While in London in 1705, Robert Beverley wrote and published The History and Present State of Virginia, one of the earliest printed English-language histories about North America by an author born there. Like his brother-in-law William Byrd II, Beverley was a scion of Virginia's planter elite, personally ambitious and at odds with royal governors in the colony. As a native-born American--most famously claiming "I am an Indian"--he provided English readers with the first thoroughgoing account of the province's past, natural history, Indians, and current politics and society. In this new edition, Susan Scott Parrish situates Beverley and his History in the context of the metropolitan-provincial political and cultural issues of his day and explores the many contradictions embedded in his narrative.
Parrish's introduction and the accompanying annotation, along with a fresh transcription of the 1705 publication and a more comprehensive comparison of emendations in the 1722 edition, will open Beverley's History to new, twenty-first-century readings by students of transatlantic history, colonialism, natural science, literature, and ethnohistory.