I just finished reading Charles Hudson's The Juan Pardo Expeditions: Exploration of the Carolinas and Tennessee, 1566-1568 (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990). The book recounts some of the journeys of Spanish explorers in North America in the mid-16th century.
It was almost two years ago that I blogged a piece about the epic journey of Cabeza de Vaca. That book made me want to read more about deSoto and the other Spaniards in North America. Juan Pardo travelled from South Carolina up to North Carolina and then west as far as what is nowadays Johnson City and Knoxville, Tennessee.
One of the more curious incidents recorded in the book is an ethnographic observation of the local Indians:
"...in Cauchi they saw an Indian man who was dressed as a woman and walking in the company of women. When Pardo asked Cauchi Orata for an explanation he said that the man was his "brother," but because he was not a man for war or for doing the things that men do, he went about as a woman and did a woman's tasks..."The illustration in the book, reproduced above, is Plate XXIII from the famous set of engravings by Jacques Le Moyne: "Timucuan male transvestites carrying packbaskets of food. Females are shown loading the packbaskets... Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution."
I've not added this book to TYWKIWDBI's list of now 30 recommended books, because the content will probably not be of interest to most readers of this blog, but it would certainly appeal to those with an interest in North American prehistory.