Mapping the Peoples of the World
Geography, Chorography, and Intercultural Alliances
European colonial ventures that changed the American cultural and political landscape were driven by innovations in cartographic and navigational technologies. Those innovations not only influenced the details of colonial planning but also and just as importantly had a significant cultural impact during the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.1 As intercultural contacts increased in the first half of the seventeenth century, for instance, maps and mapping played a central role in shaping the many meetings of European and Indian cultures. Indeed, they lay at the root of political and trade alliances that Europeans formed with Native Americans, particularly in the earliest period of contact. When European colonial sponsors and explorers worked to chart the earth and its waterways, they explicitly sought also to map the peoples of the world. To understand the crucial role that mapping played in forming both European expectations about North America and European actions toward other peoples there, we need to recognize the ways in which maps and mapping began to take center stage in much European culture in this period. As we shall see in later chapters, much of the contact between Native Americans and Europeans in North America was ultimately influenced more by Native Americans' assumptions and expectations, but Europeans initially approached colonization in North America with their own increasingly well-developed ideas about the centrality of mapping and cultural observation.
If we think first of mapping and navigation in their most literal forms, mapping, along with its sibling art, navigation, was a vitally important new tool in European expansion. This is a familiar story, but what is less well known