A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia – Thomas Harriot 1590

Thomas Harriot was a multi-talented associate of Sir Walter Raleigh, the founder of the Roanoke colony (known as the "lost colony" because all of the colonists mysteriously disappeared). Harriot learned the Algonquin language from a pair of Croatan who had been brought back to England by an earlier expedition. Harriot spent a short time attached … Continue reading A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia – Thomas Harriot 1590

Battle on the Ice – John Knight, 1606

The explorer John Knight was shipwrecked off the coast of Canada. Upon going to shore with three men, Knight and his party were killed by natives. A member of Knight's crew, Oliver Browne, took over composing Knight's journal for the remainder of the expedition. While in the process of salvaging supplies from the wrecked ship … Continue reading Battle on the Ice – John Knight, 1606

The Amazons of Cartagena – Antonio de Hererra, 1601

From the chronicles of the Spanish historian Antonio de Hererra, a passage describing "Amazonian women" who fought with poisoned arrows and one who slew eight Spaniards with her bow. The first that saw Carthagena, in the year 1502. was Roderick Bastidas, & the year 1504. Juan de la Cosa or John of the Thing went … Continue reading The Amazons of Cartagena – Antonio de Hererra, 1601

John Colman slain- Henry Hudson, 1609

Another post from Henry Hudson's 1609 expedition. This is a rare examples of bowmen defeating musketeers. The natives outnumbered Hudson's crew twenty-six to five. Firearms were frequently enough of an advantage to overcome such odds, but in this case rain disabled them. The sixth [day], in the morning was faire weather, and our Master sent … Continue reading John Colman slain- Henry Hudson, 1609

A stolen pillow causes a skirmish and slaughter – Henry Hudson, 1609

This account from the memoirs of Henry Hudson is one of the most vicious bow vs. musket battles I've found. The people of the Mountaynes came aboord us, wondring at our ship and weapons. We bought some small skinnes of them for Trifles. This after-noone, one Canoe kept hanging under our sterne with one man … Continue reading A stolen pillow causes a skirmish and slaughter – Henry Hudson, 1609

A battle against a prince and forty thieves – Anthony Jenkinson, 1558

Anthony Jenkinson, an English explorer, is known for the memoirs of his several expeditions to Russia. On his first expedition, Jenkinson sought to enter Russia by way of the Tatar lands north of the Caspian sea. He traveled in a caravan of mixed company, both Christian and Muslim. The caravan captured four suspicious men on … Continue reading A battle against a prince and forty thieves – Anthony Jenkinson, 1558

The naval weapons of Sir Richard Hawkins: musket arrows, slurbowes, fire arrows

Here's a very interesting passage from Sir Richard Hawkins' account of his 1594 expedition. Hawkins' ship was attacked by a larger Spanish vessel, and his only hope for escape was to shoot through its mast and sails. Hawkins lists the many weapons his ship carried for this purpose: [To] shoote downe his contraries Masts or … Continue reading The naval weapons of Sir Richard Hawkins: musket arrows, slurbowes, fire arrows

The Nemesis in China and Chinese archery in the 19th Century

China is the odd man out in the transition from archery to musketry. Almost every other nation had given up archery for firearms, the Chinese still used large numbers of archers as late as the 19th century. While firearms were certainly not unknown in China, and muskets made up a significant portion of the Qing … Continue reading The Nemesis in China and Chinese archery in the 19th Century

Plymouth Plantation Bow vs Musket Battle

A Relation or Journal of the Proceedings of the English Plantation Settled at Plymouth, by Edward Winslow and others (London, 1622) About midnight we heard a great and hideous cry, and our sentinels called, Arm, Arm. So we bestirred ourselves and shot off a couple of muskets, and noise ceased; we concluded, that it was … Continue reading Plymouth Plantation Bow vs Musket Battle