Book number: 94179 Product format: Hardback Author: JAMES HORN

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Bibliophile price £9.00
Published price £25

'The Great Chief Opechancanough and the War for America' is the sub-title of this original combination of cutting edge scholarship and vivid prose. Few individuals, European or Native American, had as much impact on early America as the Pamunkey leader Opechancanough. Generally he plays a brief part as a violent and tragic figure but in contrast renowned historian of early Virginia James Horn reconstructs a remarkable life story that spanned a century at a time when America was digging more deeply into its origins. This eye-opening narrative challenges well-worn tales of Pocahontas and congenial first encounters with a grim record of kidnapping, starvation and total war. In the mid-16th century, Spanish explorers in the Chesapeake Bay kidnapped an Indian youth, took him back to Spain, and subsequently Mexico. During this time abroad, the boy lived in Madrid, Seville, Havana and Mexico City, becoming a favourite of King Philip II and converting to Catholicism. Eventually after nearly a decade he returned to Virginia with a group of Jesuits to help establish a mission. Shortly after arriving however, he abandoned his fellow missionaries, rejoined his family, and soon organised a war party that killed the Spaniards. In the years that followed, Opechancanough, as the English called him, helped establish the most powerful chiefdom in the mid-Atlantic region. When English settlers founded Virginia in 1607 he fought tirelessly to drive them away, leading to a series of wars that spanned the next 40 years, the first Anglo-Indian wars in America, and came close to destroying the colony. But the English settlers proved more resilient than the Spanish missionaries had been 40 years earlier. Additional soldiers, weapons and provisions arrived from England, forcing Opechancanough to continue his offensive for decades. He survived to be nearly 100 years old and died as he lived, fighting the invaders. 296pp, maps and woodcut illustrations.

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ISBN 9780465038909

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