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Leah Thomas: “nearly in a circular form”: Mapping the Cherokee Nation through John Marrant’s Narrative (1785)

  • Thursday, June 24, 2021
  • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • Zoom

Sponsored in partnership with the Boston, California, Chicago, New York, Philip Lee Phillips, Rocky Mountain, and Texas Map Societies

Location: Zoom

Time:  7:00 pm ET/6:00 pm CT/5:00 pm MT/4:00 pm PT

Title: “nearly in a circular form”: Mapping the Cherokee Nation through John Marrant’s Narrative (1785)

Speaker:  Leah Thomas, Assistant Professor of English, Virginia State University, and Editor, The Portolan

Comparing contemporaneous maps of the southeastern United States with John Marrant’s narrative mapping in his A Narrative of the Lord’s Wonderful Dealings with John Marrant, a Black (London, 1785) offers insight into his location and travel especially among the Cherokee and their networks.

Taken into captivity by the Cherokee, Marrant is saved by the Chief’s daughter, echoing John Smith’s The Generall Historie (1624) during a pivotal moment in the colonial contest in the Southeast. Living among the Cherokee for approximately two years, Marrant hunted and traveled with them. His narrative mapping reflects the mapping in the 1720s deerskin maps attributed to the Catawba and Chickasaw that may have been of Cherokee origin.

Marrant’s travel with the Cherokee during the 1760s reveals emergent settler tensions with the Cherokee from their friendship with the British and negotiations with South Carolina Governor Francis Nicholson in the 1720s to their removal in the 1830s.


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