The Tuscarora War: Indians, Settlers, and the Fight for the Carolina Colonies

The Tuscarora War: Indians, Settlers, and the Fight for the Carolina Colonies

The Tuscarora War: Indians, Settlers, and the Fight for the Carolina Colonies

The Tuscarora War: Indians, Settlers, and the Fight for the Carolina Colonies

Synopsis

At dawn on September 22, 1711, more than 500 Tuscarora, Core, Neuse, Pamlico, Weetock, Machapunga, and Bear River Indian warriors swept down on the unsuspecting European settlers living along the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers of North Carolina. Over the following days, they destroyed hundreds of farms, killed at least 140 men, women, and children, and took about 40 captives. So began the Tuscarora War, North Carolina's bloodiest colonial war and surely one of its most brutal. In his gripping account, David La Vere examines the war through the lens of key players in the conflict, reveals the events that led to it, and traces its far-reaching consequences.
La Vere details the innovative fortifications produced by the Tuscaroras, chronicles the colony's new practice of enslaving all captives and selling them out of country, and shows how both sides drew support from forces far outside the colony's borders. In these ways and others, La Vere concludes, this merciless war pointed a new direction in the development of the future state of North Carolina.

Excerpt

It was a hard place. Geography and climate worked against North Carolina, making it a hot, wet, humid country with more water than dry land. Indians had long adapted to it, but European settlers found it tough going. Down among the pine barrens, dreams that began with so much promise withered in the summer heat. Reality met ideals along the dark rivers and easily trumped them. Cultures clashed and insults could no longer be tolerated. Misery fouled the air and Death stalked all. It brought out the meanness in men, European and Indian alike. Hardscrabble English colonists and hard-pressed Indian peoples found themselves squaring off, each fearing, then hating the other. Then, in September 1711, when the anger and resentment could not be tamped down any longer, they exploded into the Tuscarora War, a notoriously brutal conflict of the American colonial period.

War is a dangerous undertaking and the fortunes of those involved often hang in the balance. This one was no different. the Tuscarora War found a divided and weak North Carolina colony seemingly ripe for the taking. the powerful Tuscarora Indians and their Core, Machapunga, Neuse, Pamlico, Weetock, and Bear River Indian allies appeared unbeatable. and so it degenerated into a war without mercy that pushed both the colony and the Indians of eastern North Carolina to the brink of extinction.

But while nations may wage war, it is fought by men, human beings. and so the Tuscarora War also shaped the fortunes of men’s lives. Some found their property, their careers, and even their lives destroyed. Others saw opportunities to increase their wealth, their prestige, their political power, or all three. the eight men in this story—Christopher de Graffenried of Switzerland, King Hancock of the Tuscaroras, Core Tom of the . . .

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