Indians and British Outposts in Eighteenth-Century America

Daniel Ingram

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"A refreshing view of the British-Indian frontier in which Indians figure as prominently within the walls of the fort as beyond them."--Colin G. Calloway, Dartmouth College

"By showing the influence of Indians on places that were often designed to impose military and diplomatic power, Ingram complicates the early American experience. If they shaped British policy there, perhaps they shaped it everywhere."--Andrew K. Frank, Florida State University

This fascinating look at the cultural and military importance of British forts in the colonial era explains how these forts served as communities in Indian country more than as bastions of British imperial power. Their security depended on maintaining good relations with the local Native Americans, who incorporated the forts into their economic and social life as well as into their strategies.
Daniel Ingram uses official British records, traveler accounts, archaeological findings, and ethnographic information to reveal native contributions to the forts' stories. Conducting in-depth research at five different forts, he looked for features that seemed to arise from Native American culture rather than British imperial culture. His fresh perspective reveals that British fort culture was heavily influenced, and in some cases guided, by the very people these outposts of empire were meant to impress and subdue.
In this volume, Ingram recaptures the significance of small-scale encounters as vital features of the colonial American story, without arguing their importance in larger imperial frameworks. He specifically seeks to reorient the meaning of British military and provincial backcountry forts away from their customary roles as harbingers of European imperial domination.

Daniel Ingram is assistant professor of history at Ball State University.

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"Succeeds very well in its overall objective of reorienting our perspective on frontier outposts. The uneasy symbiosis of military and native communities at these sites, the ways in which they cooperated in trade and survival, and the reasons why they fought and grew apart are expertly reconstructed in these pages." PA Magazine of History and Biography

"… an innovative and novel study…" Bryan Rindfleisch, H-Net Reviews

"Ingram provides uncommon depth and detail in demonstrating Indian influence at these five forts within the localized world of each community." Journal of American History

"Demonstrates the importance of forts not only for military and imperial history but also for shaping the history and culture of the societies in their regions. His well-written, thoroughly researched book adds considerably to our knowledge of the North American frontier." Journal of Interdisciplinary History

“Offers readers interesting snapshots of life at these five frontier forts, all of them hotly contested places in the mid-eighteenth century… Ingram makes a powerful case for the local nature of the British frontier.” Journal of American Ethnic History

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