Etow Oh Koam life dates unknown

Born Upstate New York

In 1710, the Mohican Etow Oh Koam and three Mohawk companions embarked on a diplomatic journey to England as representatives of the Five Nation Iroquois Confederacy. In addition to improved trade relations with the British, they sought military assistance in combating raids from French Canada, which had plagued Upstate New York since the outbreak of Queen Anne’s War in 1701. Invariably described as “Kings” of the New World, the men were treated as visiting royalty—wined and dined and taken on sightseeing excursions. During a performance of Macbeth, they were asked to sit onstage so the audience could better observe them.

Several engravers capitalized on public curiosity by producing portraits of the American dignitaries. This one, published in Amsterdam, documents Etow Oh Koam’s tattoos, jewelry, and hairstyle. Although he and his colleagues wore custom-made English suits during their visit, artists preferred to represent them in fanciful versions of “native dress."



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