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Travel writing had a significant impact on the way cannibalism was to be interpreted and diffused from the sixteenth century onwards. By analyzing how much our current understanding of anthropophagy owes to the discourse of travel writing and the simultaneous interaction between concept and medium, a better understanding of its implications in philosophical, political and scientific discourse can be perceived. It also elaborates on how we built self-identification through the uses of fears and cultural stereotypes. A quick glance at the structure of travel writing helps conceptualize how the encounter with Native Americans by Christopher Columbus transformed the Western perceptions of cannibalism and determined relations with other peoples in the following centuries, from Polynesians to Africans. The repercussions of this dialectical process are still palpable today.