This is a wonderful surviving page from Theodor De Bry’s “Grand Voyages” from 1591!
The volume this page came from goes into great detail describing the daily life of the Timucuan Native peoples. This example was carefully hand-painted in the late 1500s in Amsterdam and helps show readers in Europe what was happening in the mysterious New World. Some pages show fishing and hunting like this example, while others show how they built their settlements, fought against other tribes, as well as trading with Spaniards.
Hunting crocodiles was a large part of life at the time for the native peoples of the area. This wasn’t just for a food source, but also to protect their children as well as adults from being killed by them. The Timucuan people used a method of cutting down small trees, sharpening the ends, and ramming them into the crocodile’s mouth. Once it bites down, the rough bark would make it impossible to remove and the hunters could flip the crocodile on its back to finally end their hunt.
The Latin description at the bottom of the page describes this in graphic detail.
I recently purchased several pages from this volume and will be sharing them soon to preserve their wonderful stories! Stick around and let me know what you think of this wild piece of Florida history!
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