This article examines the role of amazon women during the first centuries of European exploration in lowland South America by analyzing the accounts produced by conquistadors, missionaries, and explorers from the sixteenth to early nineteenth centuries. The accounts are analyzed in the light of more recent ethnographical, archaeological, and ethnohistorical studies that reveal in these sources evidence supporting the existence of a native discourse on amazon-like women. It is suggested that Amerindians and Europeans entered into a “dialogue” through a discourse on amazon women. From the Amerindian point of view, this discourse involved ideas about the regeneration of society achieved through exchange, a model of creation that became especially relevant when confronting the European invasion. By relating the accounts to this wider context, the analysis provides a more thorough understanding of the situation of contact and the accounts themselves.
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Research Article| October 01 2005
Astrid Steverlynck; To What Extent Were Amazon Women Facts, Real or Imagined, of Native Americans?. Ethnohistory 1 October 2005; 52 (4): 689–726. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00141801-52-4-689
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