In the final years of the seventeenth century, Richard Traunter—an experienced Indian trader fluent in three Indigenous languages—made a number of trips into the interior of Virginia and the Carolina colonies, keeping a record of his travels and the people he encountered. This primary-source edition of Traunter’s account makes his crucial text, held in private collections for more than three hundred years, widely available for the first time.

Traunter’s journals shed light on colonial society, Indigenous cultures, and evolving politics, offering a precious glimpse into a world in dramatic transition. He describes rarely referenced Native peoples, details diplomatic efforts, and relates the dreadful impact of a smallpox epidemic then raging through the region. In concert with Eno Will, the head man at Ajusher who accompanied Traunter on both treks, Traunter also helped establish trade pacts with eight Indigenous nations.

Part natural history, part adventure tale, all expertly contextualized by Sandra Dahlberg, Traunter’s narrative provides a unique vantage point through which to view one of the most important periods in the colonial South and represents an invaluable resource for students and specialists alike.

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