"Mean and Scanty"

From Hans Staden's Warhaftige Historia und Beschreibung, 1557. Image courtesy of the John Carter Brown library.


"A Country of Wild, Naked, Grim, Man-eating People"

In Hans Staden's Warhaftige Historia, he describes his captivity among the Tupinamba peoples of eastern Brazil. His sensational narrative of encounter claims that the indigenous peoples of eastern Brazil were ferocious cannibals, and he alleges at one point that the Tupinamba were moments away from eating him

"They Indeed Pay Homage to the Devil"

 Johannes De Laet’s L'Histoire du Nouveau Monde often provides details about the indigenous populations in an indifferent manner, describing them as he does the terrain: Da Laet includes chapters that focus specifically on the native populations, their customs, and their language. The fact that he takes the time to provide these details might show an interest in the indigenous populations, but like most Europeans at that time, he looks down on them, belittling their customs as “in the manner of savages” or “mean and scanty.”

Title page of Johannes de Laet's L'Histoire du Nouveau Monde ou Description des Indes Occidentales, 1640. Image sourced from Google Books.