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A Feudal Domain on the Virginia Frontier: The Germanna Plantation Landscape

Author(s): Kerri S. Barile

Year: 2014

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Alexander Spotswood had a tough job. Born in Africa and of Scottish descent, he was assigned to be the English Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 1710. Upon arrival in the colony, he immediately faced opposition from Virginia-born residents. The battles in the House of Burgesses lead Spotswood to acquire the nickname ‘Arrogante’ and gave him a taste for control. As he began to see his position under threat, he purchased a 30,000-acre tract on what was then the Virginia frontier. He named the surrounding county after himself, Spotsylvania, and built a capacious mansion near the center. At the foot of his terraced garden and as part of his designed landscape, he created the town of Germanna, the county seat. Spotswood’s estate represents a somewhat unique American plantation scenario’that of the feudal owner controlling not only land and people, but an entire town. Germanna was literally at the crossroads of frontier settlement and plantation life.

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A Feudal Domain on the Virginia Frontier: The Germanna Plantation Landscape. Kerri S. Barile. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437198)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-65,03

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America