The original peoples of North America collectively have been called Native Americans, American Indians, or Amerindians. These terms are European American inventions that obscure the diversity of peoples indigenous to the Americas.
John Smith was a central figure in establishing Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English colony in North America. His greatest influence, however, was as a writer of promotional literature about colonization and a wildly adventurous, albeit bewildering, autobiography.
Daughter of Wahunsonacook, headman of the Algonquian-speaking Powhatan Confederacy of Tidewater Virginia; mythologized in American literature as an Indian princess and epitomized in Vachel Lindsay’s poem Our Mother Pocahontas as “the mother of us all.”
One of America’s earliest cultural pluralists and advocates of the separation of church and state, Roger Williams founded Providence, Rhode Island, as a safe haven for early European settlers who had suffered religious persecution. He also believed in forging good relations with the Native peoples of New England.
Governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony, b. Edwardstone, near Groton, Suffolk, England. Of a landowning family, he studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, came into a family fortune, and became a government administrator with strong Puritan leanings.
Governor of Plymouth Colony, b. Austerfield, Yorkshire, England. As a young man he joined the separatist congregation at Scrooby and in 1609 emigrated with others to Holland, where, at Leiden, he acquired a wide acquaintance with theological literature.
Begun as colonial muscling for control of the Ohio River valley, the French and Indian War (1754-1760) ignited the worldwide conflict between the British and French known as the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) and ended France’s North American empire.
In the summer of 1692 all of eastern Massachusetts trembled in fear as neighbors and kinfolk accused one another of practicing witchcraft. Hundreds were jailed, and in the first round of the ensuing trials from June 2 to September 21, 1692—the most extensive mass trials of suspected criminals in the colonial period of American history—all of the defendants were convicted.
Economic system of the major trading nations during the 16th, 17th, and 18th cent., based on the premise that national wealth and power were best served by increasing exports and collecting precious metals in return.
Slavery has been found among many groups of low material culture, as in the Malay Peninsula and among some Native Americans; it also has occurred in more highly developed societies, such as the southern United States.
Indentured servitude was an arrangement sealed by a contract between emigrants and merchants for temporary labor in exchange for the cost of passage and maintenance to British settlements in the Americas.
English chartered company that established the Massachusetts Bay colony in New England. Organized (1628) as the New England Company, it took over the Dorchester Company, which had established a short-lived fishing colony on Cape Ann in 1623.