In the first major examination of the diverse European efforts to colonize the Delaware Valley, Mark L. Thompson offers a bold new interpretation of ethnic and national identities in colonial America. For most of the seventeenth century, the lower Delaware Valley remained a marginal area under no state’s complete control. English, Dutch, and Swedish sources all staked claims to the territory, but none could exclude their rivals for long—in part because Native Americans in the region encouraged the competition. Officials and settlers alike struggled to determine which European nation would possess the territory and what liberties settlers would keep after their own colonies had surrendered.
Born in Philadelphia and raised in New Orleans, Mark L. Thompson has taught in Bangkok, Baton Rouge, and Groningen. He currently teaches at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, where he lives with his family.
Praise for The Contest for the Delaware Valley
“The most sophisticated and comprehensive treatment of the Delaware Valley that has been produced in decades.”—Pennsylvania History
“Mark L. Thompson’s The Contest for the Delaware Valley makes a valuable contribution to this literature, using the history of the Delaware Valley to deepen understanding of culture and politics in the early modern Atlantic region.” —Journal of American History
“This thoughtful study demands that we think more carefully about how the nation was asserted and transformed in early modern colonial contexts as polities of varied sorts projected power across the Atlantic. Thompson makes an original and reasoned contribution to a sometimes shrill scholarship on the origins of nationhood.”—American Historical Review
"Thompson captures the ambiguity and multiplicity of personal identities in the polyglot Delaware Valley, while also making a compelling case that nationality mattered a great deal….An important scholarly contribution on more than one level.”—Journal of Interdisciplinary History
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