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Settler Society in the English Leeward Islands, 1670–1776


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  • Date Published: April 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107518346

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About the Authors
  • Settler Society in the English Leeward Islands, 1670–1776 is the first study of the history of the federated colony of the Leeward Islands - Antigua, Montserrat, Nevis, and St Kitts - that covers all four islands in the period from their independence from Barbados in 1670 up to the outbreak of the American Revolution, which reshaped the Caribbean. Natalie A. Zacek emphasizes the extent to which the planters of these islands attempted to establish recognizably English societies in tropical islands based on plantation agriculture and African slavery. By examining conflicts relating to ethnicity and religion, controversies regarding sex and social order, and a series of virulent battles over the limits of local and imperial authority, this book depicts these West Indian colonists as skilled improvisers who adapted to an unfamiliar environment, and as individuals as committed as other American colonists to the norms and values of English society, politics, and culture.

    • First book to cover the history of the Leeward Islands colony from their independence from Barbados to the outbreak of the American Revolution
    • Places these little-known colonies within the larger history of colonial British America
    • Based on extensive archival research on several continents
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    • Winner of The Royal Historical Society Gladstone History Book Prize 2011

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Zacek provides, for the first time, a searching portrait of an eighteenth-century planter society in the British West Indies from the perspective of the whites who ran it and benefited from it. This work is important not just for understanding the Leewards but also for understanding early British America as a whole.' Trevor Burnard, University of Warwick

    'Through deftly probing analysis of a wide range of sources, Natalie Zacek deploys her considerable skills as a social historian to argue persuasively, in this wonderfully enlightening and well-written study, that white settler society in the Leeward Islands, whatever its particular characteristics during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, cannot be said to have failed. This book greatly extends our understanding of the significance of the colonial forces, other than those directly connected with plantations and slavery, that shaped the emergence of slave societies in various corners of the Atlantic basin.' David Barry Gaspar, Duke University

    'A welcome investigation of the neglected Leeward Islands: diverse communities, united by dependence on slave labor and exposure to natural hazard and foreign invasion. Within these kettled communities, sexual impropriety and small-town politics feature vividly Zacek's forthright profiles of such colorful colonials as Daniel Parke, John Gardiner, and George Frye. Overcoming the challenge of scattered and fragmented public and private archival sources, Zacek urges a reconsideration of West Indies as failed societies. This captivating monograph contributes to the revisionist view of West Indian colonists as both adopters and adapters of recognizable and distinct English social, political, and cultural ideals.' Simon D. Smith, University of Hull

    'Thoroughly researched and beautifully written, this is a stunning contribution that greatly enhances our understanding of a long-neglected area of the colonial Anglophone Caribbean. Natalie Zacek's compelling study will remain the standard work on the subject for many years to come.' Betty Wood, Girton College, Cambridge University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107518346
    • length: 310 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • contains: 2 maps 9 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The challenges of English settlement in the Leewards
    2. Irish, Scots, and English
    3. Managing religious diversity
    4. Sex, sexuality, and social control
    5. Political culture, cooperation, and conflict

  • Author

    Natalie A. Zacek, University of Manchester
    Natalie A. Zacek is a Lecturer in History and American Studies at the University of Manchester. She has published in journals such as Slavery and Abolition, the Journal of Peasant Studies, History Compass, and Wadabagei: A Journal of the Caribbean and its Diaspora, as well as in several edited volumes. She is a founder of the H-Atlantic listserv and served as its book review editor for its first decade.


    • Winner of The Royal Historical Society Gladstone History Book Prize 2011

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