Free Primary Source Interpretation Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Europe, Vehicles, Men, Time, Women, Ship, Nature, Letter

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/10/12

The primary sources reveal a great amount of information about the historical context at the time of the writings. In the text about Giovanni da Verrazano, the materials and provisions provided and the weather conditions are some of the first things discussed by the author. The details included discuss the fifty men and enough provisions for these men to survive for eight months with the inclusion of war items such as naval type munitions. The men were prepared to defend themselves if necessary but it did not appear that any type of combat was going to be initiated during this voyage. It was exploratory in nature. There is discussion about the majority of the weather being good, despite the voyage being at the beginning of the year as well as details about a storm that the ships encountered on February 24, 1524. Da Verrazano did mention that divine intervention was a part of the reason that the ships survived the violent storm.
The letter goes on to reveal that at the time that da Verrazano was writing, it was believed that initially it was believed that they had encountered land that no person had seen prior to them in history. This also validates the exploratory nature of the journey. Soon the explorers realized that the land was inhabited due to the remnants of fires that could be seen along the coastline. The author writes in detail about trying to find a port and not being able to as the men explored the coastline. Finally, they anchored the ship as close to the shore as they could and made their way to land by using the small boats that were a part of their supplies.
It is also noted by da Verrazano that the shore has deep sand which is dunned in places and water inlets. The explorers did also travel further inland and described the forests that were encountered with great detail, noting the trees that were recognized from Europe as well as some that were unique and not seen before by the explorers. The origin of the unrecognizable trees is assumed by the explorers to therefore be from Asia. Also depicted in the letter is the wildlife which the inhabitants use to hunt, including deer, rabbit, stags, and others.
The letter also described in detail the initial encounter in which a young voyager tried to give gifts of small trinkets as a peace offering to the inhabitants and then return to the ship, but the waves being so high, he was unable to do so. The inhabitants rescued him and brought him to safety, demonstrating their peaceful nature, and enabling the explorers to be more confident that they would be able to engage in learning about the inhabitants near the coast. Initially, however, the explorers were nervous when the swimmer was rescued because the inhabitants stripped him and built a fire to warm him and they feared that he was to be saved only to be roasted. After observation for a while, and seeing that the swimmer was not going to be harmed, it was deemed safe to have further exploration.
The sailors later followed the coastline and investigated a second inhabited area. When the explorers approached land this time, the situation was quite different. The roughly 20 men that had been seen from the ship ran and hid as the explorers approached the land. Instead, they had limited contact with the people of this second landing. In the grass they encountered an old woman, a girl of about 18 to 20 years of age, and three children about eight years old, two girls and one boy. The younger woman had three girls with her as well. The older woman was willing to take food from the explorers and the younger one refused to do so, throwing hers on the ground.
This second encounter with inhabitants demonstrates the fear and trepidation that many others would demonstrate when strangers, the Europeans, approached the new lands. This fear was compounded by the Europeans deciding to take the young boy back to Europe as evidence of finding new people. Essentially the boy was kidnapped and brought back to Europe for proof and examination. This type of behavior demonstrates the Europeans view that they were more powerful and ethnocentric, thinking that they could decide to kidnap and use people from their explorations for their own purposes. This is just one example about how the Europeans put their own interests before others in during this period known as colonial history.

Works Cited

Tarrow, Susan. The Voyages of Giovanni da Verrazzano. Yale: Yale University Press, 1970.

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WePapers. (2020, October, 12) Free Primary Source Interpretation Essay Example. Retrieved June 25, 2022, from
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"Free Primary Source Interpretation Essay Example," Free Essay Examples -, 12-Oct-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 25-Jun-2022].
Free Primary Source Interpretation Essay Example. Free Essay Examples - Published Oct 12, 2020. Accessed June 25, 2022.

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