Brothers among nations : the pursuit of intercultural alliances in early America, 1580-1660


    • Van Zandt, Cynthia Jean


Brothers among nations : the pursuit of intercultural alliances in early America, 1580-1660

Cynthia J. Van Zandt

Oxford University Press, 2008

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Includes index



In the past generation, scholars' understanding of relations among the peoples in the eastern portion of the North American mainland during the colonial era has been transformed by studies that have put the Native Americans' experiences at the center of the story instead of the periphery. Cynthia Van Zandt's work represents an effort to show how central Natives were to the European colonial project by demonstrating that the formation of alliances was the only way for the nascent colonies to succeed. Van Zandt argues that the growing number of transplanted Africans in the colonies demanded that Europeans effectively create alliances with them, though they were unequal alliances between free and enslaved peoples. Her study is unusual in that it brings together Indian and colonial peoples from a range of different Indian and European nations, focusing not just on one colony but on New England, Virginia, and the middle colonies together.


  • Prologue
  • Introduction
  • 1. Mapping the Peoples of the World: Geography, Chorography, and Intercultural Alliances
  • 2. Laying the Groundwork for Alliances: Language, Maps, and Intercultural Suspicion
  • 3. "You Called Him Father:" Fictive Kinship and Tributary Alliances in Tsennacomacah/Virginia
  • 4. Alliance-Making and the Struggle for the Soul of Plymouth Colony
  • 5. Captain Claiborne's Alliance
  • 6. Alliances of Necessity: Fictive Kinship and Manhattan's Diaspora African Community
  • 7. Nations Intertwined: Alliances and the Susquehannocks' Geography of North America
  • Epilogue: Captain Claiborne's Lost Isle
  • Notes
  • Index

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