Tuesday, December 12, 2023

The Pequot nation, the source of the name of Captain Ahab’s ship in Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” (1851)

In Herman Melville's "Moby Dick" (1851), Ishmael explains the name of Captain Ahab's ship: “Pequod, you will no doubt remember, was the name of a celebrated tribe of Massachusetts Indians, now extinct as the ancient Medes.” The Pequot War fought from 1636-1638 between the Pequot nation and several of the New England colonies did lead to the dispersal of the Pequot, but two branches of the nation still today. But Ishmael, like the local, nineteenth-century New England historians studied by Jean M. O'Brien in "Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians out of Existence in New England", declares the Pequots extinct even as he refers to them as a well-known, celebrated memory. (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 12 December 2023)

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