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Following the American Revolution, the new United States government and its citizenry greedily cast their eyes westward across the expansive trans-Appalachian frontier. The contest between the region’s native peoples, Anglo-American westerners, and Spanish colonists for the trans-Appalachian West began long before the first shots of the Revolution were fired at Lexington & Concord. From the near perpetual regional Indian warfare to the diplomatic maneuverings of Euroamerican backcountry leaders, the struggle to control the land the Indians called the “western waters” defined borderland relations for most of the 18th century. Historians have devoted a great deal of scholarly energy to chronicling the actions, motivations, and consequences of the century-long struggle for the trans-Appalachian West from an Anglo-American perspective. More recently, “new Indian historians” have also integrated Amerindian voices into the larger frontier narrative.


Talk delivered at the 2010 Ohio Valley History Conference, Cookeville, TN on October 15, 2010 ** (Please do not quote or cite without permission)