1. Introduction: Fish, Faith ‘n Fur

Pilgrim treaty with the Indians

In November of 1620, the Mayflower carrying the Pilgrims landed in the New World. There were people living there. The two groups approached each other cautiously, exchanging hostages.  The Wampanoag sought to balance the dominance of the powerful Narragansett.  The colonists sought to ensure security for their fledgling settlement.  On April 1, 1621, they agreed upon an alliance of mutual support.  Click HERE for the text of the Treaty with Massasoit.

The nine rocky Isles of Shoals of the Atlantic coast of NH  played a larger role in history than their size implies. Because the surrounding cold, deep Atlantic waters yielded an abundant crop of large fish, the treeless Isles were an ideal stopping point for fishermen — at first, historians assume, for Native Americans, then Vikings, certainly for Europeans of many nations. Early among them was the adventurer  John Smith.


Captain John Smith


More than just settling Jamestown in Virginia and exploring New England, John Smith’s books and maps may have been as important as his deeds, as they encouraged more Englishmen and women to follow the trail he had blazed and to colonize the New World. He gave the name New England to that region, and encouraged people with the comment, “Here every man may be master and owner of his owne labour and land…If he have nothing but his hands, he may…by industrie quickly grow rich.” His message attracted millions of people in the next four centuries. [Wikipedia: read more…]

Principle among the interests of settlers was the North American Fur Trade, the industry and activities related to the acquisition, exchange, and sale of animal furs in the North American continentIndigenous peoples of different regions traded among themselves in the Pre-Columbian Era, but Europeans participated in the trade beginning from the time of their arrival in the New World and extended its reach to Europe. The French started trading in the 16th century, the English established trading posts on Hudson Bay in present-day Canada in the 17th century, and the Dutch had trade by the same time in New Netherland. The 19th-century North American fur trade, when the industry was at its peak of economic importance, involved the development of elaborate trade networks and companies. This business would lead to much of the conflict of empires that dominated several centuries of North American expansion [Wikipedia: read more…]  [A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BEAVER TRADE]

There was a great deal of imperial rivalry among the great European powers which lead to this exploration.  See Wikipedia’s COLONIAL HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.





Faith was primary in establishing the sense of American identity as a divinely chosen people with a providential destiny.  It was on board the Arabella, 1630, heading for Massachusetts Bay, the Puritan leader John Winthrop gave his often hear remark of being a bright city upon a hill:

For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken… we shall be made a story and a by-word throughout the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God… We shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us til we be consumed out of the good land whither we are a-going.  [Wikipedia: read more:…]

PowerPoint presentation (no audio) : FAITH, FISH ‘N FUR [Recovered]

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This course is not only about dates and locations, it’s also about your family story.  The narrative of your American Dream and how it is part of the national narrative of Manifest Destiny will be part of our conversations.

I have always been interested in American expansion and the rational for it.  My father had served in the civil government of the American occupation of the Philippine Islands, from 1898 to 1922.  Here’s a picture of him with the Sultan of Sulu, the southern islands.



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