At the Edge of Empire: The Backcountry in British North America

At the Edge of Empire: The Backcountry in British North America

by Eric Hinderaker, Peter C. Mancall

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During the course of the seventeenth century, Europeans and Native Americans came together on the western edge of England's North American empire for a variety of purposes, from trading goods and information to making alliances and war. This blurred and constantly shifting frontier region, known as the backcountry, existed just beyond England's imperial reach on the North American mainland. It became an area of opportunity, intrigue, and conflict for the diverse peoples who lived there.

In At the Edge of Empire, Eric Hinderaker and Peter C. Mancall describe the nature of the complex interactions among these interests, examining colorful and sometimes gripping instances of familiarity and uneasiness, acceptance and animosity, and cooperation and conflict, from individual encounters to such vast undertakings as the Seven Years' War. Over time, the European settlers who established farms and trading posts in the backcountry displaced the region's Native inhabitants. Warfare and disease each took a horrifying toll across Indian country, making it easier for immigrants to establish themselves on lands once peopled only by Native Americans. Eventually, these pioneers established economically, culturally, and politically self-sufficient communities that increasingly resented London's claims of sovereignty. As Hinderaker and Mancall show, these resentments helped to shape the ideals that guided the colonists during the American Revolution.

The first book in a new Johns Hopkins series, Regional Perspectives on Early America, At the Edge of Empire explores one of British America's most intriguing regions, both widening and deepening our understanding of North America's colonial experience.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801871375
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 05/09/2003
Series: Regional Perspectives on Early America
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 776,017
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.48(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Eric Hinderaker is an associate professor of history at the University of Utah and author of Elusive Empires: Constructing Colonialism in the Ohio Valley, 1673-1800. Peter C. Mancall is a professor of history at the University of Southern California and author of Deadly Medicine: Indians and Alcohol in Early America and Valley of Opportunity: Economic Culture along the Upper Susquehanna, 1700-1800.

Table of Contents



PROLOGUE Sir Humphrey Gilbert's Mission to the West

ONE Mainland Encounters

TWO Conflicts and Captives

THREE New Horizons

FOUR Clash of Empires

FIVE Backcountry Revolution

SIX Daniel Boone's America

EPILOGUE At the Edge of Empire


Essay on Sources


What People are Saying About This

Fred Anderson

This is undoubtedly the best brief synthesis available on the interactions between Native and European groups on the colonial frontier. Scholars will admire its sophistication, scope, and conceptual strength; students will appreciate its brevity and readability. A compelling story, engagingly told.

Fred Anderson, University of Colorado, Boulder

Stephen Aron

Eric Hinderaker and Peter Mancall follow the western periphery of the British empire across two hundred years of shifting terrain. Their collaboration has produced a superb new synthesis that brings clarity to the chaotic history of the colonial backcountry, mapping the collisions and collusions that occurred 'at the edge of empire,' and making clear that the evolution of the backcountry decisively shaped the legacy of colonialism in North America.

Stephen Aron, UCLA, Director of the Autry Institute for the Study of the American West

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