In October 1950, the newly established People’s Republic of China entered the Korean War on the North Korean side against the United States and other United Nations troops. Many Chinese American citizens expressed deep concern at this turn of events; less than a decade earlier, the US government had...
In 1984 Jimmy Carter reflected on growing up in the...
Millions of years ago, continental drift carried the Old World and New Worlds apart, splitting North and South America from Eurasia and Africa. That separation lasted so long that it fostered divergent evolution. The artificial re-establishment of connections through the commingling of Old and New World plants, animals, and bacteria, commonly known as the Columbian Exchange, is one of the more spectacular and significant ecological events of the past millennium.
New Netherland, like other early American colonies, was a state-sponsored venture, the aim of which was to realize a profit. Fifteen years after Hudson’s arrival, New Netherland, the newest commercial outpost of the Dutch empire, consisted of a small group of traders living at the edge of a vast and rich wilderness. By 1645, the island was populated by some four or five hundred men of different sects and nationalities speaking eighteen different languages.
Native Americans discovered Europe at the same time Europeans discovered America. Just as Europeans struggled to fit evidence of “new worlds” into their frames of understanding, so too did Native North Americans in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.
The greatest European contribution to Native American society was arguably the horse. Its effects, especially on western tribes, were truly revolutionary. It altered their material lives, rearranged their relations with their environments, and fed a burst of power and affluence. Ironically, over time horses contributed also to American Indians’ mounting difficulties as the tide of white settlement rolled over them.
On April 10, 1606, James I of England granted a charter to the Virginia Company. The aims of the Jamestown expedition were to establish England’s claim to North America, search for gold or silver mines, find a passage to the Pacific Ocean (the “Other Sea”), harvest the natural resources of the land, and trade with Indian peoples.
The story of European colonialism in the Americas and its victimization of Africans and Indians follows a central paradigm in most textbooks. Indians are described in terms of their succumbing in large numbers to disease, with the survivors facing dispossession of their land. This paradigm—a basic one in the history of colonialism—omits a crucial aspect of the story: the indigenous peoples of the Americas were enslaved in large numbers. This exclusion distorts not only what happened to American Indians under colonialism, but also points to the need for a reassessment of the foundation and nature of European overseas expansion.
Imagine saying goodbye to family, friends, and familiar places to take a dangerous voyage across thousands of miles of ocean in a small wooden ship. Your destination: a strange and often hostile land. Yet, in the 1600s, thousands of Dutch, English, French, and Spanish men and women did just that because of poverty, religious persecution, or a hope that a better life lay across the Atlantic Ocean.