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Two Spirits

Third and Fourth Genders in Native America


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First Encounters
Balboa's dogs

Spanish invader Vasco Nuñez de Balboa (1475-1519) presiding over the massacre of "sodomites" in Central America, Engraving by Theodore De Bry.

When Europeans encountered two-spirits, they reacted with shock, amazement, and sometimes violence. In 1513, Vasco Nuñez de Balboa had forty two-spirits that he encountered in Panama put to death by his dogs.