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This is Who We Were: Colonial America (1492-1775)


This new addition of This is Who We Were: Colonial America, 1492-1775 is the 13th volume in the This is Who We Were series. It includes 25 profiles—spanning more than 250 years—of men, women, and children living and working in the Colonial Era in the country that would become the United States of America.

Like the other works in this series, this volume observes the lives of working Americans, in this case, pilgrims, colonists, settlers, slaves and Native Americans—those who helped shape the history of the country—decade by decade. It covers all ages, a wide range of geographical and social backgrounds, and a variety of professions, some of which focus on fortune, some on fame, and some on survival.

All profiles are supported by dozens of images, and demonstrate the various roles that colonial Americans—Natives, European immigrants, and African slaves—played in laying the groundwork for the establishment of the American project.

Personal Profiles

Each of the 25 profile chapters starts with a brief introduction of the subject, then is divided into three sections:

  • Life at Home: what life was like in the home of individuals profiled, with a particular focus on the early, foundational period of their lives.
  • Life at Work: details typical workday activities, focusing especially on the subjects' efforts to stake out their territory in a historical setting that offered both great opportunities and great difficulties.
  • Life in the Community: offers insights into the individual's community, or neighborhood, as well as information about the settlement or colony in which they lived.

Although the profiles of the 25 individuals in Colonial America are generally fictional, they are deeply informed by original research—personal diaries, historical documents, family histories—and include governmental and demographic statistics and other data that help paint a full portrait of the time period and geographical location where the individuals worked and lived. The text is presented in easy-to-read bulleted format, and supported by hundreds of graphics, from personal photographs to period maps and charts.

Historical Snapshots

A detailed historical snapshot offers a chronology of key economic, social, and political events, plus inventions and innovations, from 1600-1774.

Original 13 Colonies

This section contains more than 100 pages of detailed conditions in each of the 13 colonies. Each colony section includes three distinct sections—Timeline, Colonists, and Natives—and lots of maps and images. This unique section offers the opportunity to understand the challenges of the New World, and how they were navigated.

Economy of the Times

Comprised of five major categories:

  • Selected Incomes
  • Services and Fees
  • Slave Trades
  • Commodities
  • Selected Prices

All Around Us

This section includes reprints of 12 thoughtfully culled primary and secondary sources from the Colonial Era. Gathered from newspapers, diaries, letters, speeches and legal documents, these offer fascinating insights into the lifestyle, culture and emotion of the period.

This volume celebrates the contributions of a wide swath of Americans in shaping the future nation’s development and direction, deepening the understanding of how their actions influenced the world in which we live today. In a detailed fashion, this content helps the reader reflect on the role that colonial actors, both large and small, played in shaping the future of our country, reinforcing the fact that all of us continue to be capable of effecting change in our own community, building a new future for the ongoing American experiment.


View a Full List of Titles from the This is Who We Were Series