Discusses the ill-fated Vine and Olive Colony within the context of America's westward expansion and the French Revolution
Bonapartists in the Borderlands recounts how Napoleonic exiles and French refugees from Europe and the Caribbean joined forces with Latin American insurgents, Gulf pirates, and international adventurers to seek their fortune in the Gulf borderlands. The U.S. Congress welcomed the French to America and granted them a large tract of rich Black Belt land near Demopolis, Alabama, on the condition that they would establish a Mediterranean-style Vine and Olive colony.
This book debunks the standard account of the colony, which stresses the failure of the aristocratic, luxury-loving French to tame the wilderness. Instead, it shows that the Napoleonic officers involved in the colony sold their land shares to speculators to finance an even more perilous adventure--invading the contested Texas borderlands between Spain and the U.S. Their departure left the Vine and Olive colony in the hands of French refugees from the Haitian slave revolt. While they soon abandoned vine cultivation, they successfully recast themselves as prosperous, slaveholding cotton growers and gradually fused into a new elite with newly arrived Anglo-American planters.
Rafe Blaufarb examines the underlying motivations and aims that inspired this endeavor and details the nitty-gritty politics, economics, and backroom bargaining that resulted in the settlement. He employs a wide variety of local, national, and international resources: from documents held by the Alabama State Archives, Marengo County court records, and French-language newspapers published in America to material from the War Ministry Archives at Vincennes, the Diplomatic Archives at the Quai d’Orasy, and the French National Archives.
This volume in the Institute of Classical Archaeology's series on rural settlements in the countryside (chora) of Metaponto presents the excavation of the Late Roman farmhouse at San Biagio. Located near the site of an earlier Greek sanctuary, this modest but well-appointed structure was an unexpected find from a period generally marked by large landholdings and monumental villas. Description of earlier periods of occupation (Neolithic and Greek) is followed by a detailed discussion of the farmhouse itself and its historical and socioeconomic context. The catalogs and analyses of finds include impressive deposits of coins from the late third and early fourth centuries AD. Use of virtual reality CAD software has yielded a deeper understanding of the architectural structure and its reconstruction. A remarkable feature is the small bath complex, with its examples of window glass. This study reveals the existence of a small but viable rural social and economic entity and alternative to the traditional image of crisis and decline during the Late Imperial period.
This volume in the Institute of Classical Archaeology’s series on rural settlements in the countryside (chora) of Metaponto is a study of the fourth-century BC farmhouse known as Fattoria Fabrizio, located in the heart of the surveyed chora in the Venella valley (at Ponte Fabrizio). This simple structure richly illustrates the life of fourth-century BC Metapontine farmers of modest means.
Thorough interpretations of the farmhouse structure in its wider historical and socioeconomic contexts are accompanied by comprehensive analyses of the archaeological finds. Among them is detailed evidence for the family cult, a rare archaeological contribution to the study of Greek religion in Magna Grecia. The entire range of local Greek ceramics has been studied, along with a limited number of imports. Together they reveal networks within the chora and trade beyond it, involving indigenous peoples of southern Italy, mainland Greeks, and the wider Mediterranean world. Along with the studies of traditional archaeological finds, archaeobotanical analyses have illuminated the rural economy of the farmhouse and the environment of the adjacent chora. Abundant Archaic pottery also documents an important occupation, during the first great flowering of the chora in the sixth century BC. This study provides an ideal complement to the four volumes of The Chora of Metaponto 3: Archaeological Field Survey—Bradano to Basento and an eloquent example of hundreds of farmhouses of this date identified throughout the chora by their surface remains alone.
The sixth volume in the Institute of Classical Archaeology’s series on the rural countryside (chora) of Metaponto is a study of the Greek settlement at Sant’Angelo Vecchio. Located on a slope overlooking the Basento River, the site illustrates the extraordinary variety of settlements and uses of the territory from prehistory through the current day. Excavators brought to light a Late Archaic farmhouse, evidence of a sanctuary near a spring, and a cluster of eight burials of the mid-fifth century BC, but the most impressive remains belong to a production area with kilns. Active in the Hellenistic, Late Republican, and Early Imperial periods, these kilns illuminate important and lesser-known features of production in the chora of a Greek city and also chronicle the occupation of the territory in these periods.
The thorough, diachronic presentation of the evidence from Sant’Angelo Vecchio is complemented by specialist studies on the environment, landscape, and artifacts, which date from prehistory to the post-medieval period. Significantly, the evidence spans the range of Greek site types (farmhouse, necropolis, sanctuary, and production center) as well as the Greek dates (from the Archaic to Early Imperial periods) highlighted during ICA’s survey of the Metapontine chora. In this regard, Chora 6 enhances the four volumes of The Chora of Metaponto 3: Archaeological Field Survey—Bradano to Basento and provides further insight into how sites in the chora interacted throughout its history.
Friends of the Dallas Public Library Award, 2006
Best Book on East Texas, East Texas Historical Association, 2007
In the decades following the Civil War, nearly a quarter of African Americans achieved a remarkable victory—they got their own land. While other ex-slaves and many poor whites became trapped in the exploitative sharecropping system, these independence-seeking individuals settled on pockets of unclaimed land that had been deemed too poor for farming and turned them into successful family farms. In these self-sufficient rural communities, often known as "freedom colonies," African Americans created a refuge from the discrimination and violence that routinely limited the opportunities of blacks in the Jim Crow South.
Freedom Colonies is the first book to tell the story of these independent African American settlements. Thad Sitton and James Conrad focus on communities in Texas, where blacks achieved a higher percentage of land ownership than in any other state of the Deep South. The authors draw on a vast reservoir of ex-slave narratives, oral histories, written memoirs, and public records to describe how the freedom colonies formed and to recreate the lifeways of African Americans who made their living by farming or in skilled trades such as milling and blacksmithing. They also uncover the forces that led to the decline of the communities from the 1930s onward, including economic hard times and the greed of whites who found legal and illegal means of taking black-owned land. And they visit some of the remaining communities to discover how their independent way of life endures into the twenty-first century.
In the 1880s, the well-connected young Englishman William B. Close and his three brothers, having bought thousands of acres of northwest Iowa prairie, conceived the idea of enticing sons of Britain’s upper classes to pursue the life of the landed gentry on these fertile acres. “Yesterday a wilderness, today an empire”: their bizarre experiment, which created a colony for people “of the better class” who were not in line to inherit land but whose fathers would set them up in farming, flourished in Le Mars, Iowa (and later in Pipestone, Minnesota), with over five hundred youths having a go at farming. In Gentlemen on the Prairie, Curtis Harnack tells the remarkable story of this quite unusual chapter in the settling of the Midwest.
Many of these immigrants had no interest in American citizenship but enjoyed or endured the challenging adventure of remaining part of the empire while stranded on the plains. They didn’t mix socially with other Le Mars area residents but enjoyed such sports as horse racing, fox hunts, polo, and an annual derby followed by a glittering grand ball. Their pubs were named the House of Lords, the House of Commons, and Windsor Castle; the Prairie Club was a replica of a London gentlemen’s club, an opera house attracted traveling shows, and their principal hotel was Albion House. In St. George’s Episcopal Church, prayers were offered for the well-being of Queen Victoria.
Problems soon surfaced, however, even for these well-heeled aristocrats. The chief problem was farm labor; there was no native population to exploit, and immigrant workers soon bought their own land. Although sisters might visit the colonists and sometimes marry one of them, appropriate female companionship was scarce. The climate was brutal in its extremes, and many colonists soon sold their acres at a profit and moved to countries affiliated with Britain. When the financial depression in the early 1890s lowered land values and made agriculture less profitable, the colony collapsed. Harnack skillfully draws upon the founder’s “Prairie Journal,” company ledgers, and other records to create an engaging, engrossing story of this quixotic pioneering experiment.
Kazuko Kuramoto was born and raised in Dairen, Manchuria, in 1927, at the peak of Japanese expansionism in Asia. Dairen and the neighboring Port Arthur were important colonial outposts on the Liaotung Peninsula; the train lines established by Russia and taken over by the Japanese, ended there. When Kuramoto's grandfather arrived in Dairen as a member of the Japanese police force shortly after the end of the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, the family's belief in Japanese supremacy and its "divine" mission to "save" Asia from Western imperialists was firmly in place. As a third-generation colonist, the seventeen-year-old Kuramoto readily joined the Red Cross Nurse Corps in 1944 to aid in the war effort and in her country's sacred cause. A year later, her family listened to the emperor's radio broadcast ". . . we shall have to endure the unendurable, to suffer the insufferable." Japan surrendered unconditionally. Manchurian Legacy is the story of the family's life in Dairen, their survival as a forgotten people during the battle to reclaim Manchuria waged by Russia, Nationalist China, and Communist China, and their subsequent repatriation to a devastated Japan. Kuramoto describes a culture based on the unthinking oppression of the colonized by the colonizer. And, because Manchuria was, in essence, a Japanese frontier, her family lived a freer and more luxurious life than they would have in Japan—one relatively unscathed by the war until after the surrender.
As a commentator Kuramoto explores her culture both from the inside, subjectively, and from the outside, objectively. Her memoirs describe her coming of age in a colonial society, her family's experiences in war-torn Manchuria, and her "homecoming" to Japan—where she had never been—just as Japan is engaged in its own cultural upheaval.
The history of the Vine and Olive Colony in Demopolis, Alabama, has long been clouded by romantic myths. The notion that it was a doomed attempt by Napoleonic exiles in America to plant a wine- and olive-growing community in Alabama based on the ideals of the French Revolution, has long been bolstered by the images that have been proliferated in the popular imagination of French ladies (in Josephine-style gowns) and gentlemen (in officer’s full dress uniforms) lounging in the breeze on the bluffs overlooking the Tombigbee River while sturdy French peasants plowed the rich soil of the Black Belt. Indeed, these picturesque images come close to matching the dreams that many of the exiles themselves entertained upon arrival.
But Eric Saugera’s recent scholarship does much to complicate the story. Based on a rich cache of letters by settlement founders and promoters discovered in French regional archives, Reborn in America humanizes the refugees, who turn out to have been as interested in profiteering as they were in social engineering and who dallied with schemes to restore the Bonapartes and return gloriously to their homeland.
The details presented in this story add a great deal to what we know of antebellum Alabama and international intrigues in the decades after Napoleon’s defeat, and shed light as well on the other, less glamorous refugees: planters fleeing from the revolution in Haiti, whose interest was much more purely agricultural and whose lasting influence on the region was far more durable.
Leonard Friesen presents a study of the transformation of New Russia--the region north of the Black and Azov seas--from its conquest by the Russian Empire in the late eighteenth century to the revolutionary tumult of 1905. Friesen is particularly interested in the dynamic and multifaceted relations between the region's peasants, European colonists, and Russian estate owners. He gives special attention to the settlement process whereby once free peasants were enserfed within a generation, as well as the period of servile emancipation after 1861, when the paths of the region's agriculturalists converged in unexpected ways. Overall, Friesen sees the region as vital to an understanding of the empire as a whole. He demonstrates how peasants, nobles, and estate owners were key actors in a series of rural revolutions that eventually threatened the empire itself.
This book contributes to our understanding of Imperial Russia, as well as contemporary Ukraine, by describing and analyzing rural developmental patterns over time. It explores how, when, and why agriculturalists made adjustments to long-established agrarian and social practices, and provides a fresh perspective on the link between the end of empire and the rural developments that preceded it.
Underdeveloping the Amazon shows how different extractive economies have periodically enriched various dominant classes but progressively impoverished the entire region by disrupting both the Amazon Basin's ecology and human communities. Contending that traditional models of development based almost exclusively on the European and American experience of industrial production cannot apply to a regional economy founded on extraction, Stephen G. Bunker proposes a new model based on the use and depletion of energy values in natural resources as the key to understanding the disruptive forces at work in the Basin.
West to Far Michigan is a study of the lower peninsula's occupation by agriculturalists, whose presence forever transformed the land and helped to create the modern state of Michigan. This is not simply a history of Michigan, but rather a work that focuses on why the state developed as it did. Although Michigan is seen today as an industrial state whose history is couched in terms of the fur trade and the international rivalry for the Great Lakes, agricultural settlement shaped its expansion. Using a model of agricultural colonization derived from comparative studies, Lewis examines the settlement process in Michigan between 1815 and 1860. This period marked the opening of Michigan to immigrants, saw the rise of commercial agriculture, and witnessed Michigan's integration into the larger national economy.
Employing numerous primary sources, West to Far Michigan traces changes and patterns of settlement crucial to documenting the large-scale development of southern Michigan as a region. Diaries, letters, memoirs, gazetteers, and legal documents serve to transform the more abstract elements of economic and social change into more human terms. Through the experiences of the early Agriculturists process, we can gain insight into how their triumphs played out in communities within the region to produce small-scale elements that comprise the fabric of the larger cultural landscape.