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Jamestown -the first permanent English settlement in North America, after the disappearance of the Roanoke colony-is often given short shrift in histories of America. Founded thirteen years before the Mayflower landed, Jamestown occupies less space in our cultural memory than the Pilgrims of Plymouth. But as historian James Horn points out, many of the key tensions of Jamestown's early years became central to American history, for good and for ill: Jamestown introduced slavery into English-speaking North America; it became the first of England's colonies to adopt a representative government; and, it was the site of the first clashes between whites and Indians over territorial expansion. Jamestown began the tenuous, often violent, mingling of different peoples that came to embody the American experience. A Land as God Made It puts the Jamestown experience in the context of European geopolitics, giving prominence to the Spanish threat to extinguish the colony at the earliest opportunity. Jamestown-unlike Plymouth or Massachusetts-was England's bid to establish an empire to challenge the Spanish. With unparalleled knowledge of Jamestown's role in early American history, James Horn has written the definitive account of the colony that gave rise to America.

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