of the Susquehannock man on Smith's
map is striking for its size, its placement, and its military bearing.
The caption emphasizes that the Susquehannocks "are a Gyant like
people & thus Atyred," and the map designates their territory
on the northwestern edge of the Chesapeake Bay. Archaeological evidence
suggests that the Susquehannocks were well organized traders who had
recently moved from the interior towards the shoreline to better control
the image of Powhatan's address to his people (on the left side of Smith's
map), the image of the Susquehannock man provides the map of Virginia
with not only aesthetic but also political balance. In the text of his
Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England,
and the Summer Isles, Smith elaborates the basic colonial strategy
of jockeying for power with dominant local peoples by forging strategic
alliances with rival groups. For early settlers at Jamestown, this divide-and-control
strategy was made difficult by the apparent extent of Powhatan's domains,
which left few local natives in any position to risk alliance with the
overwhelmingly outnumbered English. In this context, the large, strong
bowman visually represents a potential strategic counterbalance.
was not drawn after any actual Susquehannock man, but instead derived
from an untitled
drawing by John White , which represents an Indian man from the
Chesapeake area. In 1590, engraver Theodore de Bry adapted the drawing
for Thomas Hariot's Briefe and True
Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, where it is identified
as "A werowan or great Lorde of Virginia" (Hariot Plate III).
and Hariot, the figure of this bowman seems to have had quite specific
meanings. It was evidently intended as an analogue to an ancient British
figure depicted in the last section of the Briefe
and True Report. The drawing White made of a Pictish man,
based on historical descriptions, strongly mirrors the image of the
bowmanand in his engravings de Bry emphasizes these parallels.
Both images of the Virginia bowman and the Pictish man stand in the
same counter-posture and carry weapons, one a bow, the other a pike.
Hariot's text for the engraving of "A werowan or great Lorde of
Virginia" ends with the observation that "When they go to
battel they paynt their bodyes in the most terible manner that thei
can devise" (Hariot Plate III). Apparently, the Pict was represented
in the most terrible manner White and de Bry could devise: he is shown
totally, not just partially, nude; covered with fierce body painting;
and, along with his weapons, holding a severed human head. Hariot was
self-consciously attempting to represent native peoples in North America
as similar to, or even more advanced than, ancient Britons. By introducing
the ancient British figures he intends "to showe how that the Inhabitants
of the great Bretannie have bin in times past as sauvage as those of
Virginia" (Hariot third title page). By implication, Hariot seems
to have been suggesting an analogy between the Romans who brought civilization
to England, and the English who proposed to do the same to Virginia.
of this bowman figure as it was repeated and adapted suggests the prominence
of associations between Indians and warfare. De Bry himself repeated
on a much smaller scale, on the map of Virginia he engraved for the
Briefe and True Report. The
same generic Indian bowman was also used in another plate in Smith's
Generall Historie. This time, the bowman figure represents the
King of the Powmunkee in the scene in which Smith grabs that man's headlock.
to the popularity of this generic military figure, less bellicose images
from Hariot's Briefe and True Report
were much less frequently drawn upon in other publications. Despite
the proliferation and variety of benign images of Indians in the Briefe
and True Reportcooking food, growing crops, fishing, hunting,
performing religious ceremonies, Smith's map of Virginia selects from
de Bry's repertoire only images of Indian imperialism and militarism.
These generic figuresand the bowman in particularalso stand
in contrast to more personal conventions of portraiture. Consider Wenceslaus
Hollar's somewhat later engraving of a Virginia Algonquian man who visited
London in the 1640s. This portrait, focusing on the man's face and upper
torso, suggests emotional intimacy, even tenderness. Rather than combative,
this unnamed individual is unarmed, boyish, and serene. Given this range
of models and possibilities, the figure of the bowman selected to represent
the Susquehannocks emphasizes the military tone and strategic diplomacy
of Smith's conception of the map of Virginia. Both Indian figures represented
prominently on the mapPowhatan addressing his people and the Susquehannock
bowmanemphasize the themes of political organization and military
strength. For Smith, the map of Virginia was in large part a representation
of balances of power, control of territory, and warfare.
Suggestions For Further Reading
Gleach, Frederick W. Powhatan's
World and Colonial Virginia: A Conflict of Cultures. Lincoln:
University of Nebraska Press, 1997.
Kupperman, Karen Ordahl. "Scandinavian Colonists
Confront the New World." In New
Sweden in America. Edited by Carol E. Hoffecker, et al. Newark:
University of Delaware Press, 1995, 89-111.
Potter, Stephen. Commoners,
Tribute, and Chiefs: the Development of Algonquian Culture in the Potomac
Valley. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1993.
Sturtevant, William D., gen. ed. Handbook
of North American Indians. Vol. 15, Northeast. Edited by Bruce
G. Trigger. District of Columbia: Smithsonian Institution, 1978.
Turner, E. Randolph. "Native American Protohistoric
Interactions in the Powhatan Core Area." In Powhatan
Foreign Relations, 1500-1722. Edited by Helen C. Rountree. Charlottesville:
University of Virginia Press, 1993, 76-93.