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By the middle of the seventeenth century, almost a hundred thousand English men and women had settled in the New World. We sometimes forget that the largest colony across the Atlantic in those early years was not in Virginia, not in New England, but on the small eastern islands of the Caribbean, called the Caribbees.
Early existence in the Caribbean was brutal, and at first these immigrants struggled merely to survive. Then, through an act of international espionage, they stole a secret industrial process from the Catholic countries that gave them the key to unimagined wealth. The scheme these pious Puritans used to realize their earthly fortune required that they also install a special new attitude: only certain peoples may claim full humanity. Their profits bequeathed a mortgage to America of untold future costs.
The Caribbean shown here was a dumping ground for outcasts and adventurers from many nations, truly a cockpit of violence, greed, drunkenness, piracy, and voodoo. Even so, its English colonists penned a declaration of independence and fought a revolutionary war with their homeland over a hundred years before the North American settlements. Had they respected the rights of mankind to the same degree they espoused them, the face of modern America might have been very different.
The men and women in this story include many actual and composite individuals, and its scope is faithful to the larger events of that age, though time has been compressed somewhat to allow a continuous narrative.
To Liberty and Justice for all.

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