This program will be held in-person at the Newberry and livestreamed on Zoom. The online version of this event will be live captioned.
America’s waterways were once the superhighways of travel and communication. Cutting a central line across the landscape, with tributaries connecting the South to the Great Plains and the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River meant wealth, knowledge, and power for those who could master it. Along the rivers of the midcontinent, Native peoples, imperialists, and settlers operated within complex kinship-based networks of alliance and rivalry.
From the rise of the Mississippian city of Cahokia to the US conquest of the midcontinent in the early 19th century, rivers remained the central feature of the physical landscape and a key to shaping its political landscape. Join us as Jacob Lee examines the intersections of these geographies and the rival efforts to control them, presenting a new history of colonialism and resistance in early America.
Purchase the book Masters of the Middle Waters: Indian Nations and Colonial Ambitions along the Mississippi from the Newberry Bookshop.
The Colonial History Lecture Series is cosponsored by the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Illinois, in partnership with the History Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Jacob F. Lee, associate professor of history at Penn State University, studies early America and the American West, focusing on colonialism and borderlands. This talk is based on his first book, Masters of the Middle Waters: Indian Nations and Colonial Ambitions along the Mississippi, which won the Jon Gjerde Prize from the Midwestern History Association and a Best of Illinois History Award from the Illinois State Historical Society.