Lachlan McGillivray, Indian Trader: The Shaping of the Southern Colonial Frontier
On the southern colonial frontier--the lands south of the Carolinas from the Savannah to the Mississippi rivers--Indian traders were an essential commercial and political link between Native Americans and European settlers. By following the career of one influential trader from 1736 to 1776, Edward J. Cashin presents a historical perspective of the frontier not as the edge of European civilization but as a zone of constant change and interaction between many cultures.
Lachlan McGillivray knew firsthand of the frontier's natural wealth and strategic importance to England, France, and Spain, because he lived deep within it among his wife's people, the Creeks. Until he returned to his native Scotland in 1782, he witnessed, and often participated in, the major events shaping the region--from decisive battles to major treaties and land cessions. He was both a consultant to the leaders of colonial Georgia and South Carolina and their emissary to the great chiefs of the Creeks, Cherokees, Choctaws, and Chickasaws.
Cashin discusses the aims and ambitions of the frontier's many interest groups, profiles the figures who catalyzed the power struggles, and explains events from the vantage points of traders and Native Americans. He also offers information about the rise of the southern elite, for in the decade before he left America, McGillivray was a successful planter and slave trader, a popular politician, and a member of the Savannah gentry. Against the panorama of the southern colonial frontier, Edward J. Cashin affirms the importance of traders in regional and international politics and commerce.