Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution

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Random House Publishing Group, 2016 - 464 стор.
A rising-star historian offers a significant new global perspective on the Revolutionary War with the story of the conflict as seen through the eyes of the outsiders of colonial society

Winner of the Journal of the American Revolution Book of the Year Award - Winner of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of New Jersey History Prize - Finalist for the George Washington Book Prize

Over the last decade, award-winning historian Kathleen DuVal has revitalized the study of early America's marginalized voices. Now, in Independence Lost, she recounts an untold story as rich and significant as that of the Founding Fathers: the history of the Revolutionary Era as experienced by slaves, American Indians, women, and British loyalists living on Florida's Gulf Coast.

While citizens of the thirteen rebelling colonies came to blows with the British Empire over tariffs and parliamentary representation, the situation on the rest of the continent was even more fraught. In the Gulf of Mexico, Spanish forces clashed with Britain's strained army to carve up the Gulf Coast, as both sides competed for allegiances with the powerful Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek nations who inhabited the region. Meanwhile, African American slaves had little control over their own lives, but some individuals found opportunities to expand their freedoms during the war.

Independence Lost reveals that individual motives counted as much as the ideals of liberty and freedom the Founders espoused: Independence had a personal as well as national meaning, and the choices made by people living outside the colonies were of critical importance to the war's outcome. DuVal introduces us to the Mobile slave Petit Jean, who organized militias to fight the British at sea; the Chickasaw diplomat Payamataha, who worked to keep his people out of war; New Orleans merchant Oliver Pollock and his wife, Margaret O'Brien Pollock, who risked their own wealth to organize funds and garner Spanish support for the American Revolution; the half-Scottish-Creek leader Alexander McGillivray, who fought to protect indigenous interests from European imperial encroachment; the Cajun refugee Amand Broussard, who spent a lifetime in conflict with the British; and Scottish loyalists James and Isabella Bruce, whose work on behalf of the British Empire placed them in grave danger. Their lives illuminate the fateful events that took place along the Gulf of Mexico and, in the process, changed the history of North America itself.

Adding new depth and moral complexity, Kathleen DuVal reinvigorates the story of the American Revolution. Independence Lost is a bold work that fully establishes the reputation of a historian who is already regarded as one of her generation's best.

Praise for Independence Lost

"[An] astonishing story . . . Independence Lost will knock your socks off. To read [this book] is to see that the task of recovering the entire American Revolution has barely begun."--The New York Times Book Review

"A richly documented and compelling account."--The Wall Street Journal

"A remarkable, necessary--and entirely new--book about the American Revolution."--The Daily Beast

"A completely new take on the American Revolution, rife with pathos, double-dealing, and intrigue."--Elizabeth A. Fenn, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Encounters at the Heart of the World


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LibraryThing Review

Рецензія користувача  - Shrike58 - LibraryThing

When you cut to the chase this book is mostly a history of the American Revolution in the South as an imperial war between Britain & Spain and how local communities decided what sides they were on; in ... Читати огляд повністю

Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution

Рецензія користувача  - Publishers Weekly

Focusing on the frontier struggle in the Gulf of Mexico region, DuVal (The Native Ground), a historian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, illustrates how multipronged the American ... Читати огляд повністю


CHAPTER ONE The Gulf Coast
CHAPTER ºrwO Payamataha
CHAPTER Four Oliver Pºllock and Margaret OBrien
CHAPTER SEVEN Amand Broussard
CHAPTEREIGHT Independence in Creek
CHAPTERNINE To Fight for Britain? 10
CHAPTER TEN To Fight for Spain?
CHAPTER TWELVE A Wartime Borderland
CHAPTER THIRTEEN The Spanish Siege of Pºnsacola
CHAPTER FourTEEN Nations Colonies
CHAPTER FIFTEEN Independence Gained or Lost?
Republican Empires

CHAPTERELEVEN Inspiring Loyalty

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Про автора (2016)

Chapter One

The Gulf Coast

When the letter from Congress arrived, West Florida Governor Peter Chester was building himself a new house. Most of Pensacola''s buildings had log frames with sides of bark and plaster and thatched roofs made of palmetto leaves, but the governor''s would be made of brick with a balcony and a shingle roof. It was a sign of British permanence in their relatively new colony, and West Florida''s leaders hoped that more development would follow.

From their town, Pensacolans could look out onto a place of striking colors--white sand beaches, water in hues from icy blue to gelatinous green to deep indigo, dark green sea grasses, and tall yellow sea oats. To European explorers in previous centuries, this coast had been a confusing array of inlets and barrier islands, but eighteenth-century merchant sailors knew the region well and skillfully navigated its shoreline to enter its harbors and approach its port towns. Pensacola Bay was a large deepwater port, its narrow entryway well protected by the Santa Rosa barrier island. Nearby Mobile Bay was much shallower, so ships had to unload at Dauphin Island onto smaller sailboats and canoes, which then traveled the forty miles across the bay to the town of Mobile. In the same manner, large ships approaching New Orleans stopped at Balize at the mouth of the river to unload onto smaller vessels to reach the coast''s largest and busiest port.

New Orleans was more physically impressive than either Mobile or Pensacola, and its buildings tended to be of higher quality than those found in most colonial towns. That city''s several thousand residents lived in the low-lying flatland now called the French Quarter, protected by levees from the unpredictable Mississippi River. The better buildings were built of plastered and whitewashed wood planks with glass windows and stone foundations and chimneys, but most houses were single-story log-framed buildings that sat directly on the sand, with windows covered in linen cloths. As in Mobile and Pensacola, houses were hot in summer and cold and drafty in winter. Slaves, as usual, had the worst accommodations. Hurricanes and smaller storms caused frequent damage, and buildings had to be perpetually repaired and rebuilt. As the capital of the colony of Louisiana, the city had a cathedral, an Ursuline convent, government buildings, several schools, and many taverns. In and around the central market of New Orleans, vendors sold goods to the city''s white, black, Indian, and mixed-ancestry customers. Pigs, chickens, goats, and vegetable gardens were ubiquitous, and on the edge of town, herds of cattle roamed.

Trade had made the region cosmopolitan. Most of the people and goods on the Gulf Coast came from somewhere else: Indian towns to the north, other colonies, Europe, or Africa. The fur trade of the lower Mississippi Valley was the lifeblood of Gulf Coast commerce. Indian and European traders carried skins, furs, and tallow down the region''s rivers in huge canoes and flatboats to the port cities. At the ports, dockworkers loaded the products of the hunt onto ships, as well as timber cut from nearby forests, barrels of tar processed from pine trees, and baked hardtack and other provisions for sailors. Enslaved men and women on plantations along the lower Mississippi and its tributaries grew and processed tobacco, rice, and indigo, which were sailed from Gulf ports to markets around the Atlantic. In return, merchant ships arrived with cotton, linen, taffeta, silk, wool, rum, candles, soap, hats, wine, kettles, knives, needles, flour, sugar, fruits, spices, muskets, gunpowder, ammunition, and other products from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. They also brought human beings to sell in the slave markets of the major Gulf ports.

Despite their involvement in global networks of trade, the people in and around the Gulf Coast still lived in the early modern world of small communities where kin relationships dominated and information traveled only as quickly as a horse, canoe, or sailing ship dependent on winds and currents could carry it. Parents understood that if they had several children, it was unlikely that all would survive the treacherous years of early childhood.

The colonial posts of the Gulf Coast had changed hands several times, most recently in the Seven Years'' War. Because that war began in the Ohio Valley, where British settlers pushing west from Virginia and Pennsylvania clashed with the Indians and their French allies, British colonists called it the French and Indian War. Soon, however, the war spread to Europe and beyond. Spain joined the war late, and its help was not enough to prevent France from surrendering.

The Treaty of Paris of 1763 dramatically reshuffled colonial possessions. France surrendered all of Canada to Britain as well as the half of Louisiana that lay east of the Mississippi River, including Mobile and the smaller inland posts of Baton Rouge and Natchez. The British renamed this region "West Florida." Spain was eager to regain Havana, seized by Britain during the war, so Spain traded Britain the Florida peninsula, which the British called "East Florida." To compensate Spain for being dragged into the losing venture, France gave Spain the western half of Louisiana, including New Orleans. Thus France lost all of its colonies on the North American continent.

Because of European protectionism, including Britain''s Navigation Acts, direct trade between now-British West Florida and now-Spanish Louisiana--which had all been French Louisiana before the treaty--was suddenly illegal. Commerce thrived anyway. British traders had better and cheaper goods, so they rowed canoes (or "floating warehouses," as Louisianans called them) into the middle of the Mississippi River or its lakes to sell British-manufactured goods to consumers in the New Orleans market. Louisianans paid with rum and wheat as well as gold and silver dug from the mines of Spanish Mexico, precious metals that the British empire sorely lacked.

The vast interior of both sides of the Mississippi Valley was Indian country. A few small European settlements and trading posts--Natchez, Baton Rouge, Manchac, Natchitoches, Arkansas Post, St. Louis--hugged the Mississippi River and its large tributaries, but, despite claims on paper, Europeans controlled fewer than one hundred square miles of territory in Louisiana and West Florida. In contrast, Indians of various nations held some three hundred thousand square miles. Until the 1760s, the Indian population of the region outnumbered the colonial population (counting Europeans, slaves, and free people of color) by a factor of ten, even after Indians had suffered for almost three centuries from diseases the newcomers had brought. As the British in West Florida quickly learned, they were "surrounded with ten thousand Indians capable of bearing arms." When the Revolution began, that was still approximately the ratio west of the Mississippi River, but the massive immigration of British settlers and their slaves since 1763 was bringing the colonial population of British West Florida closer to the size of its neighboring Native population.

Indians themselves were not one people, any more than the colonial newcomers were. They spoke dozens of languages, had diverse economic and political systems, and were every bit as motivated by commerce as the Europeans. Three large groups dominated the Gulf South: the Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws. The Creeks, a fairly new confederacy of smaller groups, lived in the river valleys of the region that would become the states of Alabama and Georgia. The Choctaws controlled the territory to the west, north of Mobile. And farther north, the Chickasaws lived in what is now Mississippi and Tennessee. Like colonists, southeastern Indians built their towns on waterways and trading paths. Women farmed corn, beans, squash, and tobacco, and men tended cattle and pigs for the town''s consumption and for sale. They built private homes, public gathering spaces, and workshops for processing deerskins or pottery with vertical wood or cane frames interlaced with horizontal small branches, covered with mud, and thatched with palmettos.

Even as commerce abounded in the Gulf Coast, only a careless observer would fail to see evidence of recent wars and fear of war. Each colonial town was nestled near a fort, into which the townspeople could flee when trouble approached. To the north, Native towns were surrounded by wooden stockades. From the south, trading ships protected themselves with cannons and were outfitted with sails designed for quick maneuvering into or out of a conflict on the seas. Watchtowers with cannons protected forts and stockades. Travelers carried muskets, bows, hatchets, and knives and knew how to use them.

In the early 1770s, trade was more common than warfare on the Gulf Coast, but the balance was about to shift again. Soon the new house that the governor of West Florida was building would become a barracks for British troops. Warriors on the march and refugees in flight would soon tread ancient trading paths. In a few years, men would lie dying outside and inside Mobile and Pensacola. More than battle wounds, disease spread by traveling armies and famine caused by interrupted commerce would claim the lives of Natives and colonists on all sides.

The aftermath of the Seven Years'' War shifted relationships between European empires and people living in North America. Indians and colonists alike learned that protecting autonomy and economic opportunity might necessitate violence to rein in the new (or newly confident) empire. Indians throughout the eastern half of North America would insist that Britain''s victory did not give it control over Indian lands nor make Indians into B

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