Magic in North America (MACUSA Approved Guide)

written by Nyx Lumiere

Bringing to light the rich history of the American Wizarding Community.

Last Updated

05/31/21

Chapters

5

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2,729

Middle Age (16th- 17th Century) -- Puritan Awakening

Chapter 2
Wizardkind was aware of America long before the No-Maj “discovery” of the continent. Through magical means such as visions and premonitions, as well a magical travel by broom or Apparition, European and African wizarding communities had establish contact with the Native American magical communities as far back as the Middle Ages.

Like their No-Maj counterparts, European witches and wizards began arriving in larger numbers to America in the 1600s. Although many fled persecution, many found a harsher environment to contend with due to the lack of wizarding stores and specialists such as Apothecaries, the poor relations between the native magical communities and the newly arrived No-Majes, and the Scourers, a ruthless band of wizarding mercenaries willing to turn in any witch or wizard that may be worth some money. These hostilities culminated with the Salem Witch Trials in 1692 and 1693 in which several witches, as well a a few No-Majes, were executed for witch-craft. At least two judges at the trials were two known Scourers.

Established in part by European Puritans seeking religious freedom, No-Maj settlement began in the 1600s. Puritanism was a Muggle Christian religious movement that arose in the late 16th century in England. Its adherents, known as Puritans, sought to purge all traces of Roman Catholic belief and practice from the Church of England.

Some Puritans left England to found colonies in North America.There, they engaged in witch hunts, accusing each other of witchcraft on the basis of little evidence, which struck fear into the hearts of North America’s fledgling wizarding community and helped to largely dissuade Old World pure-blood families from settling on the continent.

Their religious beliefs made them suspicious of magic, which led to the Salem Witch Trials, in which both witches and wizards were executed. The Puritans’ witch hunts culminated in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692-1693.The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft that occurred in No-Maj (Muggle) colonial Massachusetts in the years 1692 and 1693. Some of these women were actually witches, though they were entirely innocent of the crimes of which they were convicted. Others were simply No-Majs unlucky enough to be swept up in a moment of mass hysteria. Most of the judges who presided over the trials were Puritans, but, according to wizarding historians, at least two were actually Scourers seeking to settle personal vendettas against other wizards.

In Depth: Scourers, Formation and Rise to Power

During the 17th century, when North America was just starting to be settled by both non-magic and magic emigrants from Europe, the continent’s wizarding community was small and fragmented. The absence of a centralised wizarding government meant that the North American wizarding community had no effective law enforcement mechanism. To fill this void, wizards and witches of many different nationalities banded together to form the Scourers, a mercenary group which acted as both vigilantes and bounty hunters, tracking down not only wanted criminals, but any person for whom a sufficient reward was offered.

Over time, the Scourers became more and more corrupt, the lack of any form of governmental oversight allowing them to abuse their power and indulge in acts of cruelty, including torture and murder. By the late 17th century, the Scourers’ ranks had grown substantially, and they were spread across America. They engaged in trafficking their fellow wizards, and even resorted to capturing innocent No-Majs and passing them off as wizards, so as to collect bounties from credulous No-Maj witch hunters. Wizarding historians concur that at least two of the judges who presided over the Salem Witch Trials of 1692-1693 were in fact Scourers seeking to settle personal vendettas. News of the Scourers’ activities, and of persecution by Puritans, largely dissuaded pure-blood families on other continents from emigrating to North America.

Dissolution and Ends

In 1693, the prototypical incarnation of the Magical Congress of the United States of America was founded, establishing North America’s first wizarding government. The first task the newly-minted MACUSA set itself to was rounding up the Scourers and bringing them to justice. Many Sourers were put on trial and convicted of crimes such as murder, torture, and wizard-trafficking, for which they were ultimately executed.

However, a number of the most notorious Scourers managed to evade capture despite the international warrants out for their arrest, renouncing the wizarding world and integrating into No-Maj society. Some of them married No-Majs, “winnowing out” any magical children born of these unions, so as to maintain their cover. Now outcast from the wizarding world, these surviving Scourers sought vengeance by instilling an abiding conviction in their descendants that magic actually exists and that wizards and witches ought to be wiped out.

Salem Witch Trials – Legacy & Great Awakaning

The Salem witch trials were a major traumatic event in the history of the wizarding world. They provoked many witches and wizards who had settled in the New World to return to their homelands, and helped to dissuade further immigration for centuries to come, especially by pure-blood families.

The book The Scars of Salem: Essays on the Witch Trials of 1692 contained a collection of essays on the Salem Witch Trials and their lasting impact on the American wizarding community.

The lobby of the MACUSA headquarters in the Woolworth Building in New York featured four golden statues of phoenixes erected in memory of the victims of the Salem witch trials. The Salem memorial stood in the entrance of the Magical Congress of the United States of America, in the Woolworth Building in Manhattan. It was built as a monument paying homage to those persecuted and killed during the Salem witch trials.

It was comprised of a majestic Art Deco-influenced Gothic Revivalbaldachin, flanked by four large golden statues of phoenixes, one on each corner. On the dais beneath the stone canopy, stand life-sized stone statues of the victims of the Salem witch trials, holding hands in a circle.

Founded in the aftermath of The Salem Witch Trials in 1693, the Magical Congress of the United States of America, or MACUSA, is the governing body for the wizarding population of the United States of America. MACUSA first established in North America, a magical world within a non-magical one as seen in other countries, and established an office of Aurors whose first task was to hunt down the Scourers that had betrayed their own kind.
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