The Shipwreck That Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America

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A freshly researched account of the dramatic rescue of the Jamestown

settlers

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.

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About the author

Lorri Glover is the author of two books on the early South, including Southern Sons: Becoming Men in the New Nation. She is a professor of early American history at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Daniel Blake Smith is the author of An American Betrayal, The Shipwreck That Saved Jamestown, Inside the Great House: Planter Family Life in Eighteenth Century Chesapeake Society, and many articles on early American history. Formerly a professor of colonial American history at the University of Kentucky, Smith now lives in St. Louis where he works as a screenwriter and filmmaker.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Henry Holt and Company
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Published on
Aug 5, 2008
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781429930963
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / Colonial Period (1600-1775)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In May 1788, the roads into Richmond overflowed with horses and stagecoaches. From every county, specially elected representatives made their way to the capital city for the Virginia Ratification Convention. Together, these delegates—zealous advocates selected by Virginia’s deadlocked citizens—would decide to accept or reject the highly controversial United States Constitution, thus determining the fate of the American Republic. The rest of the country kept an anxious vigil, keenly aware that without the endorsement of Virginia—its largest and most populous state—the Constitution was doomed.

In The Fate of the Revolution, Lorri Glover explains why Virginia’s wrangling over ratification led to such heated political debate. Beginning in 1787, when they first learned about the radical new government design, Virginians had argued about the proposed Constitution’s meaning and merits. The convention delegates, who numbered among the most respected and experienced patriots in Revolutionary America, were roughly split in their opinions. Patrick Henry, for example, the greatest orator of the age, opposed James Madison, the intellectual force behind the Constitution. The two sides were so evenly matched that in the last days of the convention, the savviest political observers still could not confidently predict the outcome.

Mining an incredible wealth of sources, including letters, pamphlets, newspaper articles, and transcripts, Glover brings these remarkable political discussions to life. She raises the provocative, momentous constitutional questions that consumed Virginians, echoed across American history, and still resonate today. This engaging book harnesses the uncertainty and excitement of the Constitutional debates to show readers the clear departure the Constitution marked, the powerful reasons people had to view it warily, and the persuasive claims that Madison and his allies finally made with success.

From the author of 1491—the best-selling study of the pre-Columbian Americas—a deeply engaging new history of the most momentous biological event since the death of the dinosaurs.

More than 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. Isolated from each other, the two halves of the world developed radically different suites of plants and animals. When Christopher Columbus set foot in the Americas, he ended that separation at a stroke. Driven by the economic goal of establishing trade with China, he accidentally set off an ecological convulsion as European vessels carried thousands of species to new homes across the oceans.

The Columbian Exchange, as researchers call it, is the reason there are tomatoes in Italy, oranges in Florida, chocolates in Switzerland, and chili peppers in Thailand. More important, creatures the colonists knew nothing about hitched along for the ride. Earthworms, mosquitoes, and cockroaches; honeybees, dandelions, and African grasses; bacteria, fungi, and viruses; rats of every description—all of them rushed like eager tourists into lands that had never seen their like before, changing lives and landscapes across the planet.

Eight decades after Columbus, a Spaniard named Legazpi succeeded where Columbus had failed. He sailed west to establish continual trade with China, then the richest, most powerful country in the world. In Manila, a city Legazpi founded, silver from the Americas, mined by African and Indian slaves, was sold to Asians in return for silk for Europeans. It was the first time that goods and people from every corner of the globe were connected in a single worldwide exchange. Much as Columbus created a new world biologically, Legazpi and the Spanish empire he served created a new world economically.

As Charles C. Mann shows, the Columbian Exchange underlies much of subsequent human history. Presenting the latest research by ecologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians, Mann shows how the creation of this worldwide network of ecological and economic exchange fostered the rise of Europe, devastated imperial China, convulsed Africa, and for two centuries made Mexico City—where Asia, Europe, and the new frontier of the Americas dynamically interacted—the center of the world. In such encounters, he uncovers the germ of today’s fiercest political disputes, from immigration to trade policy to culture wars.

In 1493, Charles Mann gives us an eye-opening scientific interpretation of our past, unequaled in its authority and fascination.


From the Hardcover edition.
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