Creatures of Empire: How Domestic Animals Transformed Early America

Paperback | January 15, 2006

byVirginia DeJohn Anderson

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When we think of the key figures of early American history, we think of explorers, or pilgrims, or Native Americans--not cattle, or goats, or swine. But as Virginia DeJohn Anderson reveals in this brilliantly original account of colonists in New England and the Chesapeake region, livestockplayed a vitally important role in the settling of the New World. Livestock, Anderson writes, were a central factor in the cultural clash between colonists and Indians as well as a driving force in the expansion west. By bringing livestock across the Atlantic, colonists believed that they provided the means to realize America's potential. It was thoughtthat if the Native Americans learned to keep livestock as well, they would be that much closer to assimilating the colonists' culture, especially their Christian faith. But colonists failed to anticipate the problems that would arise as Indians began encountering free-ranging livestock at almostevery turn, often trespassing in their cornfields. Moreover, when growing populations and an expansive style of husbandry required far more space than they had expected, colonists could see no alternative but to appropriate Indian land. This created tensions that reached the boiling point with KingPhilip's War and Bacon's Rebellion. And it established a pattern that would repeat time and again over the next two centuries. A stunning account that presents our history in a truly new light, Creatures of Empire restores a vital element of our past, illuminating one of the great forces of colonization and the expansion westward.

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When we think of the key figures of early American history, we think of explorers, or pilgrims, or Native Americans--not cattle, or goats, or swine. But as Virginia DeJohn Anderson reveals in this brilliantly original account of colonists in New England and the Chesapeake region, livestockplayed a vitally important role in the settling...

Virginia DeJohn Anderson is Associate Professor of History at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is the author of New England's Generation and co-author (with David Goldfield, et al.) of The American Journey: A History of the United States.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 6.1 × 9.09 × 1.1 inPublished:January 15, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195304462

ISBN - 13:9780195304466

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"Creatures of Empire offers a compelling account of the impact of domesticated livestock on native/settler relations in colonial New England and the Chesapeake during the seventeenth century. Anderson addresses a broad range of cultural issues that place human relationships with animals, andnot just the animals themselves, at the core of her story. Creatures of Empire is highly recommended to anyone interested in colonial or environmental history. Anderson has produced a very readable, elucidating, and incisive piece of work."--H-Environment, Philip Jacques Dreyfus, San FranciscoState University