Tisquantum embodies nearly all aspects of life and death in the British North American mainland colonies before 1776. As an indigenous person, he and his kinfolk suffered high, sometimes catastrophic, death rates from European diseases. As an inhabitant of what became New England, he and other New Englanders were more likely to live longer than their cohorts in other regions. As a man, he stood a greater chance of living longer than a woman because he avoided the life-threatening cycle of pregnancy, birth, and lactation that nearly every woman endured. And as a person who was at one time enslaved, he faced the likelihood of early death from hard work, exposure, malnourishment, and violence against a body he no longer owned. In that way, Tisquantum represents two demographic histories – of native Americans and of English colonists. Using Tisquantum as a starting point, this talk brings together those themes to describe how people lived and died in that portion of North America that became, later, the United States.
This event is sponsored by Cleveland State University and is free and open to the public.