Abstract

The Theodor De Bry map of the coast of today’s North Carolina has exerted an unfortunate influence over how historians and anthropologists have described and understood the indigenous Algonquian communities of the Outer Banks and the coast of today’s North Carolina, and so how they have interpreted Sir Walter Ralegh’s colonizing ventures. The map is the bedrock on which many scholars have erected their own interpretations of the indigenous polities of the coastal Carolina region. The “tribes” etched by De Bry and described by subsequent scholars, in other words, seldom appear as meaningful entities in the surviving records. By tracing their imagined course, by adding to and elaborating on a map that reflected the biases and preconceptions of European observers, one risks missing much indeed and imposing on the region’s native peoples frameworks of social organization that most likely would have struck them as utterly foreign and wrong.

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