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Indians and British Outposts in Eighteenth-Century America

Daniel Ingram

Publication Year: 2012

This fascinating look at the cultural and military importance of British forts in the colonial era explains how these forts served as communities in Indian country more than as bastions of British imperial power. Their security depended on maintaining good relations with the local Native Americans, who incorporated the forts into their economic and social life as well as into their strategies.

Daniel Ingram uses official British records, traveler accounts, archaeological findings, and ethnographic information to reveal native contributions to the forts' stories. Conducting in-depth research at five different forts, he looked for features that seemed to arise from Native American culture rather than British imperial culture. His fresh perspective reveals that British fort culture was heavily influenced, and in some cases guided, by the very people these outposts of empire were meant to impress and subdue.

In this volume, Ingram recaptures the significance of small-scale encounters as vital features of the colonial American story, without arguing their importance in larger imperial frameworks. He specifically seeks to reorient the meaning of British military and provincial backcountry forts away from their customary roles as harbingers of European imperial domination.

Published by: University Press of Florida


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Title Page, Copyright

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List of Illustrations

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p. ix

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pp. xi-xiii

Many people and organizations helped me shepherd this book to its final form. Work began at the College of William and Mary, and my friends and colleagues there were invaluable. James Axtell played an especially important role as an editor and friend. James P. Whittenburg, Kris E. Lane...

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Introduction: British Forts and Indian Neighbors

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pp. 1-26

The scene described in this excerpt from Cooper’s famous novel is the British retreat from Fort William Henry in August 1757. Orderly English troops march glumly toward a bloody end they cannot foresee. French victors stand by nobly and review the vanquished redcoats as they...

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1. The Key to Carolina: Old Hop, Little Carpenter, and the Making of Fort Loudoun, 1756–1759

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pp. 27-58

In July 1753, South Carolina governor James Glen met with Cherokee and Creek emissaries to prevent further fighting between the two nations and to establish a firm alliance between his colony and prominent Cherokee leaders based in the important Overhill town of Chota. This was the...

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2. Anxious Hospitality: Loitering at Fort Allen, 1756–1761

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pp. 59-87

Of the many occupations Benjamin Franklin pursued during his storied life, one of the less acclaimed was that of a frontier fort builder. Franklin’s achievements in philosophy, politics, diplomacy, and science are so significant that his contributions to Pennsylvania defense during the...

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3. The Greatest Mart of All Trade: Food, Drink, and Interdependence at Michilimackinac, 1761–1796

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pp. 88-120

By the end of the British occupation of the Straits of Mackinac, longtime residents of the region might have been surprised to hear Kegeweskam, a powerful and influential Odawa chief, complain that his people’s lives there were nearly finished. He described his settlement of...

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4. A Year at Niagara: Violence, Diplomacy, and Coexistence in the Eastern Great Lakes, 1763–1764

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pp. 121-155

In early September 1763, the British garrison of Fort Niagara felt lucky. They had been spared the fates of Fort Michilimackinac and the many smaller western forts that had been overtaken or destroyed in the Indian rebellion that would soon be named after the Odawa leader...

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5. Like Stars That Fall: Keeping Up Appearances at Fort Chartres, 1765–1772

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pp. 156-192

In June 1772, a small company of British regular soldiers, newly arrived in the Illinois country, ascertained the depth of British authority in Kaskaskia. Fifteen miles away, Fort Chartres, the seat of British operations in Illinois for seven years, crumbled into the encroaching...

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Conclusion: The Mohawks’ New World

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pp. 193-201

Poulous could not understand why a man he barely knew had taken his rum. The Mohawk had lived for a while in and around Fort Hendrick, the small British fort adjacent to his village of Canajoharie, and kept a “Cagg of Rum” there for his own use. In March 1756 his peaceful life...


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pp. 203-234


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pp. 235-248


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pp. 249-257

E-ISBN-13: 9780813040578
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813037974
Print-ISBN-10: 0813037972

Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 13 b&w photos, 4 maps
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 774276720
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Indians and British Outposts in Eighteenth-Century America

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Indians of North America -- First contact with Europeans.
  • Fortification -- United States -- History -- 18th century.
  • Frontier and pioneer life -- United States.
  • Great Britain. Army -- Military life -- History -- 18th century.
  • United States -- Race relations -- History -- 18th century.
  • Great Britain -- Colonies -- America -- Defenses.
  • United States -- History -- Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775.
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