The 19 Panels
The sequence of scenes begins over the west door and moves clockwise around the Rotunda
Discovery of the Mississippi by De Soto
William Henry Powell's dramatic and brilliantly colored canvas was the last of the eight large historical paintings in the Rotunda commissioned by the Congress. It shows Spanish conquistador and explorer Hernando De Soto (1500–1542), riding a white horse and dressed in Renaissance finery, arriving at the Mississippi River at a point below Natchez on May 8, 1541. De Soto was the first European documented to have seen the river.
Landing of the Pilgrims, 1620, Relief Sculpture
Baptism of Pocahontas
This painting depicts the ceremony in which Pocahontas, daughter of the influential Algonkian chief Powhatan, was baptized and given the name Rebecca in an Anglican church. It took place in 1613 or 1614 in the colony at Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement on the North American continent. Pocahontas is thought to be the earliest native convert to Christianity in the English colonies; this ceremony and her subsequent marriage to John Rolfe helped to establish peaceful relations between the colonists and the Tidewater tribes.