An imaginative retelling of London’s history, framed through the experiences of Indigenous travelers who came to the city over the course of more than five centuries
“Thrush has certainly offered a powerful corrective to the usual geographies imagined for Indigenous people in the past, as well as a new layer to the palimpsest history of Britain’s imperial capital.”—Kate Fullagar, William and Mary Quarterly
London is famed both as the ancient center of a former empire and as a modern metropolis of bewildering complexity and diversity. In Indigenous London, historian Coll Thrush offers an imaginative vision of the city's past crafted from an almost entirely new perspective: that of Indigenous children, women, and men who traveled there, willingly or otherwise, from territories that became Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States, beginning in the sixteenth century. They included captives and diplomats, missionaries and shamans, poets and performers. Some, like the Powhatan noblewoman Pocahontas, are familiar; others, like an Odawa boy held as a prisoner of war, have almost been lost to history. In drawing together their stories and their diverse experiences with a changing urban culture, Thrush also illustrates how London learned to be a global, imperial city and how Indigenous people were central to that process.