When London Was Capital of America

Flavell, Julie
Date published: 
May 2010

In this first-ever portrait of eighteenth-century London as the capital of America, Julie Flavell recreates the famous city’s heyday as the centre of an empire that encompassed North America and the West Indies. The momentous years before independence saw more colonial Americans than ever on London’s streets: wealthy Southern plantation owners in quest of culture, slaves hoping for a chance of freedom, Yankee businessmen looking for opportunities in the city, even Ben Franklin seeking a second, more distinguished career. The stories of the colonials, no innocents abroad, vividly recreate a time when Americans saw London as their own and remind us of the complex, multiracial - at times even decadent - nature of America’s colonial British heritage.