The principal navigations, voyages, traffiques, and discoveries of the English nation, by Richard Hakluyt

The first voyage made to the coasts of America, with two barks, wherein were Captaines M. Philip Amadas, and M. Arthur Barlowe, who discouered part of the Countrey now called Virginia Anno 1584. Written by one of the said Captaines, and sent to sir Walter Ralegh knight, at whose charge and direction, the said voyage was set forth.1

1 This is the voyage that was taking place while Hakluyt was writing his Discourse on Planting I have given above.

The 27 day of Aprill, in the yere of our redemption 1584, we departed the West of England, with two barkes well furnished with men and victuals, hauing receiued our last and perfect directions by your letters, confirming the former instructions, and commandements deliuered by your selfe at our leauing the riuer of Thames. And I thinke it a matter both vnnecessary, for the manifest discouerie of the Countrey, as also for tediousnesse sake, to remember vnto you the diurnall of our course, sayling thither and returning: onely I haue presumed to present vnto you this briefe discourse, by which you may iudge how profitable this land is likely to succeede, as well to your selfe, (by whose direction and charge, and by whose seruantes this our discouerie hath beene performed) as also to her Highnesse, and the Common wealth, in which we hope your wisedome wilbe satisfied, considering that as much by vs hath bene brought to light, as by those smal meanes, and number of men we had, could any way haue bene expected, or hoped for.

A Southerly course not greatly needful for Virginia. The tenth of May we arriued at the Canaries, and the tenth of Iune in this present yeere, we were fallen with the Islands of the West Indies, keeping a more Southeasterly course then was needefull, because wee doubted that the current of the Bay of Mexico, disbogging betweene the Cape of Florida and Hauana, had bene of greater force then afterwardes we found it to bee. At which Islands we found the ayre very vnwholsome, and our men grew for the most part ill disposed: so that hauing refreshed our selues with sweet water, and fresh victuall, we departed the twelfth day of our arriuall there. These Islands, with the rest adioyning, are so well knowen to your selfe, and to many others, as I will not trouble you with the remembrance of them.

A sweet smell from the land. The second of Iuly, we found shole water, wher we smelt so sweet, and so strong a smel, as if we had bene in the midst of some delicate garden abounding with all kinde of odoriferous flowers, by which we were assured, that the land could not be farre distant: and keeping good watch, and bearing but slacke saile, the fourth of the same moneth we arriued vpon the coast, which we supposed to be a continent and firme lande, and we sayled along the same a hundred and twentie English miles before we could finde any entrance, or riuer issuing into the Sea. The first riuer. Iuly 13 possession taken. The first that appeared vnto vs, we entred, though not without some difficultie, and cast anker about three harquebuz-shot within the hauens mouth, on the left hand of the same: and after thankes giuen to God for our safe arriuall thither, we manned our boats, and went to view the land next adioyning, and to take possession of the same, in the right of the Queenes most excellent Maiestie, as rightfull Queene, and Princesse of the same, and after deliuered the same ouer to your vse, according to her Maiesties grant, and letters patents, vnder her Highnesse great seale. Which being performed, according to the ceremonies vsed in such enterprises, we viewed the land about vs, being Abundance of grapes. whereas we first landed, very sandie and low towards the waters side, but so full of grapes, as the very beating and surge of the sea ouerflowed them, of which we found such plentie, as well there as in all places else, both on the sand and on the greene soile on the hils, as in the plaines, as well on euery little shrubbe, as also climing towardes the tops of high Cedars, that I thinke in all the world the like abundance is not to be found: and my selfe hauing seene those parts of Europe that most abound, find such difference as were incredible to be written.

The Isle of Wokokon. We passed from the Sea side towardes the toppes of those hilles next adioyning, being but of meane higth, and from thence wee behelde the Sea on both sides to the North, and to the South, finding no ende any of both wayes. This lande lay stretching it selfe to the West, which after wee found to bee but an Island of twentie miles long, and not above sixe miles broade. Vnder the banke or hill whereon we stoode, we behelde the vallyes replenished with goodly Cedar trees, and hauing discharged our harquebuz-shot, such a flocke of Cranes (the most part white) arose vnder vs, with such a cry redoubled by many ecchoes, as if an armie of men had showted all together.

This Island had many goodly woodes full of Deere, Conies, Hares, and Fowle, euen in the middest of Summer in incredible abundance. The woodes are not such as you finde in Bohemia, Moscouia, or Hercynia, barren and fruitles, but the highest and reddest Cedars of the world, farre bettering the Ceders of the Açores of the Indies, or Lybanus, Pynes, Cypres, Sassaphras, the Lentisk, or the tree that beareth the Masticke, the tree that beareth the vine of blacke Sinamon, of which Master Winter brought from the streighte of Magellan, and many other of excellent smell and qualitie. Conference with a Sauage. We remained by the side of this Island two whole dayes before we saw any people of the Countrey: the third day we espied one small boate rowing towardes vs having in it three persons: this boat came to the Island side, foure harquebuz-shot from our shippes, and there two of the people remaining, the third came along the shoreside towards vs, and wee being then all within boord, he walked vp and downe vpon the point of the land next vnto vs: then the Master and the Pilot of the Admirall, Simon Ferdinando, and the Captaine Philip Amadas, my selfe, and others rowed to the land, whose comming this fellow attended, neuer making any shewe of feare or doubt. Abundance of fish. And after he had spoken of many things not vnderstood by vs, we brought him with his owne good liking, aboord the ships, and gaue him a shirt, a hat and some other things, and made him taste of our wine, and our meat, which he liked very wel: and after hauing viewed both barks, he departed, and went to his owne boat againe, which hee had left in a little Coue or Creeke adioyning: assoone as hee was two bow shoot into the water, he fell to fishing, and in lesse then halfe an houre, he had laden his boate as deepe, as it could swimme, with which hee came againe to the point of the lande, and there he diuided his fish into two parts, pointing one part to the ship, and the other to the pinnesse; which, after he had (as much as he might) requited the former benefites receiued, departed out of our sight.

The ariuall of the kings brother. The next day there came vnto vs diuers boates, and in one of them the Kings brother, accompanied with fortie or fiftie men, very handsome and goodly people, and in their behauiour as mannerly and ciuill as any of Europe. His name was Granganimeo, and the king is called Wingina, the countrey Wingandacoa, and now by her Maiestie Virginia. The maner of his comming was in this sort: hee left his boates altogether as the first man did a little from the shippes by the shore, and came along to the place ouer against the ships, followed with fortie men. When he came to the place his seruants spread a long matte vpon the ground, on which he sate downe, and at the other ende of the matte foure others of his companie did the like, the rest of his men stood round about him, somewhat a farre off: when we came to the shore to him with our weapons, hee neuer mooued from his place, nor any of the other foure, nor neuer mistrusted any harme to be offered from vs, but sitting still he beckoned vs to come and sit by him, which we performed: and being set hee made all signes of ioy and welcome, striking on his head and his breast and afterwardes on ours, to shew wee were all one, smiling and making shewe the best he could of all loue, and familiaritie. After hee had made a long speech vnto vs, wee presented him with diuers things, which hee receiued very ioyfully, and thankefully. None of the companie durst speake one worde all the time: only the foure which were at theother ende, spake one in the others eare very softly. The King is greately obeyed, and his brothers and children reuerenced: the King himselfe in person was at our being there, sore wounded in a fight which hee had with the King of the next countrey, called Wingina, and was shot in two places through the body, and once cleane through the thigh, but yet he recouered: by reason whereof and for that hee lay at the chiefe towne of the countrey, being sixe dayes iourney off, we saw him not at all.

After we had presented this his brother with such things as we thought he liked, wee likewise gaue somewhat to the other that satte with him on the matte: but presently he arose and tooke all from them and put it into his owne basket, making signes and tokens, that all things ought to bee deliuered vnto him, and the rest were but his seruants, and followers. Trafficke with the Sauages. Tinne much esteemed. A day or two after this we fell to trading with them, exchanging some things that we had, for Chamoys, Buffe, and Deere skinnes: when we shewed him all our packet of merchandize, of all things that he sawe, a bright tinne dish most pleased him, which hee presently tooke vp and clapt it before his breast, and after made a hole in the brimme thereof and hung it about his necke, making signes that it would defende him against his enemies arrowes: for those people maintaine a deadly and terrible warre, with the people and King adioyning. We exchanged our tinne dish for twentie skinnes, woorth twentie Crownes, or twentie Nobles: and a copper kettle for fiftie skins woorth fiftie Crownes. They offered vs good exchange for our hatchets, and axes, and for kniues and would haue giuen any thing for swordes: but wee would not depart with any. White corall. Perles. After two or three dayes the Kings brother came aboord the shippes, and dranke wine, and eat of our meat and of our bread, and liked exceedingly thereof: and after a fewe days ouerpassed, he brought his wife with him to the ships, his daughter and two or three children: his wife was very well fauoured, of meane stature, and very bashfull: shee had on her backe a long cloake of leather, with the furre side next to her body, and before her a piece of the same: about her forehead shee had a bande of white Corall, and so had her husband many times: in her eares shee had bracelets of pearles hanging downe to her middle, (whereof wee deliuered your worship a little bracelet) and those were of the bignes of good pease. The rest of her women of the better sort had pendants of copper hanging in either eare, and some of the children of the kings brother and other noble men, haue fiue or sixe in either eare: he himselfe had vpon his head a broad plate of golde, or copper, for being vnpolished we knew not what mettall it should be, neither would he by any meanes suffer vs to take it off his head, but feeling it, it would bow very easily. His apparell was as his wiues, onely the women weare their haire long on both sides, and the men but on one. They are of colour yellowish, and their hair black for the most part, and yet we saw children that had very fine aburne and chesnut coloured haire.

After that these women had bene there, there came downe from all parts great store of people, bringing with them leather, corall, diuers kindes of dies, very excellent, and exchanged with us: but when Granganimeo the kings brother was present, none durst trade but himselfe: except such as weare red pieces of copper on their heads like himselfe: for that is the difference betweene the noble men, and the gouernours of countreys, and the meaner sort. And we both noted there, and you haue vnderstood since by these men, which we brought home, that no people in the worlde cary more respect to their King, Nobilitie, and Gouernours, then these doe. The Kings brothers wife, when she came to vs (as she did many times) was followed with forty or fifty women alwayes: and when she came into the shippe, she left them all on land, sauing her two daughters, her nurse and one or two more. The kings brother alwayes kept this order, as many boates as he would come withall to the shippes, so many fires would hee make on the shore a farre off, to the end we might vnderstand with what strength and company he approched. Pitch trees. Their boates are made of one tree, either of Pine or of Pitch trees: a wood not commenly knowen to our people, nor found growing in England. They haue no edge-tooles to make them withall; if they haue any they are very fewe, and those it seemes they had twentie yeres since, which, as those two men declared, was out of a wracke which happened vpon their coast of some Christian ship, being beaten that way by some storme and outragious weather, whereof none of the people were saued, but only the ship, or some part of her being cast vpon the sand, out of whose sides they drew the nayles and the spikes, and with those they made their best instruments. The manner or making their boates. The manner of making their boates is thus: they burne downe some great tree, or take such as are winde fallen, putting gumme and rosen vpon one side thereof, they set fire into it, and when it hath burnt it hollow, they cut out the coale with their shels, and euer where they would burne it deeper or wider they lay on gummes, which burne away the timber, and by this meanes they fashion very fine boates, and such as will transport twentie men. Their oares are like scoopes, and many times they set with long poles, as the depth serueth.

The Kings brother had great liking of our armour, a sword, and diuers other things which we had: and offered to lay a great box of pearl in gage for them: but we refused it for this time, because we would not make them knowe, that we esteemed thereof, vntill we had vnderstoode in what places of the countrey the pearle grew: which now your Worshippe doeth very well vnderstand.

He was very iust of his promise: for many times we deliuered him merchandize vpon his word, but euer he came within the day and performed his promise. He sent vs euery day a brase or two of fat Bucks, Conies, Hares, Fish the best of the world. He sent vs diuers kindes of fruites, Melons, Walnuts, Cucumbers, Gourdes, Pease, and diuers rootes, and fruites very excellent good, and of their Countrey corne, which is very white, faire and well tasted, and groweth three times in fiue moneths: in May they sow, in Iuly they reape, in Iune they sow, in August they reape: in Iuly they sow, in September they reape: onely they cast the corne into the ground, breaking a little of the soft turfe with a wodden mattock, or pickeaxe: our selues prooued the soile, and put some of our Pease in the ground, and in tenne dayes they were of fourteene ynches high: they haue also Beanes very faire of diuers colours and wonderfull plentie: some growing naturally, and some in their gardens, and so haue they wheat and oates.

The soile is the most plentifull, sweete, fruitfull and wholsome of all the worlde: there were aboue fourteene seuerall sweete smelling timber trees, and the most part of their vnderwoods are Bayes and such like: they haue those Okes that we haue, but farre greater and better. After they had bene diuers times aboord our shippes, my selfe, with seuen more went twentie mile into the Riuer, that runneth towarde the Citie of Skicoak, which Riuer they call Occam: and the euening following, wee came to an Island which they call Raonoak, distant from the harbour by which we entered, seuen leagues: and at the north end thereof was a village of nine houses, built of Cedar, and fortified round about with sharpe trees, to keepe out their enemies, and the entrance into it made like a turne pike very artificially; when wee came towardes it, standing neere vnto the waters side, the wife of Granganimeo the kings brother came running out to meete vs very cheerefully and friendly, her husband was not then in the village: some of her people shee commanded to drawe our boate on shore for the beating of the billoe: others she appointed to cary vs on their backes to the dry ground, and others to bring our oares into the house for feare of stealing. When we were come into the vtter roome, hauing fiue roomes in her house, she caused vs to sit downe by a great fire, and after tooke off our clothes and washed them, and dryed them againe: some of the women plucked off our stockings and washed them, some washed our feete in warme water, and shee her selfe tooke great paines to see all thinges ordered in the best maner shee could, making great haste to dress some meate for vs to eate.

After we had thus dryed ourselues, she brought vs into the inner roome, where shee set on the boord standing along the house; some wheate like furmentie, sodden Venison, and roasted, fish sodden, boyled and roasted, Melons rawe, and sodden, rootes of diuers kindes and diuers fruites: their drinke is commonly water, but while the grape lasteth, they drinke wine, and for want of caskes to keepe it, all the yere after they drink water, but it is sodden with Ginger in it, and black Sinamon, and sometimes Sassaphras, and diuers others wholesome, and medicinable hearbes and trees. We were entertained with all loue and kindnesse, and with as much bountie (after their maner) as they could possibly deuise. We found the people most gentle, louing, and faithfull, voide of all guile and treason, and such as liue after the maner of the golden age. The people onely care howe to defende them selues from the cold in their short winter, and to feed themselues with such meat as the soile affoordeth: their meat is very well sodden and they make broth very sweet and sauorie: their vessels are earthern pots, very large, white and sweete, their dishes are wodden platters of sweet timber: within the place where they feede was their lodging, Their Idole. and within that their Idoll, which they worship, of whome they speake incredible things. While we were at meate, there came in at the gates two or three men with their bowes and arrowes from hunting, whom when wee espied, we beganne to looke one towardes another, and offered to reach our weapons: but assoone as shee espied our mistrust, shee was very much mooued, and caused some of her men to runne out, and take away their bowes and arrowes and breake them, and withall beate the poore fellowes out of the gate againe. When we departed in the euening and would not tary all night she was very sory, and gaue vs into our boate our supper halfe dressed, pottes and all, and brought vs to our boate side, in which wee lay all night, remoouing the same a prettie distance from the shoare: shee perceiuing our ielousie, was much grieued, and sent diuers men and thirtie women, to sit all night on the banke side by vs, and sent vs into our boates fine mattes to couer vs from the raine, vsing very many wordes to entreate vs to rest in their houses: but because wee were fewe men, and if wee had miscaried, the voyage had bene in very great danger, wee durst not adventure any thing, although there was no cause of doubt: for a more kinde and louing people there can not be found in the worlde, as farre as we haue hitherto had triall.

Skicoak a great towne. Beyond this Island there is the maine lande, and ouer against this Island falleth into this spacious water, the great riuer called Occam by the inhabitants on which standeth a towne called Pomeiock; and sixe dayes journey from the same is situate their greatest citie, called Skicoak, which this people affirme to be very greate: but the Sauages were neuer at it, only they speake of it by the report of their fathers and other men, whom they have heard affirme it to bee aboue one houres iourney about.

Into this riuer falleth another great riuer, called Cipo, in which there is found great store of Muskles in which there are pearles: likewise there descendeth into this Occam, another riuer, called Nomopana, on the one side whereof standeth a great towne called Chawanook, and the Lord of that towne and countrey is called Pooneno: this Pooneho is not subject to the king of Wingandacoa, but is a free Lord: beyond this country is there another king, whom they call Menatonon, and these three kings are in league with each other. A ship cast away. Towards the Southwest, foure dayes iourney is situate a towne called Sequotan, which is the Southermost towne of Wingandacoa, neere unto which, sixe and twentie yeres past there was a ship cast away, whereof some of the people were saued, and those were white people, whom the countrey people preserued.

And after ten dayes remaining in an out Island vninhabited, called Wocokon, they with the help of some of the dwellers of Sequotan, fastened two boates of the countrey together and made mastes vnto them and sailes of their shirtes, and hauing taken into them such victuals as the countrey yeelded, they departed after they had remained in this out Island 3 weekes: but shortly after it seemed they were cast away, for the boates were found vpon the coast cast a land in another Island adioyning: other then these, there was neuer any people apparelled, or white of colour, either seene or heard of amongst these people, and these aforesaid were seene onely of the inhabitantes of Secotan, which appeared to be very true, for they wondred maruelously when we were amongst them at the whitenes of our skins, euer coueting to touch our breasts, and to view the same. Besides they had our ships in marvelous admiration, and all things els were so strange vnto them, as it appeared that none of them had euer seene the like. When we discharged any piece, were it but an hargubuz, they would tremble thereat for very feare, and for the strangenesse of tha same: for the weapons which themselues vse are bowes and arrowes: the arrowes are but of small canes, headed with a sharpe shell or tooth of a fish sufficient ynough to kill a naked man. Their weapons. Their swordes be of wood hardened: likewise they vse wooden breastplates for their defence. They haue beside a kinde of club, in the end whereof they fasten the sharpe hornes of a stagge, or other beast. When they goe to warres they cary about with them their idol, of whom they aske counsel, as the Romans were woont of the Oracle of Apollo. They sing songs as they march towardes the battell in stead of drummes and trumpets: their warres are very cruell and bloody, by reason whereof, and of their ciuill dissentions which haue happened of late yeeres amongst them, the people are maruelously wasted, and in some places the countrey left desolate.

Or Pananuaioc. Adioyning to this countrey aforesaid called Secotan beginneth a countrey called Pomouik, belonging to another king whom they call Piamacum, and this king is in league with the next king adioyning towards the setting of the Sunne, and the countrey Newsiok, situate vpon a goodly riuer called Neus: these kings haue mortall warre with Wingina king of Wingandacoa: but about two yeeres past there was a peace made betweene the King Piemacum, and the Lord of Secotan, as these men which we haue brought with vs to England, haue giuen vs to vnderstand: but there remaineth a mortall malice in the Secotanes, for many iniuries and slaughters done vpon them by this Piemacum. They inuited diuers men, and thirtie women of the best of his countrey to their towne to a feast: and when they were altogether merry, and praying before their Idol, (which is nothing els but a meer illusion of the deuill) the captaine or Lord of the town came suddenly vpon them, and slewe them euery one, reseruing the women and children: and these two haue oftentimes since perswaded vs to surprize Piemacum his towne, hauing promised and assured vs, that there will be found in it great store of commodities. But whether their perswasion be to the ende they may be reuenged of their enemies, or for the loue they beare to vs, we leaue that to the tryall hereafter.

Beyond this Island called Roanoak, are maine Islands very plentifull of fruits and other naturall increases, together with many townes, and villages, along the side of the continent, some bounding vpon the Islands, and some stretching vp further into the land.

When we first had sight of this countrey, some thought the first land we saw to bee the continent; but after we entred into the Hauen, we saw before vs another mighty long Sea: for there lyeth along the coast a tracte of Islands, two hundreth miles in length, adioyning to the Ocean sea, and betweene the Islands, two or three entrances: when you are entred betweene them (these Islands being very narrow for the most part, as in most places sixe miles broad, in some places lesse, in fewe more) then there appeareth another great Sea, containing in bredth in some places, forty, and in some fifty, in some twenty miles ouer, before you come vnto the continent: Roanoak sixteen miles long. and in this inclosed Sea there are aboue an hundreth Islands of diuers bignesses, whereof one is sixteene miles long, at which we were, finding it a most pleasant and fertile ground, replenished with goodly Cedars, and diuers other sweete woods, full of Corrants, of flaxe, and many other notable commodities, which we at that time had no leasure to view. Besides this Island there are many, as I haue sayd, some of two, or three, of foure, of fiue miles, some more, some lesse, most beautifull and pleasant to behold, replenished with Deere, Conies, Hares, and diuers beasts, and about them the goodliest and best fish in the world, and in greatest abundance.

Thus Sir, we haue acquainted you with the particulars of our discouery made this present voyage, as farre foorth as the shortnesse of the time we there continued would affoord vs to take viewe of: and so contenting our selves with this seruice at this time, which wee hope hereafter to inlarge, as occasion and assistance shalbe giuen, we resolued to leaue the countrey, and to apply ourselues to returne for England, which we did accordingly, and arriued safely in the West of England about the middest of September.

And whereas wee haue aboue certified you of the countrey taken in possession by vs, to her Maiesties vse, and so to yours by her Maiesties grant, wee thought good for the better assurance thereof to record some of the particular Gentlemen, and men of accompt, who then were present, as witnesses of the same, that thereby all occasion of cauill to the title of the countrey, in her Maiesties behalfe may be preuented, which otherwise, such as like not the action may vse and pretend, whose names are:

Master Philip Amadas
Master Arthur Barlow


William Greeneuile,
Iohn Wood,
Iames Browewich,
Henry Greene,
Beniamin Wood,
Simon Ferdinando,
Nicholas Petman,
Iohn Hewes,

Of the companie.

We brought home also two of the Sauages being lustie men, whose names were Wanchese and Manteo.

Last updated Friday, October 31, 2014 at 19:58