Printable Version

Native Americans Discover Europeans
Digital History ID 642

Author:   William Wood

Annotation: An English colonist who lived in Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1629 to 1633 describes the Indian reaction to the arrival of the first European ships.

Document: These Indians being strangers to arts and sciences, and being unacquainted with the inventions that are common to a civilized people, are ravished with admiration at the first view of any such sight. They took the first ship they saw for a walking island, the mast to be a tree, the sail white clouds, and the discharging of ordnance for lightning and thunder, which did much trouble them, but this thunder being over and this moving-island steadied with an anchor, they manned out their canoes to go and pick strawberries there. But being saluted by the way with a broadside, they cried out, “What much hoggery, so big walk, and so big speak, and by and by kill”; which caused them to turn back, not daring to approach till they were sent for.

Source: William Wood, New England's Prospect (orig. 1634; Boston, 1897).

Copyright 2021 Digital History