In June 1758, Peter Williamson appeared in Aberdeen, Scotland in the dress of an American Indian and telling a fantastic tale. He claimed he had been kidnapped from the city as child, sold into slavery in North America, taken captive by Delaware Indians, and eventually repatriated to Britain as a prisoner of war. Aberdeen’s magistrates arrested and exiled him, but Williamson used the courts and press to expose Aberdeen’s “kidnapping trade,” and he eventually settled in Edinburgh, where he cultivated a local reputation as “king of the Indians.”
In this talk, Dr. Timothy Shannon will unravel the fact from fiction in Williamson’s odyssey and use it to illustrate how working people in eighteenth-century Britain exploited an empire that was built on exploiting them.
Registration for is $10 for adults and $5 for students and History Center members. Please register online.
Timothy J. Shannon is a Professor of History at Gettysburg College, where he teaches Early American, Native American, and British history. He is the author of several books, including Indian Captive, Indian King: Peter Williamson in America and Britain (2018), Iroquois Diplomacy on the Early American Frontier (2008) and Indians and Colonists at the Crossroads of Empire: The Albany Congress of 1754 (2000). His work has been supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Huntington Library, and the John Carter Brown Library.
For more information, please contact Kathleen Lugarich at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-454-6418.