The Island That Disappeared: The Lost History of the Mayflower’s Sister Ship and Its Rival Puritan Colony

Tom Feiling. Melville House, $27.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-61219-708-1
Documentary filmmaker and author Feiling (The Candy Machine) explores centuries of transatlantic life through this vignette-driven history of Providence, an island near Nicaragua that has been variously inhabited by English colonists, Spanish soldiers, pirates, slaves, and their modern-day descendants. For many 17th-century Puritans aboard the Seaflower, the Caribbean seemed more promising than frigid New England. There, the Providence Island Co. was founded in hopes of growing tropical cash crops, securing financial aid for fellow dissenters, and enabling England to break its trade dependence on Portugal and Spain. Yet, as Feiling details, the colony immediately faced difficulties: disgruntled indentured servants, English privateers looking for a home base, and retaliatory Spanish attacks. Feiling also uses the ever-evolving Providence as a lens for examining England’s transformation into a colonial empire. In the book’s final section, Feiling meets Providence’s present-day inhabitants and attempts to uncover legacies of the island’s past, but while he encounters fascinating characters and reflects on globalization and post- colonial neglect, he struggles to extend the insights of his historical sections. Nonetheless, his book holds appeal for readers interested in both Caribbean history and an alternative view of New World settlement. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/29/2018
Release date: 03/20/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
MP3 CD - 978-1-9773-6400-5
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