In the opening of his recent volume, Nature and History in the Potomac Country, historian James D. Rice informs his readers that the idea for the book began with what he perceived as a ‘hole in the map’ (p. 1).
With this book on Ireland, the Chesapeake, and the beginnings of the Anglo-Atlantic world, Horning wades into two long-running debates about the nature of early English colonialism. The first is the question of where Ireland fits into the expansion projects set in motion in the 16th century.
Across the 17th century, more than 350,000 English people went to America. Yet many, if not most of those who went brought with them a keen sense of their bringing ‘Englishness’ with them, rather than transforming into ‘Americans’. Emigrants travelled to the New World for a variety of reasons.
Imagine the surprise of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft when, on a humid July day in 1846, he picked up a copy of the Albany Argus, a New York state Democratic Party newspaper, only to learn that he had been murdered. The paper carried an obituary which reported that Schoolcraft had been shot in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan by a ‘half breed’ named John Tanner.
It is difficult to believe now that generations of scholars in the 20th century argued with insistence that the indigenous cultures of the Americas were destroyed by European imperial expansion.