Why did England want to establish colonies in North America and how did Englishmen go about establishing them?
Today, we explore the early days of English settlement in North America with Malcolm Gaskill, Professor of History at the University of East Anglia and author of Between Two Worlds: How the English Became Americans.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with an historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
In this episode, Malcolm Gaskill, Professor of History at the University of East Anglia and author of Between Two Worlds: How the English Became Americans, leads us on an exploration of the early days of English colonization of North America.
During our exploration, Malcolm reveals how and when Englishmen decided to establish colonies in North America; How literature and colonization experiments in Ireland informed English colonization in North America; And, how interconnectedness between England and her North American colonies informed politics and culture in both England and her colonies.
What You’ll Discover
- The “neglected dimensions” of British and American history
- Why Malcolm thinks English memory of Americans and the colonists has diminished
- How and when Englishmen decided to established colonies in North America
- The role Spain played in the English decision to establish colonies in North America
- Details about the first English colony at Roanoke Island
- England’s colonization experiments in Ireland
- How colonization experiments in Ireland informed colonization in North America
- How literature promoted English colonization of North America
- Details about John Smith’s tract about North America
- Whether the literature about the colonies attracted English colonists and investors
- English colonists' shared experiences as they settled new homes in North America and the Caribbean
- How early English colonists imposed their Englishness on North America
- Why many English colonists had hostile relationships with local Native American peoples
- The differences between English colonies established for religious and economic reasons
- Examples of the interconnectedness between England and her North American colonies
- Whether England ever mirrored the political instability of the colonies
- How the diverse ethnicities of Native Americans, European colonists, and Africans challenged the English colonists’ sense of English identity
- Characteristics that distinguished English colonists from Britons living in the British Isles
- Details about indentured servants
- How using the perspective of a 17th-century colonist helped Malcolm write Between Two Worlds
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Malcolm Gaskill
- Malcolm's University Webpage
- Malcolm's Website
- Between Two Worlds: How the English Became Americans
Time Warp Question
In your opinion, what might have happened if Richard Hakluyt, John Smith, and other colonial promoters had not written about North America and the opportunities there? Do you think Englishmen still would have launched colonization companies and projects? How would the colonization of North America have been different?
Questions, Comments, Suggestions
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Great discussion. Really interesting to hear about early colonial identity.