Exploring the Early Americas

The Jay I. Kislak Collection

Exploring the Early Americas

Ongoing exhibition, opened December 12, 2007.

Exploring the Early Americas features selections from the more than 3,000 rare maps, documents, paintings, prints, and artifacts that make up the Jay I. Kislak Collection at the Library of Congress. It provides insight into indigenous cultures, the drama of the encounters between Native Americans and European explorers and settlers, and the pivotal changes caused by the meeting of the American and European worlds. The exhibition includes two extraordinary maps by Martin Waldseemüller created in 1507 and 1516, which depict a world enlarged by the presence of the Western Hemisphere.

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Pre-Contact America

This area deals principally with the pre-contact cultures of Mesoamerica, a territory that includes most of the modern countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, western Honduras, and El Salvador.  Read more about Pre-Contact America »

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Explorations and Encounters

Christopher Columbus’s voyages began a centuries-long series of encounters between peoples of the Americas and Europe. The Kislak Collection includes a selection of dramatic objects and records that reflect this complicated and extraordinary epoch. Read more about Explorations and Encounters »

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Aftermath of the Encounter

The encounters between the Americas and Europe altered the civilizations of both deeply and irrevocably. Among the many dramatic changes resulting from the encounters are the three covered in this section. Read more about Aftermath of the Encounter »

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Explore interactive presentations to learn directly from the artifacts, books, documents, paintings, and maps.

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