British Forts and Their Communities: Archaeological and Historical Perspectives (Hardback)
While the military features of historic forts usually receive the most attention from researchers, this volume focuses instead on the people who met and interacted in these sites. Contributors to British Forts and Their Communities look beyond the defensive architecture, physical landscapes, and armed conflicts to explore the complex social diversity that arose in the outposts of the British Empire. The forts investigated here operated at the empire's peak in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, protecting British colonial settlements and trading enclaves scattered across the globe. Locations in this volume include New York State, Michigan, the St. Lawrence River, and Vancouver, as well as sites in the Caribbean and in Africa. Using archaeological and archival evidence, these case studies show how forts brought together people of many different origins, ethnicities, identities, and social roles, from European soldiers to indigenous traders to African slaves. Characterized by shifting networks of people, commodities, and ideas, these fort populations were microcosms of the emerging modern world. This volume reveals how important it is to move past the conventional emphasis on the armed might of the colonizer in order to better understand the messy, entangled nature of British colonialism and the new era it helped usher in.