Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, AMERICAN HISTORY (oxfordre.com/americanhistory). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2020. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 28 October 2020

Death in Colonial North America: Cross-Cultural Encounterslocked

  • Erik R. SeemanErik R. SeemanDepartment of History, University at Buffalo, State University of New York

Summary

Death is universal yet is experienced in culturally specific ways. Because of this, when individuals in colonial North America encountered others from different cultural backgrounds, they were curious about how unfamiliar mortuary practices resembled and differed from their own. This curiosity spawned communication across cultural boundaries. The resulting knowledge sometimes facilitated peaceful relations between groups, while at other times it helped one group dominate another.

Colonial North Americans endured disastrously high mortality rates caused by disease, warfare, and labor exploitation. At the same time, death was central to the religions of all residents: Indians, Africans, and Europeans. Deathways thus offer an unmatched way to understand the colonial encounter from the participants’ perspectives.

Subjects

  • US Colonial and Revolutionary History

You do not currently have access to this article

Login

Please login to access the full content.

Subscribe

Access to the full content requires a subscription