A new article on TimeMaps: Colonial America

I’ve just put another new article up. It’s on Colonial America: i.e, that bit of US history which took place before it became the United States!

If you think about it, a lot of history takes police in this odd situation. The first three and half centuries of English history took place before there was an England. Most of German history occurred before there was a country called Germany. Italian history….well, you get the drift.

Personally, I find the these periods of history, where a nation is gradually taking shape, fascinating. There’s a rawness about it that you seldom get after the nation is formed. And nowhere is this more true of the United States of America.

The wonderful thing is that you can literally see a society taking shape. The starting point is a small settlement on the shores of the sea, perhaps just an encampment really: a few huts surrounded by a few patches of land where the first crops are being grown. Some cows, pigs and chickens would have completed the scene.

Very early map of Virginia, by Capt. John Smith (1624)

These tiny colonies soon expanded. More shiploads of people arrived, the village grew into a small town, the fields expanded, satellite settlements were sent out, and of course the Native Americans, looking on with increasing alarm at this growing threat to their way of life, began to grow hostile.

None of this can really come across in the article I have written – it is far too broad brush. One day, however, I’d like to create a sequence of maps showing the founding and expansion of a colony like, say, Virginia, or maybe Massachusetts (though that might be a little more complex). Or maybe it’s been done already? If so, could someone let me know, and I’ll put in a link to it.

Anyhow, have a read: Colonial America – and send me a comment!

Thank you.

Peter Britton