This chapter shows how the history of the European encounter with American Indians can be usefully employed to further complicate the understanding of race. It discusses three aspects of this issue: the importance of blackness and whiteness to definitions of race; the possibility of conceptualizing racial difference differently; and the relationship between cultural differences (manners and fashions) and differences mapped on to the body. The chapter considers the legacy of Columbus’ comparison of Guinea and Caribbean natives both broadly and narrowly. It re-examines one of the most influential works about the history of race, Winthrop Jordan’s White over black , in light of recent theoretical works on race. The chapter offers a brief comparison of the similarities and differences in European discourse about West Africans and Indians. It considers the impact of these different categories and discussions of difference in the formation of English ethnic and racial identities in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.