England's seventeenth-century colonial empire in North America and the Caribbean was created by migration. The quickening pace of this essential migration is captured in the London port register of 1635, the largest extant port register for any single year in the colonial period and unique in its record of migration to America and to the European continent. Alison Games analyzes the 7,500 people who traveled from London in that year, recreating individual careers, exploring colonial societies at a time of emerging viability, and delineating a world sustained and defined by migration.
The colonial travelers were bound for the major regions of English settlement--New England, the Chesapeake, the West Indies, and Bermuda--and included ministers, governors, soldiers, planters, merchants, and members of some major colonial dynasties--Winthrops, Saltonstalls, and Eliots. Many of these passengers were indentured servants. Games shows that however much they tried, the travelers from London were unable to recreate England in their overseas outposts. They dwelled in chaotic, precarious, and hybrid societies where New World exigencies overpowered the force of custom. Patterns of repeat and return migration cemented these inchoate colonial outposts into a larger Atlantic community. Together, the migrants' stories offer a new social history of the seventeenth century. For the origins and integration of the English Atlantic world, Games illustrates the primary importance of the first half of the seventeenth century.
This is an admirable work of scholarship--intensely researched, clearly written, and pointed in its interpretation. An exhaustive study of the London emigrant ship list of 1635, it traces the 5,000 people involved in western voyages whose names appear on that list--their origins, characteristics, and destinies, and the way they settled into the New World. It describes the motivation and circumstance behind their departures and the broad imperial awareness that was growing in early seventeenth-century England. Its breadth is impressive: it is a study in Atlantic history, one of the best in that growing field, and at the same time a real contribution to Anglo-American history in the early modern period.
[This book is] eminently readable, packed with the results of [Alison Games's] wide ranging-research as well as initiating new ideas for investigation. She also raises thought-provoking points about the youth of the majority of the migrants and the persistence of English culture, as well as offering a lucid explanation of the changing pattern of religious migration from 1630 to 1635. I unhesitatingly recommend this publication to scholars whose interest is migration in the early modern period.
Alison Games stakes her claim firmly in the emerging field of Atlantic history...Games's most remarkable achievement is to find abot 27 percent of the London migrants in the records of their American destinations. In combination with English local records before 1635, she is able to recreate life stories that sometimes extend well into the middle of the century.
Games's analysis makes clear both the great variety of settlements to which these English men and women voyaged and the striking similarities in the ways by which the migrants strove to adapt to new lives in unfamiliar and often threatening places Games does an outstanding job of describing why and how a large group of settlers moved from England to America, and what tribulations and triumphs awaited them across the Atlantic.
The organizational principle of this book allows the author to present a rich panorama of the opportunities and frustrations that an emigrant's choice of destination could entail Reflecting wide-ranging and meticulous scholarship, the book's greatest strength lies in the sometimes surprising detail the author has unearthed on the lives and experiences of some of the individuals who participated in this movement.
In the 1630s, the founding and peopling of plantations on the North American mainland and in the Caribbean were high-risk gambles with uncertain outcomes. Alison Games's collective biography of the adventurers who left London in 1635 to colonize the western periphery of England's nascent and precarious empire makes the point vividly and convincingly Readers familiar with the literature on early America will find this prosopographical study of early English colonization illuminating in detail.
- 336 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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