Alden T. Vaughan
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Ralegh, Harriot, and Anglo-American ethnography
in Literary and visual Ralegh
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If Sir Walter Ralegh can legitimately be called 'the father of the British Empire', he is with comparable accuracy 'the father of Anglo-American Ethnography'. Thomas Harriot was the first major English ethnographer because his Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia appeared eight years before Ralegh's Discoverie of the Large, Rich and Bewtiful Empyre of Guiana. Six years after the publication of that edition (i.e., in 1596), Ralegh made his own contribution to an emergent English-language ethnography in the Discoverie of Guiana. Several Spanish writers had written extensively about the peoples they encountered in areas of Spanish conquest, and a few early French efforts at ethnography survive. But until Thomas Harriot described the Indians of Roanoke island and vicinity, Englishmen had written very sparsely about the natives of the so-called 'New World'.

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