“A refreshing view of the British-Indian frontier in which Indians figure as prominently within the walls of the fort as beyond them.”—Colin G. Calloway, Dartmouth College
“By showing the influence of Indians on places that were often designed to impose military and diplomatic power, Ingram complicates the early American experience. If they shaped British policy there, perhaps they shaped it everywhere.”—Andrew K. Frank, Florida State University
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.
Daniel Ingram is assistant professor of history at Ball State University.