Colonial history

The British seize Manhattan from the Dutch—and alter the trajectory of North American history

On September 5, 1664, two men faced one another across a small stretch of water. Read more >>

A Soldier-Humanist Fights a War for Peace in North America

A few generations ago, American colonial history centered on a single narrative that flowed from Jamestown in 1607 to the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Today early American history has blossomed into a braided narrative with many story lines.   Read more >>

Thomas Morton liked the lush country, the Indians liked Thomas—and the stern Puritans cared little for either

The discoverer of the New World was first and foremost a sailor

A hurricane sank a fleet in Pensacola Bay 450 years ago, dooming the first major European attempt to colonize North America, a story that archaeologists are just now fleshing out

On August 15, 1559, the bay now known as Pensacola slowly filled with a curious fleet of 11 Spanish vessels, their decks crammed with an odd mix of colonists and holds filled to bursting with supplies and ceramic jars of olive oil and wine from Cadiz. Aboard the 570-ton flagship Jesus stood the wealthy and ambitious Don Tristan de Luna y Arellano, with direct orders from the king of Spain to establish a permanent colony in La Florida. The rest of the fleet included two galleons, beamy cargo ships known as naos , small barques, and a caravel. North America had never before seen anything like it on this scale. Read more >>

More than two decades before the Revolution broke out, a group of Americans voted on a scheme to unite the colonies. For the rest of his life, Benjamin Franklin thought it could have prevented the war. It didn’t—but it did give us our Constitution.

Very. The legacy of British traits in America is deeper and more significant than we knew.

As one of the most imaginative historians in contemporary America, David Hackett Fischer has produced a work that may put his fellow scholars’ teeth on edge. Read more >>

On their weathered stone battlements can
be read the whole history of the three-century
struggle for supremacy in the New World

On the northwest shoulder of South America, looking out over the blue waters of the Caribbean, an ancient citadel stands guard above a Spanish city. Three thousand miles to the north, where the Gulf of St. Read more >>

They had sent King Charles to the scaffold without remorse. Now they were fugitives in New England with a big price on their heads

  The death warrant was signed on Monday, and the business was then pushed with all haste. At ten o’clock on Tuesday morning—it was January 30, 1649 —Captain Hacker brought King Charles out of St. James Palace. The air was still and very cold—ice was piled up under the Thames bridges. Charles walked briskly, urging his guard to be quick: “March apace!” To the solemn muted roll of drums he crossed the park between lines of soldiers and entered Whitehall. Read more >>