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In this fascinating tale of England's first two New World colonies, Bernhard links Virginia and Bermuda in a series of unintended consequences resulting from natural disaster, ignorance of native cultures, diplomatic intrigue, and the fateful arrival of the first Africans in both colonies. --from publisher description
For readers of Nathaniel Philbrick's Mayflower, a groundbreaking history that makes the case for replacing Plymouth Rock with Jamestown as America's founding myth. We all know the great American origin story. It begins with an exodus. Fleeing religious persecution, the hardworking, pious Pilgrims thrived in the wilds of New England, where they built their fabled city on a hill. Legend goes that the colony in Jamestown was a false start, offering a cautionary tale. Lazy louts hunted gold till they starved, and the shiftless settlers had to be rescued by English food and the hard discipline of martial law. Neither story is true. In Marooned, Joseph Kelly reexamines the history of Jamestown and comes to a radically different and decidedly American interpretation of these first Virginians. In this gripping account of shipwrecks and mutiny in America's earliest settlements, Kelly argues that the colonists at Jamestown were literally and figuratively marooned, cut loose from civilization, and cast into the wilderness. The British caste system meant little on this frontier: those who wanted to survive had to learn to work and fight and intermingle with the nearby native populations. Ten years before the Mayflower Compact and decades before Hobbes and Locke, they invented the idea of government by the people. 150 years before Jefferson, they discovered the truth that all men were equal. The epic origin of America was not an exodus and a fledgling theocracy. It is a tale of shipwrecked castaways of all classes marooned in the wilderness fending for themselves in any way they could--a story that illuminates who we are today.
This comparative study looks at the laws concerning the murder of slaves by their masters and at how these laws were implemented. Andrew T. Fede cites a wide range of cases—across time, place, and circumstance—to illuminate legal, judicial, and other complexities surrounding this regrettably common occurrence. These laws had evolved to limit in different ways the masters’ rights to severely punish and even kill their slaves while protecting valuable enslaved people, understood as “property,” from wanton destruction by hirers, overseers, and poor whites who did not own slaves. To explore the conflicts of masters’ rights with state and colonial laws, Fede shows how slave homicide law evolved and was enforced not only in the United States but also in ancient Roman, Visigoth, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and British jurisdictions. His comparative approach reveals how legal reforms regarding slave homicide in antebellum times, like past reforms dictated by emperors and kings, were the products of changing perceptions of the interests of the public; of the individual slave owners; and of the slave owners’ families, heirs, and creditors. Although some slave murders came to be regarded as capital offenses, the laws con­sistently reinforced the second-class status of slaves. This influence, Fede concludes, flowed over into the application of law to free African Americans and would even make itself felt in the legal attitudes that underlay the Jim Crow era.
This study provides a broad examination of the overlapping conflicts and power struggles among the indigenous population, colonists, and other European peoples that shaped the American colonies. The author analyzes the origins, development, and outcomes of such conflicts and their various cultural and political impacts.
In 2013 archaeologists in Jamestown, Virginia discovered the grave of a fourteen-year-old girl who had died there 400 years ago. Her bones bore the unmistakable marks of cannibalism: proof that in the terrible "Starving Time" in the winter of 1609-1610, some of the desperate colonists who ate rats, mice, shoe leather to stay alive, also ate human flesh. Their story is told in this extraordinary historical novel. Based on the actual history of Virginia, this is a tale of savagery and squalor, love and betrayal, of unquenchable hope and gritty courage. Many of the characters are known from colonial records: John Smith and Pocahontas (the site of her famous "rescue" of Smith has recently been discovered); the shrewd Powhatan, father of Pocahontas and ruler of 15,000 Indians; Temperance and George Yardley, a couple separated by a shipwreck and reunited with unforeseen results; and others who made the perilous voyage to Virginia. There a determined company of settlers struggled to survive in an unfamiliar land. Surrounded by natives who did not welcome them, they battled grim adversity and human frailty, deceit, and treachery to plant the first successful English colony in the New World. By the time the Mayflower landed at Plymouth in 1620, English ships had already carried more than three thousand people to Jamestown, Virginia--and nearly two thousand of them had died there. Their story is the story of America's beginnings. Virginia Bernhard is Professor Emerita of History at the University of St. Thomas. She is the author of A TALE OF TWO COLONIES: WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN VIRGINIA AND BERMUDA? (2011) and other works on early American history. She and her husband live in Houston, Texas. A complex tale of courage, treachery, cultural conflict, administrative bungling and desperate choices. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY Colonial Jamestown springs from the pages. An absorbing telling that blends fact and fiction. NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Combines Bernhard's expertise as an American history professor with a vivid, sure prose style to produce a rich tale of suffering and triumph in 1600s America. KIRKUS REVIEWS

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