Why Some New World Colonies Succeeded and Others Failed

Tuesday, August 7, 2012
7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m. (EST) Enter Classroom Enter Forum


Kathleen DuVal

Associate Professor, Department of History
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
National Humanities Center Fellow

About the Seminar

In the first two centuries after 1492, most colonies in the New World failed. This workshop explores why. We will read accounts of failures and successes and discuss what happened. How much did colonizers' expectations have to do with success or failure? Were the desires and power of local Indians the most important factors? How large a role did weather and climate play? Was luck the deciding factor? Should we be surprised that any succeeded?

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Assigned Readings

  1. From the American Memory Timeline from the Library of Congress: Colonial Settlement, 1600s - 1763.
    1. The English Establish a Foothold at Jamestown, 1606-1610
    2. Evolution of the Virginia Colony, 1611-1624
    3. Virginia's Early Relations with Native Americans
    4. Establishing the Georgia Colony, 1732-1750
  2. From the National Humanities Center's primary source collection American Beginnings: 1492-1690: Exploration.
    1. Accounts of the Spanish Attack on Fort Caroline, 1565
    2. Letter requesting food for Ajacan, 1570. (Letter of Luis de Quirós and Juan Baptista de Segura to Juan de Hinistrosa, From Ajacán, September 12, 1570.)
    3. Account of the rescue attempt at Roanoke, 1590
    4. Antoine Simon Le Page Du Pratz Describes French Conflict with the Natchez, 1729

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