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Modern Voices
Betty Wood on the propaganda to settle the New World
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Q: Was there a fair amount of propaganda involved, in terms of how the opportunities in the New World would be presented?
Betty Wood

A: The question was, how do you persuade English people to cross the Atlantic to settle in this wilderness? I think, written propaganda became very, very important to secure investment capital, to try and persuade people to take their lives into their hands, to literally go to the unknown.

Beginning in the middle years of the 16th century, we get a quite enormous amount of literature written sometimes by those who'd visited the New World, sometimes by those who hadn't. The English secured copies of continental European travel accounts, translated these into English. And this propaganda was to be a very, very important component in the English settlement of America from the late 16th century, from the time of Roanoke, to the founding of the last English colony, the colony of Georgia.
Betty Wood
Professor of History
Oxford University

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