- Purchase/rental options available:
When metals are mentioned in early American histories, they tend to be the fabled gold of New World spaces ("El Dorado"), or the silver bullion of world trade (reales). But less noble metals tell equally important stories about the colonial past. This article analyzes promotional literatures from seventeenth-century Virginia and Venezuela to show how two writers converted a moment of currency crisis in early modern Europe and uneven metallic trade with Asia and Africa into new modes of imperial projecting in the early Americas. Over time, John Smith and Manuel Gaytán de Torres told and retold their stories, shaping their visions of colonial settlement into proposals that both reinforced and challenged their audiences' desires. They followed the malleable potential of copper metals and the three stages of copper metallurgy to shape new narratives of possibility for indigenous, African, and European communities in Tsenacommacah and Cocorote, and to cast these narratives into diverse textual forms, such as shape poems, maps, paintings, relations, and histories.