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School Library Journal
Four hundred years ago, three settlements were established in North America: by the English at Jamestown in 1607, the French at Quebec in 1608, and the Spanish at Santa Fe in 1609. Each one, though small and extremely fragile at first, survived, expanded, and served a central role in the spread of European culture and influence. This volume serves two purposes well: as a partial catalog of a major traveling exhibit created jointly by the Virginia Historical Society and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, and as a brief history of the three communities from the planning stages to about 1700. Written in consistently accessible prose and beautifully illustrated in full color with reproductions of maps, paintings, illustrations, documents, and photographs of museum artifacts, the book will appeal to readers who have any curiosity about our nation's past. The authors do an excellent job of identifying the similarities and differences in the establishment of the settlements. They pay special attention to how the Europeans interacted with Native peoples, and how their respective political, economic, social, and religious systems and beliefs influenced the development of the intercultural harmony and disharmony that has shaped our society ever since. The book is thoroughly footnoted, includes an exhibition checklist, and is well indexed. It offers a stunning glimpse into the origins of these settlements.
—Robert SaundersonCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.