History of Magic in North America, Lesson 2: “The British Invasion”

Mar 09, 2016

Posted by: Catherine

News, Pottermore

Yesterday, Pottermore released the first in a four-part super mini series of background writings from Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling. The first History of Magic in North America writing covered the fourteenth century through the seventeenth century. Today, the new writings cover the 17th Century, or the fist “British Invasion”  (before the Beatles in the 1960s).

In this new writing J.K. Rowling talks about No-Maj/Muggle immigration to the “New World.” Many European witches and wizards came for similar reasons as their No-Maj counter parts. We learn more about what European witches and wizards brought to the North American magical world, and about Ilvermorny. J.K. Rowling writes:


“Firstly, like their No-Maj counterparts, they had come to a country with few amenities, except those they made themselves. Back home, they had only to visit the local Apothecary to find the necessities for potions: here, they had to forage among unfamiliar magical plants. There were no established wandmakers, and Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which would one day rank among the greatest magical establishments in the world, was at that time no more than a rough shack containing two teachers and two students.”


Even more, the Salem witch trials, a piece of history that will weigh heavily on MACUSA in Fantastic Beasts, are not what they think they are. J.K. Rowling writes that witches and wizards persecuted their own, saying:


“The last, and probably the most dangerous problem encountered by wizards newly arrived in North America were the Scourers. As the wizarding community in America was small, scattered and secretive, it had as yet no law enforcement mechanism of its own. This left a vacuum that was filled by an unscrupulous band of wizarding mercenaries of many foreign nationalities, who formed a much-feared and brutal taskforce committed to hunting down not only known criminals, but anyone who might be worth some gold. As time went on, the Scourers became increasingly corrupt. Far away from the jurisdiction of their native magical governments, many indulged a love of authority and cruelty unjustified by their mission…

“The famous Salem Witch Trials of 1692-93 were a tragedy for the wizarding community. Wizarding historians agree that among the so-called Puritan judges were at least two known Scourers, who were paying off feuds that had developed while in America. A number of the dead were indeed witches, though utterly innocent of the crimes for which they had been arrested. Others were merely No-Majs who had the misfortune to be caught up in the general hysteria and bloodlust.”


To read more about this complicated time in American wizarding history, head over to Pottermore.


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