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Samuel de Champlain’s Map of Plymouth Harbor

Samuel de Champlain’s Map of Plymouth Harbor.jpg Captain John Smith’s Map of New EnglandThumbnailsReconstruction of coal-forming swampCaptain John Smith’s Map of New EnglandThumbnailsReconstruction of coal-forming swampCaptain John Smith’s Map of New EnglandThumbnailsReconstruction of coal-forming swamp

Although the Pilgrims were the first Europeans to establish a permanent colony in northeastern North America, they did not come to an unknown land. As early as 1605, Samuel de Champlain had mapped Plymouth Harbor, in the course of a three-year expedition during which he explored the coast from Nova Scotia to Martha’s Vineyard. The quality of his detailed and accurate observations on the land and people appears in this map, and in his notes on the visit: “There came to us two or three canoes, which had just been fishing for cod and other fish which are found there in large numbers. These they catch with hooks made of a piece of wood, to which they attach a bone in the shape of a spear and fasten it very securely. The whole has a fang-shape, and the line attached to it is made out of the bark of a tree. They gave me one of their hooks, which I took out of curiosity. In it the bone was fastened on by hemp, like that in France, as it seemed to me, and they told me that they gathered this plant without being obliged to cultivate it, and indicated that it grew to the height of four or five feet. This canoe went back on shore to give notice to their fellow inhabitants, who caused columns of smoke to arise on our account. We saw eighteen or twenty savages, who came to the shore and began to dance. Our canoe landed in order to give them some bagatelles, at which they were greatly pleased. Some of them came to us and begged us to go to their river. We weighed anchor to do so, but were unable to enter on account of the small amount of water, it being low tide, and were accordingly obliged to anchor at the mouth. I went ashore, where I saw many others, who received us very cordially. I made also an examination of the river, but saw only an arm of water extending a short distance inland, where the land is only in part cleared. Running into this is merely a brook not deep enough for boats except at full tide. The circuit of the bay is about a league. On one side of the entrance to this bay there is a point which is almost an island, covered with wood, principally pines, and adjoins sandbanks, which are very extensive. On the other side, the land is high. There are two islets in this bay, which are not seen until one has entered, and around which it is almost entirely dry at low tide. This place is very conspicuous from the sea, for the coast is very low, excepting the cape at the entrance to the bay. We named it the Port du Cap. St. Louis...”.