Questions tagged [colonial-america]

Colonial America refers to the period of American history (roughly late 15th century to the mid-19th century) when European states exercised political control over indigenous Americans and European settlers in the Americas. Colonial powers in the Americas included the Spanish, British, French, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedes, and Russians. The term is sometimes taken to refer to pre-Revolution British colonies that would eventually become the United States.

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Did Continental Army officers wear wigs or keep their hair white like their British Army counterparts?

I just can't find any concrete answer to this question because there is just too much conflicting information. While I know British enlisted men weren't allowed to wear wigs but were forced to grow ...
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How did coach service in 18th century America work?

I know that carriage transportation in the US imitated that of Europe, and I know that in the 18th century coaches could be used to transport goods and people and they could also be used as a public ...
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Is the Native American relationship with colonists described in 'In the Days of Poor Richard' historically accurate?

I was reading In the Days of Poor Richard by Irving Bacheller (the full book can be viewed here). At the beginning of the book, there is a long paragraph describing the main character that goes like ...
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Did George Washington‘s investment in the Ohio Company eventually turn a profit?

The intent of some English and Virginia speculators (including two brothers of George Washington and Virginia Royal Governor Robert Dinwiddie) to open the Ohio Valley (then a French possession) to ...
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Could an eight-year-old child be eligible to stand trial as a witness and provide testimony in an 18th-century American courtroom? [closed]

I'm doing research for a historical fiction set in a small fictional town in America between the year 1778 and 1779. Let's say I have two characters, John and Jack. John is an officer in the ...
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What's the origin of the legend that this rock formation in America had a 12th century Welsh Origin?

There is a Welsh legend/myth that America was discovered by a Welshman named Madoc the Great, in the 12th century. His Wikipedia page reads the same but also that there isn't any conclusive evidence ...
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Was Pablo Vicente de Solá married?

Solá, a Basque, was the last Spanish governor of Alta California, serving from 1815–1822 at the Presidio of Monterey. Did he have a wife and family, there or elsewhere?
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What was the nature of a widow's personal estate in Colonial America?

In books that discuss figures in Colonial America and early American history (and I believe more broadly throughout contemporaneous European history), it is relatively common to see discussions of ...
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What would have been the signal that Pontiac would have given to attack in Fort Detroit?

In the Siege of Detroit, Pontiac had 300 warriors but did not give the "signal" to attack (07 MAY 1763 before the actual siege started). I have found references that a wampum belt was ...
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How was silver/gold mining done in colonial Americas?

I've heard a lot about the vast amounts of silver and gold that Spain brought back from the Americas. I imagine that they looted the Aztecs and other peoples at first, but silver/gold exports ...
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What is the source of this image of Miles Morgan's “mark”?

Miles Morgan, one of the founders of Springfield, MA made a 'mark' which resembled an anchor (more than anything), though I read it was also compared to a pickaxe. Sometime in the past few months I ...
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Who was the Halach Uinik of Can Pech?

Who was the ruler (Halach Uinik) of the pre-conquest Mayan state (Kuchkabal) of Can Pech around the beginning of the 16th century? If not the individual, the dynasty?
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Were beaches red with lobsters upon arrival of Columbus?

I remember reading somewhere that upon arrival in Hispaniola, Columbus found beaches that were so plentiful with lobsters that they appeared red. It is possible I read this in a book by Bill Bryson, ...
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Was the Native American population already decimated before settlers and conquistadors arrived in America?

My understanding (which I am stating in case you find it errant) is that while there were no domesticable animals in the Americas, the East had a history of many plagues received from livestock ...
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What did General John Sullivan's sons do?

I'm researching General John Sullivan and need to know what his sons, John (1767-1819) and James (1768-1796) did for a living and how they died. I've looked and looked and only found birth and death ...
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What's the rationale for shipping coins back to Spain from its colonies?

Since the days of Pirates! the thought of capturing the Spanish treasure fleet on its way back somewhere in the Spanish Main was a primary target because of all the gold and silver it transported to ...
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What is a “sheare town?”

Another question from my family history research from this quote: Carrie C. Edgett article: John French - a tailor, was living in Topsfield as early as March 1, 1664/5, when a daughter born there, ...
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What is the origin of straight municipal boundary line in NJ?

If you look at a map of the municipal borders of New Jersey, you see a clear line mid-state running northwest to southeast. It's about halfway between NYC and Philadelphia. What is the historical ...
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What's the significance of “cat, hare, and ale” in this quotation?

From Alice Morse Earle's Colonial Days in Old New York (1896): In Albany in 1677 all "Shrovetide misdemeanors were prohibited, viz.: riding at a goose, cat, hare, and ale." The fine was ...
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How did slavery become permissible in the French West Indies when it was forbidden in France?

In 1315, France abolished slavery in continental France. Unless I am mistaken, the first French territories outside of "continental France" were established in 1534 with the North American ...
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How did the Boston Tea Party protest affect the British?

"The Boston Tea Party was a political protest that occurred on December 16, 1773, at Griffin's Wharf in Boston, Massachusetts. American colonists, frustrated and angry at Britain for imposing “...
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What was an “alower of Society debts” in colonial America?

"Alower of Society debts" - one of my ancestors held this role in Colonial America. I can find a reference to the role of "tithingman" - but not this... seems self-explanatory, ...
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How did the different regions' cultures in colonial America eventually begin to unify?

There were a myriad of differences between the Northern and Southern regions, but I still don't understand how or why they grew similarities and united over time. Does it have something to do with ...
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Was drowning a form of mercy killing in Colonial America?

In doing family history research I came across this death notice, "John French, his wife drown’d herself 13 May 1701." Curious wording. Last summer I visited the French-Andrews house, ...
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What systems of opression did colonial South America utilized to acculturate indigenous peoples, compared to the ones used in North America? [closed]

After reading and writing about boarding schools (and prisons) of acculturation here in North America, where Indigenous peoples were forced into Western ways, I am left wondering: Did these systems ...
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Did Britain look into taking California?

The Spanish colonized California in part to forestall the expansion of other empires. The territory was in danger of invasion throughout the Spanish and Mexican eras (1769-1846). Visitors and ...
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Were there actually slaves in Georgia while slavery was banned there?

Wikipedia reports that "The Georgia Experiment [from 1735 to 1751] was the colonial-era policy prohibiting the ownership of slaves in the Georgia Colony," and that this was done in order to &...
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What group is identified by the term “Egyptians” in the Flushing Remonstrance?

I am reading about the Flushing Remonstrance and its significance in the history of freedom of religion in the United States. An article by the Social Science Research Council indicates it was ...
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Did any Moors accompany Hernando de Soto in his exploration of Mississippi?

I was reading about Hernando de Soto and saw William Powell's painting (Relevant bit cropped and added below): The odd thing (Marked with a red arrow) is the man who looks Moorish and is dressed in ...
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Which Irishman worked at Mission Santa Cruz?

Kirill Khlebnikov was a Russian business agent who made several visits to Alta California. His "Travel Notes" from 1820 describe negotiations to buy grain from the Franciscan priest in charge of ...
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How was religious diversity represented in the Thirteen Colonies?

I understand that many settlers of the original thirteen English colonies in America were Protestants (or Puritans, specifically) who left Europe in search for better religious freedom. However, since ...
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Is there basis in saying Venezuela was Aragonese?

So... This sounds like a silly question even to me, but this is the background. In the recent TV show, Bolivar, there is an Inspector of Weights and Measures for Caracas who comes in to weigh a ...
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Why did Iturbide choose Fernández for the mission to California?

After Mexican independence, Emperor Agustín I took power. During his short reign he understandably sent a representative to the Californias to procure and check on their loyalty. The representative, a ...
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Why did the Dutch West India Company allow Quakers in the New Netherlands?

In 1657 a group of English Quakers arrived in New Amsterdam (the Dutch colonial town that became modern New York City). They were persecuted by the colonial government there for their religion. Then ...
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Why did not Spain manage to keep any colonial possessions in the new world?

It is well known that Spain had a huge presence in the colonisation and discovery of the new world. The Spanish empire is one of the largest in history and held vast territory in the Americas. Still ...
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What sort of boat transported transport the French colonial Governors of New Orleans?

I am writing a description of the changeover of the French colonial Governors of New Orleans in 1753, from Vaudreuil to Kerlérec. There is mention of a Governor's boat used to take important guests to ...
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Colonial intelligence during the pirate age

Watching the Black Sails series, there are several references on La Casa de Contratación, and characters say that, among other things, it was dedicated to colonial intelligence. I think there were a ...
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Looking for colonial era evidence of Jesuit missions from San Martin Peru up to the Pastaza river

if there are any Peruvian colonial era history experts out there, I'm looking for a citable source of some kind for the following scenario. In my research I've noticed an interesting discrepancy in ...
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When did Europeans realize Native Americans had weaker immunity to Old World diseases?

The question is fairly simple: when did Europeans come to a general knowledge that the Native Americans had weak immunity specifically to Old World diseases? I'm looking for the first person to ...
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How did American colonial rights and conditions compare to those within the British Isles?

A major point of contention between American colonists and British administrators was that the American colonists, being the descendants of Englishmen, allegedly should have been entitled to ...
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Do we know who graduated from the University of Mexico in the 1700s?

The Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico was the country's first and foremost university in the colonial period. According to George I. Sánchez, by 1776 it had awarded 29,882 bachelor's and 1,162 ...
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Any truth to this story of Native American journeying to England?

In "A New Voyage to Carolina", John Lawson, British Surveyor-General of North Carolina, asserts that some natives once attempted to journey themselves all the way to England as an attempt to cut out ...
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Who was the first retailer in Monterey, California?

There were no businesses in the Spanish presidio at Monterey. Trade goods from the missions and passing ships came through, but there wasn't much to buy. Outside the fort, what was the first fixed-...
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How much did Spanish California officials earn?

It is my understanding that in Alta California, priests and natives in Missions earned no cash salary, but Spanish army officials would have. From the governor down to a junior soldier, what did they ...
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For who or what was Cojo Creek named?

Cojo Creek (Cañada del cojo) is the boundary between the Rancho Punta de la Concepción and the Rancho Nuestra Señora del Refugio. The anchorage at the mouth of this creek was a prime smuggling spot in ...
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Did other British colonies at the time have seats in parliament [duplicate]

I know the American colonies didn’t have a seat, but what about the other British colonies. Did some have it. Like Australia, and the places in Africa.
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How long to travel from Ireland or England in 1680 to Plymouth in the Massachusetts Bay Colony?

I'm writing a historical fiction romance novel and I'm trying to gain a perspective of the travel times. The story is set in 1692, but the hero and his family arrived around 1680 from Ireland.
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Did early American settlers have to buy their land from the government?

During the early English settlement period in North America, did settlers buy their land from the government, or did they simply find some land and build a home there? To be more specific, I'm ...
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Why did a young George Washington sign a document admitting to assassinating a French military officer?

On May 28, 1754, a young Lt. Colonel named George Washington ambushed a French force at Jumonville Glen with assistance from a Iroquois leader named Tanacharison. One of the casualties was the French ...
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What were the rules of the migration to the Louisiana Territory in USA?

To my best knowledge, at the point of Louisiana Purchase, the area was inhabited mostly by Native Americans. At the time there existed some legislation regarding how the settlement should look like. ...