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Challenge Words - Colonial Research Associates Challenge Words - Colonial Research Associates

Challenge Words

Challenge Words for Hope of Freedom:

Southern Blacks and the American Revolution

Chapter One: Africans came first to Florida

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Infamous: To have an extremely evil or bad reputation. In this case, it’s the story of a Dutch slave ship that was thought to have brought the first African slaves to North America in 1619. But rather than be famous for this action, the ship in this story is infamous because the nature of what it did was so terrible.

Chapter Two: A Spanish safe haven in Florida

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Land Disputes: To dispute is to argue, debate, or quarrel over an object or topic. In this case, the dispute was over a large area of land that both England and Spain believed belonged to them. Back then, nations and empire didn’t take matters to court –disputes of this size were typically settled on the battlefield.

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Maintain their freedom: To maintain something is to keep in existence that which we already have; to preserve it and guard it; to fight for it, if necessary. In this case, slaves who could make their way to Spanish Florida were granted their freedom. But in order to keep it, they had to fulfill the three conditions required by the Spanish Crown: take an oath of loyalty to Spain, take their place in the Spanish militia, and convert to Catholicism.

Extending: In this case, to offer assistance. Spain ruled that English slaves who reached Florida would be protected by royal decree and the Spanish army. They extended this offer in the same manner that one person extends a helping hand to another. Without such protection they could have been recaptured.

Boosting: To increase or raise. Florida’s population had never been very large, but by offering refuge to these runaway slaves, the colony’s numbers grew more quickly.

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Carved Out: Carving is the action of slicing small pieces off of a larger object. In this case, the colony of Georgia was created by “carving” it out of, or slicing it off of, the larger colony of South Carolina.

Buffer Zone: Normally, a buffer zone refers to a neutral area created between two potentially hostile nations or governments. In this case, the colony of Georgia belonged to Great Britain and was established to create a buffer between St. Augustine and Charles Town. This should give us a clear picture of how important Charles Town was to the British Empire.

Brewing: Brewing is the process of making beverages (coffee, tea, beer, etc.) by boiling, steeping, soaking, and/or cooking the ingredients in water. But it also means to bring ideas and conceptions together in order to “brew” a plot or scheme. Anger can be brought to a boil as easily as any liquid.

Chapter Three: 1763: Drastic change for Blacks in the Southern Colonies

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Gambled: To have risked losing something of value (in this case, the entire colony of Florida) on the outcome of events too uncertain to guarantee success.

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Southernmost tip: To be at or very near the farthest southern end of an object or location. In this case, the smaller islands of the Caribbean Sea, known as the Lesser Antilles (an-TIL-ease), form a chain of islands that resemble a long tail that curves southwestward, from Puerto Rico to just off the coast of South America. Grenada is the very last island in the chain, at the southern end of the tail.

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Erupted: Just as a volcano builds up pressure until it blows sky-high (erupts), tensions between people and governments can build until something blows, in this case the governments of Spain and Great Britain were unhappy with the trade agreements between them. After several years of tolerating the situation, the two empires became so angered that war erupted between them.

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Rooted in the Social Structure: To be deeply embedded in a society’s make-up; immovable and unshakable; only impacted by significant, historic events of social upheaval or change.

Chapter Four: British proclamations of “Freedom”

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Shoring up Breastworks: We know what breastworks were from the information on page 17. To shore up the breastworks meant to provide additional support. This may have been as simple as packing more dirt around the existing breastwork, or it might have meant clearing it out completely and rebuilding it.

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Intra-Costal: America’s oceanic shorelines make up a significant amount of our nation’s borders. This means that our shorelines are not inside our borders, but rather part of the borders themselves; the borders of a single nation. This makes them intra-coastal, running along and forming a single border. Our interstate highways, on the other hand, are named as such because they cross many borders of many states, all of which are inside our national borders.

Chapter Five: For those who found freedom…?

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Earthworks: Defensive mounds of dirt and rubble that soldiers can hide behind while they fight. They are often built up in a long line so that an entire army can crouch behind them for protection while they re-load their muskets.

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Protocol: In this case, the word protocol refers to the formal standards of behavior, procedure, and chain-of-command for properly authorizing new governmental policies.

Chapter Six: In the service of the Crown

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Regular army: The word “regulars” was used during this era for any military unit that was made up of men who had made the army their career, as opposed to militia who were part-time soldiers and often went home after a battle or short term contract. The term seasoned regulars is used for those who had seen action often enough that the initial fears of battle no longer controlled their emotions; fighting had become a job and they did their jobs well, without asking questions. When Paul Revere and William Dawes rode from Boston to Lexington to warn of a British army marching toward the town, they didn’t yell, “The British are coming!” This wouldn’t have made much since because everyone in the colony was a British subject. What they shouted was, “The regulars are coming!” so that the towns’ people would understand just how serious the situation was.

Bode: A forecast relating to an upcoming or ongoing situation; an indication or foretelling of how things will go. The East Florida Rangers positive attitude about arming blacks foretold, or was a forecast, of the success they would have later on the battlefield because of the addition of these brave fighting men to their unit.

Rustled: This word is most often used today to describe the light movement of something, such as when leaves in a tree move in a slight breeze. But in this case it refers to the stealing of livestock (most often cattle), and moving them as quietly as possible in order not to alarm whoever owned the animals.

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Booty: From the Old French, butin, which meant to plunder, gain, or profit. As used in the Revolutionary era, it was a reference to goods and money taken by force, most often as the spoils of war by the winning side. It could also refer to valuables plundered from helpless people by armies in retreat or simply marching from one location to the next.

Chapter Seven: Taking control of their own destinies

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Unfathomable: A fathom is a measurement of depth in a body of water. Once the water became deep enough it was declared unmeasurable, or unfathomable. In this case, the word is used to describe anything that we can’t comprehend; something we can’t imagine or even begin to understand.


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Subjects: People who are under, or subjected, to the rule of a sovereign or monarch (king, queen, or other supreme ruler). In this case, the British people and British colonists were subjects of King George III. In the United States there is no one single supreme authority or sovereign that we are subject to, making our inhabitants citizens rather than subjects.