"Frontier Life, Early Expansion and Rivalries" is the first part of Colonial America, a five-module resource featuring all 1,450 files forming the CO 5 class at The National Archives, UK. Covering the period 1606-1822, CO 5 consists of the original correspondence between the Board of Trade and Secretaries of State and the English, later British, colonies in North America and the Caribbean.
According to the publisher (sponsored webinar, published September 29, 2015), the first module spans the dates 1606 through 1793 (bulk 1640–1755). The subject material covers diplomatic and colonial history, as well as information on cultural history. Examples given of topics included: the beginning and expansion of English settlements on the east coast; development of colonial institutions within those settlements; relations with native Americans; records of piracy; the French & Indian War; cultural life, trade and taxation, and other material. The collection includes a range of newspapers from the colonies as well as England contained within the original archive. Maps have also been included, copied into a separate gallery with rich metadata for focused exploration.
The first module of the collection will be fully published in September 2015, with the remaining modules to be completed by 2019.
CO5: Colonial America
- Module 1: Frontier Life, Early Expansion and Rivalries (Published 2015)
- Module 2: Towards Revolution: Disputes and Origins of the Conflict (Published 2016)
- Module 3: The American Revolution and its Aftermath (Published 2017)
- Module 4: Legislation and Politics in the Colonies (Published 2018)
- Module 5: Growth, Trade and Development (Published 2019)
The CO 5 class files consists mainly of bound volumes of individual documents (letters, lists, bills, minutes of legislative proceedings, etc...) often running to hundreds per volume. Adam Matthew reports, that to maximize the usability of the resource for scholars, they are "indexing each volume by splitting it up into sub-sections, each consisting of an individual document or small cluster of linked documents."
The collection will provide access to letters, financial documents, shipping lists, orders to officials, court records, charters and commissions, instructions to officials, military documents (including war diaries), newspapers, printed pamphlets (broadsides and speeches), public notices and proclamations, texts of acts of assemblies, land grants and cadastral lists, maps and building plans, and petitions.
The documents should shed light on various aspects of life in colonial America – political, economic, military, cultural and social – covering such topics as:
- The development of colonial institutions
- Colonial legislation
- Economic and industrial development
- Settlers’ relationships with Native Americans
- English/British relations with the Dutch, French and Spanish
- Trade and protectionism
- Militias, garrisons and military preparedness
- Alliances and diplomacy
- Peace negotiations
- Naval matters
- Piracy and privateering
- Tobacco, sugar and other commodities
- Religious matters
- Slavery and the slave trade
- Non-British immigration
- Surveying and exploration
- Colonial relationships with the British government
- The Glorious Revolution
In addition, users will have access to "contextual essays" by academic scholars, biographical resources on leading colonial and governmental personalities, and an interactive gallery displaying the numerous maps in the CO 5 collection.