M11712 | Historiae Canadensis, sev Novae-Franciae Libri Decem, Ad Annum usque Christi, MDCLV

 
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Historiae Canadensis, sev Novae-Franciae Libri Decem, Ad Annum usque Christi, MDCLV
François Du Creux
1664, 17th century
25.1 x 19.1 x 6.3 cm
Gift of Mr. Ward C. Pitfield
M11712
© McCord Museum
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Keywords:  Book (26)
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Keys to History

LASTING IMPRESSIONS

The 18th century was a time of complex events and rapid change. How can we learn about this distant era, and in particular about the lives of its Aboriginal diplomats? One way is to read manuscripts and books from the period, such as the Historiae Canadensis..., the source of this illustration depicting Iroquois women and children. They are shown wearing elaborate hide garments, as well as necklaces, armbands and headbands made of shell beads.

The Historiae Canadensis... was written by the Jesuit François Du Creux (? -1666). He compiled this history of Canada from conversations with missionaries who had worked in New France, including fathers Brébeuf, Lalemant, Le Jeune and Bressani. Although the origin of the illustrations in his book is unknown, the plates are among the most important and best executed 17th-century depictions of Aboriginal people.

Though many 18th century documents are highly informative, these texts are sometimes biased by the preconceptions and motivations of their authors, mainly Europeans. Ideally, many different sources of information should be consulted to gain an understanding of the past. Moreover, the enduring power of oral traditions means that many Aboriginal elders alive today are very knowledgeable about the centuries-old diplomatic practices of their people.

  • What

    This illustration depicting Iroquois women and children is taken from the Historiae Canadensis..., which is one of the earliest books on Canada. It was written by the Jesuit François Du Creux (? -1666) and published in France in 1664.

  • Where

    The author François Du Creux compiled this history of Canada from conversations with missionaries who had worked in New France, including fathers Brébeuf, Lalemant, Le Jeune and Bressani. He also used the previously published Jesuit Relations and other records.

  • When

    The account was published in 1664, and describes events that took place in New France in the first half of the 17th century.

  • Who

    The Historiae Canadensis... was written by the Jesuit François Du Creux (? -1666). We do not know the name of the artist who produced the illustrations in his book. Nevertheless, they are rare and finely-executed 17th-century depictions of Aboriginal people in the Northeast.