The Island That Disappeared: Old Providence and the Making of the Western World Tom Feiling
The creation myth of the United States begins with the plucky English puritans who landed on the Mayflower, and went on to build the most powerful nation on earth.This is the story of the passengers aboard its sister ship, the Seaflower, who in 1630, founded a rival puritan colony on an isolated Caribbean island called Providence, convinced that England's empire would rise not in barren New England, but tropical Central America. But their crops failed, their slaves revolted, and as crisis loomed, the worldlier settlers turned to piracy. After ten years of conflict between God-fearing puritans and devil-may-care buccaneers, the Spanish invaded, and the colony was wiped out. Providence was soon forgotten in England, but as Tom Feiling discovers, the same drama was played out by the men and women who re-settled the island 100 years later. These days, Providence is a fascinating microcosm of the Atlantic story. At first glance, it is an island of devout churchgoers - but look a little closer, and you see that it is still dependent on its smugglers. At once intimate and global, this story of puritans and pirates goes to the heart of the contradictory nature of the Caribbean. But The Island that Disappeared also offers telling insights into Britain's history, and the global role that it imagines itself playing post-Brexit.
"A fascinating story with an extraordinarily exotic cast of characters." Andrew Marr
"Tom Feiling engagingly brings the past to life here - his Puritans and pirates are real people, and he interacts easily and unobtrusively with modern islanders and castaways, ferreting our local lore in myriad forms. He has given this tiny anglophone island a clear history, at a time when it might just return to centre stage." Andrew Lambert, TLS