Linked by the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia and Maryland formed a prosperous and politically important region in British North America before the American Revolution. Yet these "sister" colonies—alike in climate and soil, emphasis on tobacco farming, and use of enslaved labor—eventually followed divergent social and economic paths. Jean B. Russo and J. Elliott Russo review the shared history of these two colonies, examining not only their unsteady origins, the powerful role of tobacco, and the slow development of a settler society but also the economic disparities and political jealousies that divided them.
Recounting the rich history of the Chesapeake Bay region over a 150-year period, the authors discuss in clear and accessible prose the key developments common to both colonies as well as important regional events, including Maryland's "plundering time," Bacon’s Rebellion in Virginia, and the opening battles of the French and Indian War. They explain how the internal differences and regional discord of the seventeenth century gave way in the eighteenth century to a more coherent regional culture fostered by a shared commitment to slavery and increasing socio-economic maturity.
Addressing an undergraduate audience, the Russos study not just wealthy plantation owners and government officials but all the people involved in planting an empire in the Chesapeake region—poor and middling planters, women, Native Americans, enslaved and free blacks, and non-English immigrants. No other book offers such a comprehensive brief history of the Maryland and Virginia colonies and their place within the emerging British Empire.
The English had long dreamed of colonizing America, especially after Sir Francis Drake brought home Spanish treasure and dramatic tales from his raids in the Caribbean. Ambitions of finding gold and planting a New World colony seemed within reach when in 1606 Thomas Smythe extended overseas trade with the launch of the Virginia Company. But from the beginning the American enterprise was a disaster. Within two years warfare with Indians and dissent among the settlers threatened to destroy Smythe's Jamestown just as it had Raleigh's Roanoke a generation earlier.
To rescue the doomed colonists and restore order, the company chose a new leader, Thomas Gates. Nine ships left Plymouth in the summer of 1609—the largest fleet England had ever assembled—and sailed into the teeth of a storm so violent that "it beat all light from Heaven." The inspiration for Shakespeare's The Tempest, the hurricane separated the flagship from the fleet, driving it onto reefs off the coast of Bermuda—a lucky shipwreck (all hands survived) which proved the turning point in the colony's fortune.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, more than 300,000 white people were shipped to America as slaves. Urchins were swept up from London’s streets to labor in the tobacco fields, where life expectancy was no more than two years. Brothels were raided to provide “breeders” for Virginia. Hopeful migrants were duped into signing as indentured servants, unaware they would become personal property who could be bought, sold, and even gambled away. Transported convicts were paraded for sale like livestock.
Drawing on letters crying for help, diaries, and court and government archives, Don Jordan and Michael Walsh demonstrate that the brutalities usually associated with black slavery alone were perpetrated on whites throughout British rule. The trade ended with American independence, but the British still tried to sell convicts in their former colonies, which prompted one of the most audacious plots in Anglo-American history.
This is a saga of exploration and cruelty spanning 170 years that has been submerged under the overwhelming memory of black slavery. White Cargo brings the brutal, uncomfortable story to the surface.
insights into the seventeenth-century history of the Hudson Valley and its
This book provides an in-depth introduction to the issues
involved in the expansion of European interests to the Hudson River Valley, the
cultural interaction that took place there, and the colonization of the region.
Written in accessible language by leading scholars, these essays incorporate the
latest historical insights as they explore the new world in which American
Indians and Europeans interacted, the settlement of the Dutch colony that ensued
from the exploration of the Hudson River, and the development of imperial and
other networks which came to incorporate the Hudson Valley.
well-conceived volume illuminates the various contexts of life in the
seventeenth-century Hudson Valley. Both laymen and specialists will gain new
insights from the twelve essays, which reveal everything from the European
background of tolerance and inter-imperial strife to the significance of wampum
and the role of a Native model of inter-group relations that shaped Iroquois
ties with the Dutch.” — Willem Klooster, author of Revolutions in the
Atlantic World: A Comparative History
“A perfect tribute to the
Hudson Valley’s unique history and how it changed forever in the decades
following Henry Hudson’s 1609 voyage! The essays in this rich collection capture
the complex, interconnected world experienced by those who lived in the Hudson
River Valley in the seventeenth century, a place at the crossroads of four
continents, an area contested by three emerging empires, a valley where Munsee,
Mahican, and Mohawk interacted with European cultures. Both professional
historians and those new to the field will be intrigued by the wide variety of
topics. This collection by an esteemed group of historians makes an outstanding
contribution to both New Netherland and Atlantic history.” — Dennis J. Maika,
New Netherland Institute