First Description of the Beothuks
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First Description of the Beothuks
Texts
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Images
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Alberto Cantino, 1500, reprinted in UPTON, L.F.S., The Extermination of the Beothuks of Newfoundland, The Canadian Historical Review

(Fifty-seven of them had been brought to Lisbon for display.)

I have seen, touched and examined these people... they are somewhat taller than our average with members corresponding and well-formed. The hair of the men is long, just as we wear ours, and they wear it in curls, and have their faces marked with great signs... Their eyes are greenish and when they look at one, this gives an air of great boldness to their whole countenance. Their speech is unintelligible, but nevertheless is not harsh but rather human. Their manners and gestures are most gentle; they laugh considerably and manifest the greatest pleasure. So much for the men. The women have small breasts and most beautiful bodies and rather pleasant faces. The colour of these women may be said to be more white than otherwise, but the men are considerably darker.