This book is the library edition of Volume I for A History of the South, a ten-volume series designed to present a balanced history of all the complex aspects of the South’s culture from 1607 to the present. The volumes have been published as the manuscripts are completed; Volume I is the third volume to appear. Like its companion volumes, The Southern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century is written by an outstanding student of Southern history.
In the America of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, just what was Southern? The first colonists looked upon themselves as British, and only gradually did those attitudes and traditions develop which were distinctively American. To determine what was Southern in the early colonies, Mr. Craven has searched for those features of early American society which distinguished the South in the later years and those features of early American history which help the Southerner to understand himself.
The Chesapeake colonies—Virginia and Maryland—formed the first Southern community. These colonies grew out of the same interest which directed European imperialism toward Africa and the West Indies—notably the production of sugar, silk, wine, and tobacco. Mr. Craven studies the social, economic, and political development of the Southern colonies as the product of continuing European rivalries, rivalries that resulted in the colonization of Carolina and Florida. Major emphasis, however, is placed upon British expansion, since Anglo-Saxon influence was dominant in the formation of the South as a region.
Mr. Craven sees as crucial the middle period of the seventeenth century. Out of the political and social unrest which characterized these years emerged the points of view which gave shape to the American and the Southern tradition.
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