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Explanations

Bringing History to Life: The People in The Many Stories of 1704
by Freda Brackley
This essay explains how the 1704 website writers created the character narratives that appear on the People menu. Some are based almost entirely on a character's own words or historical documents that flesh out the character's life. In other instances, where there are few or no written records, we have fashioned "composite narratives," based on historical, archaeological, traditional, and linguistic evidence used to create plausible life stories.

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The following essays were written by historians to provide a wider historical context for the events, people and artifacts discussed in this web site. Click an essay's title to view it.

A Brief History of Metacom's War
by Project Staff
Metacom's War (also known as King Philip's War) greatly impacted the cultural landscape of New England for the Native Americans and English, alike. This essay provides a brief overview of that conflict.

Captivity and Return
by Kevin Sweeney
This explanation describes the varied experiences of the Deerfield captives and explores the differing Native motivations and traditions of captivity taking, the efforts of French men and women to convert them to Catholicism and the efforts of New Englanders to secure their return.

English Colonization
by Kevin Sweeney
An exploration of the motivations of the English colonists who settled New England, this essay describes the social, political and religious institutions that they created and briefly characterizes their interactions with Native peoples.

English Puritanism
by Kevin Sweeney
After outlining the points of religious conflict in England, Dr. Sweeney examines how English settlers in New England practiced and experienced their brand of Protestantism.

Epidemics and Social Disorder
by Kevin Sweeney
This essay describes the introduction and spread of European diseases in the Northeast and explores the impact of these diseases on Native peoples of the Northeast.

European Land Use and the Transformation of the Northeast
by Kevin Sweeney
This explanation describes how French and English colonists took possession of Native lands and explains how their ideas of land ownership and their use of land transformed the region.

French Catholicism
by Kevin Sweeney
This essay contextualizes the religious struggles between Protestantism and Catholicism in North America, and explores the relationship between Catholic missionaries, colonial officials and the settlers of New France.

French Colonization
by Kevin Sweeney
Examining the motivations of the French colonists who settled New France, this essay describes the social, political and religious institutions of the colony, and briefly characterizes their interactions with Native peoples.

Native Diaspora and New Communities
by Kevin Sweeney
This explanation looks at the movements of Iroquoian and Algonkian peoples that led to the establishment of Native villages at Lorette, Odanak, Kahnawake, La Montagne and Sault-au-Récollet.

Native Diaspora and New Communities: Algonkian & Wobanaki
by Marge Bruchac
During the 17th century, Native nations began shifting alliances and changing locations, as they coped with disease, inter-tribal struggles, and international warfare. Eventually, new communities formed among peoples living away from their original homelands.

Native Land Use and Settlements in the Northeastern Woodlands
by Marge Bruchac
This explanation discusses the different ways in which Algonkian and Iroquoian peoples related to, lived on, and managed the natural landscape over time, and assesses the impact of European colonization on Native lifeways.

Schaghticoke and Points North: W˘banaki Resistance and Persistence
by Marge Bruchac
Between the 1670s and 1760s, refugee villages like Schaghticoke became crucial gathering places for Native people from the Connecticut River Valley who formed lasting alliances with the northern W˘banakiak.

Slavery and the Slave Trade in Colonial New England
by Joanne Pope Melish
This essay explains the origins and significance of slavery in colonial New England and describes the work and culture of slaves within a framework of shifting conditions of freedom and servitude for Indians, Africans, and whites. It also places New England slavery and the slave trade in the larger context of the Atlantic economy.

Who Owns History?
by Barry O'Connell
This explanation discusses the question of whether or not all accounts of the past are prejudiced, equally partial by reasons of the blindnesses, needs, or assumptions of their creators. It offers suggestions for how teachers or students might evaluate the relative truth of one account of the past, compared to another.

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