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The History of the American Indians

Written by James Adair, edited and with an introduciton and annotations by Kathr

Publication Year: 2005

A fully annotated edition of a classic work detailing the cultures of five southeastern American Indian tribes during the Contact Period.

James Adair was an Englishman who lived and traded among the southeastern Indians for more than 30 years, from 1735 to 1768. During that time he covered the territory from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River. He encountered and lived among Indians, advised governors, spent time with settlers, and worked tirelessly for the expansion of British interests against the French and the Spanish. Adair's acceptance by the Creeks, Choctaws, Cherokees, and Chickasaws provided him the opportunity to record, compare, and analyze their cultures and traditions.

Adair's written work, first published in England in 1775, is considered one of the finest histories of the Native Americans. His observations provide one of the earliest and what many modern scholars regard as the best account of southeastern Indian cultures. This edition adheres to current standards of literary editing, following the original closely, and provides fully annotated and indexed critical apparatus.

Published by: The University of Alabama Press

Cover, Copyright and Title Pages

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Illustrations and Maps

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pp. vii


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pp. ix-x

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James Adair’s History: A Note on This Edition

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pp. xi-xiv

In the spring of 1775, James Adair’s History of the American Indians was released by publishers Edward and Charles Dilly of London. The book was actually a study of the major tribes residing adjacent to Britain’s southern colonies, particularly the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek, and Choctaw Indians. ...

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James Adair: His Life and History

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pp. 1-53

James Adair hardly seems to exist outside the confines of his monumental history of southern backcountry. Shadowy rumors of his existence elsewhere abound: born the youngest son of Irish gentry;1 later, the head of a family by a Cherokee woman in North Carolina on the eve of the American Revolution.2 ...

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The History of the American Indians

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pp. 55-446

To you, with the greatest propriety the following sheets are addressed. Your distinguished abilities—your thorough acquaintance with the North American Indians language, rites, and customs—your long application and services in the dangerous sphere of an Indian life, and your successful management of the savage natives, are well known over all the continent of America. ...

Notes to Introductory Essay

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pp. 447-473

Annotations to Adair’s Text

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pp. 475-547


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pp. 549-569


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pp. 571-589

E-ISBN-13: 9780817380786
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817355784

Publication Year: 2005