John Smith's Map of Virginia: With a Brief Account of Its History, Map
John Smith's Map of Virginia: With a Brief Account of Its History. Ben C. McCary . (1957)

Owing to their expectation that the New World lay in proximity to the East Indies or the Pacific Ocean, the Virginia Company of London in 1607 charged its first settlers to employ a number of men ?for two months in the discovery of the river above you, and on the country about you.? Captain John Smith was a member of that initial exploration of May 1607, and during the ensuing two years he was primarily responsible for planning and carrying out the discoveries. These explorations were carried out at great risk and hardship; in fact, it was during one of these journeys that Smith was captured by Opechancanough and?according to legend?was narrowly saved from death by the Indian princess, Pocahontas. While Smith and his crews did not find a Northwest Passage, their efforts, as preserved in the folding map which is the focal point of this small book, made invaluable contributions to Virginia geography, ethnology, and cartography.

In John Smith's Map of Virginia, Professor McCary describes the various expeditions made by the intrepid captain and then goes on to discuss the publishing history of the map itself through ten versions between 1612 and 1632. Among the notable features of the folding map, which is the focal point of this small book, are a drawing of the Indian chieftain Powhatan, Captain Smith's arms and motto, important features of the Virginia shore lines, rivers and creeks of Smith's day, hundreds of place names, and the location of 200 Indian villages in Virginia in the early seventeenth century. Whether as a guide to research in Virginia genealogy, history or pre-history, or as a mere keepsake, John Smith's Map of Virginia will appeal to Virginiaphiles of all persuasions.


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