The Age of Exploration
You’ve likely heard of most of the explorers in this volume, whether from your school days or from traveling in the New England area. John Smith, de Champlain, and Bartholomew Gosnold are all familiar men from American history.
But did you ever read their own journals and letters? If not, you’re in for a treat. This book contains eleven narratives from the men who bravely explored the coastline of New England, more specifically that area around Maine.
In between the navigational language you’ll find interesting tidbits of first sightings of land, forest, rivers, mountains, and of course, Indians. While some explorers were still seeking the Northwest Passage to China, others eventually came to found settlements and colonies for England.
I have done some heavy editing of the original letters and journals, simply because they were written in various (and sometimes hilarious) Elizabethan English. The creative spelling and capitalization are enough to discourage most people to put the book down and move on to something modern. But the history in these narratives is too good to put down, so I cleaned up the spelling and did my best to interpret some old words and phrases.
There’s a lot to gain from even the most technical descriptions in this book; just picturing the kind of men it takes to captain a ship, brave the open sea, navigate unknown coasts, and risk interactions with “savages” should give all of us a deeper appreciation for the age of exploration.
Related Knowledge Keepers Books
If you love reading history in chronological order, you’ll want to pick up a copy of Miles Standish, Puritan Captain. It’s the next Knowledge Keepers book after the New England exploration.
You might also find some interesting history of the settlement and growth of the colonies over these centuries as written by John Marshall in book 1 of his biography of George Washington: Prelude to Independence, also by Knowledge Keepers. It is less about Washington, and more about the American colonies from exploration to Revolution.
And finally, the Iroquois Handbook is a detailed encyclopedia of many of the tribes who lived in this region. Their language and customs were learned and written down by a missionary who lived with them for thirty years.