At the beginning of the 1650s, England was in ruins - wrecked, impoverished, grief-stricken by plague and civil war. But the Restoration saw the end of political freedom, and brought in its place spies, war, rebellion and treachery. What started out as a heaven was soon to become one of the cruellest places on earth.
At the beginning of the 1650s, England was in ruins - wrecked, impoverished, grief-stricken by plague and civil war. Yet shimmering on the horizon was an intoxicating possibility, a vision of paradise- Willoughbyland.
Ambitious and free-thinking adventurers poured in, attracted by the toleration, the optimism, the rich soil and the promise of the gold of El Dorado. It was England's most hopeful colony.
But the Restoration saw the end of political freedom, and brought in its place spies, war, rebellion and treachery. The advent of racial slavery poisoned everything. What started out as a heaven was soon to become one of the cruellest places on earth.
The history of Willoughbyland is a microcosm of empire, its heady attractions and fatal dangers.
MATTHEW PARKER's acclaimed books include Goldeneye- Where Bond Was Born - Ian Fleming's Jamaica; Hell's Gorge; Monte Cassino and The Sugar Barons. Born in Central America in 1970, he spent part of his childhood in the West Indies. He has written for most British newspapers, as well as History Today, BBC History Magazine and the Literary Review. He lectures around the world and contributes to television and radio programmes in the UK and America.
I: Foreword: Suriname River, 2014 One: 'Every Man's Longing' Two: El Dorado Three: Ralegh and the 'Beautiful Empire of Guiana' Four: The Heirs of Ralegh Five: Ralegh's Last Voyage Six: Francis Lord Willoughby Seven: 'A Brave Land' Eight: 'A Peculiar Form of Government' Nine: The Restoration: 'A Tumbling and Rolling World' Ten: Repression and Revolt Eleven: Aphra Behn, Agent 160 Twelve: Sugar, Slavery and Oroonoko Thirteen: The Return of Willoughby Fourteen: War and Ruin Fifteen: Astrea and Celadon Sixteen: The Fall of Fort Willoughby Seventeen: Victory and Anguish II: Postscript III: Acknowledgements IV: List of Illustrations V: Source Notes VI: Select Bibliography of Printed Sources VII: Index
"Parker has trawled the letters and literature, and travelled out to Suriname, and the result is a miniature masterpiece....this is a truly extraordinary tale and, in Parker's hands, it's beautifully told. With great wit and scholarship he reveals - just for a moment - a cruel and curious world, before it vanishes again beneath the trees." The Spectator "An excellent account...Willoughbyland is popular history at its best." Literary Review "A fascinating tale of courage and desperation, cruelty and betrayal, and it was all sparked by the search for the legendary city of gold, El Dorado." Event, Mail on Sunday "The author has written several other highly enjoyable histories of the Caribbean, and he is on fine and colourful form here." Sunday Times "A fascinating tale...Matthew Parker is an entertaining historian who has produced a lively account." Daily Express
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