Cover image for The colonial era : an eyewitness history
The colonial era : an eyewitness history
Jaycox, Faith.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Facts on File, [2002]

Physical Description:
xvi, 576 pages : illustrations, maps ; 29 cm.
General Note:
Series from jacket.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E188 .J39 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Reference material
E188 .J39 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize
E188 .J39 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E188 .J39 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E188 .J39 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E188 .J39 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Spanning more than 200 years - from the struggles of the earliest days of colonization in the sixteenth century to the eve of the American Revolution - the Colonial era is the longest recognized period in American history. The Colonial Era tells the compelling story of early America and its unprecedented accomplishments. Detailed narrative text - enhanced with chronologies, excerpts from primary source documents, and biographies of those who lived through the period - examines the quest for colonial dominance among the European powers and their resistance to the claims of the Native Americans who inhabited the continent. The book also looks at the differences that existed among the European colonies and within the settlements themselves. Political, social, and cultural developments are highlighted throughout, as are the experiences of Africans who were involuntarily brought to the colonies to serve as slaves. What emerges is a fascinating narrative of the growing conflict between one's history and homeland and the present and future in an unfamiliar territory.

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Booklist Review

These entries in the Eyewitness History series combine firsthand accounts (letters, diary entries, speeches, newspaper articles) with official documents, brief biographies, maps, and more.



To the explorer or colonist of the 16th and 17th centuries, North America was a vast and uncharted land. The continent appeared to European eyes--blind to the claims of the Native Americans who, to varying degrees of density, inhabited the entire continent--as an open field to claim, to exploit, and to settle. Once permanent settlements were established, early colonists lived in a culturally diverse society where interaction with different groups was key to survival and growth. The allure of a fresh start, the promise of freedom, and the prospect of riches drew many Europeans to the North American colonies. The investors and colonists involved in early ventures to settle North America were as varied as their motives and frequently conflicting goals. Nearly all of them, however, greatly underestimated how much European support--and human struggle--would be required before colonies could flourish in the New World. The Colonial Era, a volume in Facts On File's acclaimed Eyewitness History series, provides hundreds of firsthand accounts of the period--from diary entries, letters, speeches, and newspaper articles--that illustrate how historical events appeared to those who lived through them. Among the eyewitness testimonies included are those of John Smith, John Winthrop, Anne Bradstreet, William Penn, Cotton Mather, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Phillis Wheatley, Thomas Paine, Abigail Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. In addition to the firsthand accounts, each chapter provides an introductory essay and a chronology of events. The book also includes such critical documents as the first English colonial charter, the Mayflower Compact, the Treaty of Paris, the Declaration of Independence, as well as capsule biographies of more than 235 key figures; a bibliography; an index; eight maps; a glossary; and more than 80 black-and-white photographs. Eyewitness Testimony on the Colonial Era: There were never Englishmen left in a foreign Country in such misery as wee were in this new discovered Virginia. Wee watched every three nights, lying on the bare cold ground, whatever weather soever came... --George Piercy describes Jamestown, 1607--08 ...I rested my musket against my cheek and aimed directly at one of the three chiefs. With the same shot, two fell to the ground...the Iroquois were greatly astonished that two men had been killed so quickly...they lost courage, and took to flight...fleeing into the woods. --Samuel de Champlain, from a letter, describes the battle at Lake Champlain, 1609 Democracy, I do not conceive, that ever God did ordain as a fit government either for Church or commonwealth. If the people be governors, who shall be governed? --Reverend John Cotton, 1636 Poor people both men and Women, get near three times more Wages for their Labour in this country, than they can earn in England or Wales. --Gabriel Thomas, an English immigrant, 1698 We, the Subscribers, do strictly engage, that we will totally abstain from the use of that article [tea] not only in our respective Families, but that we will absolutely refuse it, if it should be offered to us upon any Occasion whatsoever. --agreement of 300 women, from the Boston Evening Post, February 1770 ...I do hereby further declare all indented [sic] servants, Negroes, or, that are able and willing to bear arms, they joining His Majesty's troops, as soon as may be, for the more speedily reducing the Colony to a proper sense of their duty, to His Majesty's crown and dignity. --Virginia governor Lord Dunmore, November 7, 1775 When! before the present epocha, had three millions of people full power and a fair opportunity to form and establish the wisest and happiest government that human wisdom can contrive? --John Adams, 1776 Excerpted from The Colonial Era by Faith Jaycox All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Author's Notep. ix
Prefacep. xi
Introduction: The Age of Explorationp. xiii
Part I Prelude to Colonial North America
1. European Settlement of North America: to 1607p. 3
Part II Foundings: 1607 to 1670
2. New Spain, New France, and Acadia: 1607-1670p. 39
3. The Founding of Virginia, New England, and New Netherland: 1607-1630p. 73
4. Settlement Spreads in New England, the Chesapeake, and the Middle Atlantic: 1630-1642p. 110
5. The English Colonies Meet in the Middle: 1642-1670p. 149
Part III A Diversity of Interests: 1670 to 1750
6. New France Expands and the Spanish Colonies Struggle: 1670-1750p. 193
7. Expansion, Misrule, and Rebellion in the English Colonies: 1670-1691p. 228
8. The English Colonies Enter the 18th Century: 1690-1730p. 258
9. The English Colonies at the Middle of the 18th Century: 1730-1750p. 300
Part IV A New Nation Takes Shape: 1750 to 1776
10. The Realignment of North America: 1750-1776p. 337
11. The Road to Revolution in the English Colonies: 1750-1776p. 379
Appendix A Documentsp. 435
Appendix B Biographies of Major Personalitiesp. 477
Appendix C Mapsp. 513
Appendix D Glossaryp. 522
Notesp. 535
Bibliographyp. 537
Indexp. 557