt

In 1986 the University of Southern Maine received an extraordinary collection of rare maps, atlases, and globes donated by Lawrence M. C. and Eleanor Houston Smith. It was knowledge of the private donation to the university of this gift, rich in material on the early explorations of America, that inspired the Maine Humanities Council in 1987 to undertake an award- winning project called the "Land of Norumbega." From this seed grew a traveling high-security museum exhibition and a host of related activities that focused public attention on the exploration, culture, and cartography of the northern part of the New World. The exhibition opened at the Portland Museum of Art on November 15, 1988, and traveled to the Hudson Museum at the University of Maine in the spring of 1989. The Smith Collection had become a star, even before there was a permanent home to house it. Connected to the exhibition was an international conference, held in Portland on December 2-3, 1988, which offered new ways to understand the topic of exploration, encounter, and settlement and revealed the exciting interpretive dimensions of maps. The papers from the conference, in turn, now serve as . . .

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