La América by Theodor de Bry

These detailed engravings on copper plate represent the arrival of the Spaniards to the New World and their encounters with the native peoples. The images are taken from volume IV of the book Americae (16th century), from the series Grands Voyages of Theodor de Bry, a collection that gave the Europeans their first visual representations of North America.

The engravings not only highlight the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the West Indies, But also the atrocities perpetrated by the Spaniards against the Native Americans. The plates show how the Spaniards hang the Native Americans aboard a ship, throw them to the dogs, and attack them with swords and rifles. The other plates represent the Native Americans pouring molten gold into the throats of the Spaniards and how one of the Spaniards is drowned in the sea. Because De Bry had never seen Native Americans, he made them look like Greco-Roman idealized figures.


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