Brothers Among Nations: The Pursuit of Intercultural Alliances in Early America, 1580-1660

Hardcover | August 1, 2008

byCynthia Van Zandt

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In the past generation, scholars' understanding of relations among the peoples in the eastern portion of the North American mainland during the colonial era has been transformed by studies that have put the Native Americans' experiences at the center of the story instead of the periphery.Cynthia Van Zandt's work represents an effort to show how central Natives were to the European colonial project by demonstrating that the formation of alliances was the only way for the nascent colonies to succeed. Van Zandt argues that the growing number of transplanted Africans in the coloniesdemanded that Europeans effectively create alliances with them, though they were unequal alliances between free and enslaved peoples. Her study is unusual in that it brings together Indian and colonial peoples from a range of different Indian and European nations, focusing not just on one colony buton New England, Virginia, and the middle colonies together.

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In the past generation, scholars' understanding of relations among the peoples in the eastern portion of the North American mainland during the colonial era has been transformed by studies that have put the Native Americans' experiences at the center of the story instead of the periphery.Cynthia Van Zandt's work represents an effort to...

Cynthia J. Van Zandt is an Associate Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire, USA.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.98 inPublished:August 1, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195181247

ISBN - 13:9780195181241

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Table of Contents

PrologueIntroduction1. Mapping the Peoples of the World: Geography, Chorography, and Intercultural Alliances2. Laying the Groundwork for Alliances: Language, Maps, and Intercultural Suspicion3. "You Called Him Father:" Fictive Kinship and Tributary Alliances in Tsennacomacah/Virginia4. Alliance-Making and the Struggle for the Soul of Plymouth Colony5. Captain Claiborne's Alliance6. Alliances of Necessity: Fictive Kinship and Manhattan's Diaspora African Community7. Nations Intertwined: Alliances and the Susquehannocks' Geography of North AmericaEpilogue: Captain Claiborne's Lost IsleNotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"This highly original work shows us colonial America as we have rarely seen it before. Where other historians have found conflict among European, African, and Indian inhabitants, Cynthia Van Zandt reveals cooperation, accommodation, and alliance. Along the way, she introduces us to a cast of characters almost wholly unfamiliar to historians and conveys with admirable clarity the ethnic, religious, and cultural heterogeneity of these new colonial societies. Brothers among Nations furnishes a major new interpretation of the first decades of European settlement in North America, one sure to command a wide readership."--Alison Games, Georgetown University "In clear, accessible prose, Cynthia Van Zandt reveals a lost world, a world in which far-flung alliances gave underlying unity to seemingly disconnected local events. No one who reads Brothers among Nationswill ever again see the interconnected histories of Virginia, New England, and New Netherland in quite the same way."--Daniel K. Richter, McNeil Center for Early American Studies, University of Pennsylvania "Cynthia Van Zandt vividly brings to life the neglected careers of intercultural brokers. These newcomers, reaching out to Native America, forging alliances and even placing themselves under Indian protection, ensured the survival of the infant settlements.--Allan Greer, author of Mohawk Saint: Catherine Tekakwitha and the Jesuits "By focusing on kinship--rhetorical as well as real--and the fluidity of boundaries, Cynthia Van Zandt has expanded our understanding of an understudied and frequently misunderstood period."--Brendan McConville, Boston University "Cynthia Van Zandt's thought-provoking study will openthe eyes of those accustomed to reading about narrow corners of early America. Her revelation of the galaxy of intercultural alliances forged by Native Americans, English, Dutch, Swedes, and Africans illuminates how the early colonial world, with its unstable categories and shifting power relationships, was held together."--Joyce D. Goodfriend, University of Denver