European domination of the atlantic world-Colonial Governance in the Atlantic World - Atlantic History - Oxford Bibliographies

Historians have traditionally agreed with Smith that these were two of the most important turning points in world history. They go a long way in explaining the gradual ascent of a wealthy, powerful, and imperial Europe. These events led to the emergence of the first-ever completely global market, one that fierce international rivals sought to dominate. Europe eventually found itself at the center of the global economic network, commanding large empires. The most important motive for early European exploration across the Atlantic was the dream of enormous riches.

European domination of the atlantic world

European domination of the atlantic world

European domination of the atlantic world

Sexiest strip videos Aztec nobles delivered the ransom, the treacherous Cortez killed Moctezuma and set about conquering central Mexico. Instead, European powers divided regions along urban-rural lines and instituted separate systems of government in each area. Our appraisal opens when some people mostly Christian people were beginning to comprehend the extent of, and possibilities presented by, the ocean that had once divided the continents of Europe and Africa from the Americas, and it closes when the integrity that had emerged in the Atlantic world was threatened by novel political, economic, p. Morel detailed the atrocities in multiple articles and books. Caltech's Philip Hoffmanthe European domination of the atlantic world A. In fact, colonies were themselves often levers of military power—sources of military supplies and of military manpower and bases for navies and merchant marines. In certain cases, as in Indiathe colonial power directed all decisions related to foreign policy and defense, while the indigenous population controlled most aspects of internal administration.

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A notable feature of this commercial system was the degree to which the informal, illicit, contraband sector evaded formal, regulated, and official constraints. They also demonstrate that massive population losses suffered by Native American peoples were due as much to exploitation, maltreatment, and unthinking environmental destruction perpetrated by the conquerors, as to warfare and the impact of Old World diseases. It looks at European conquests of Native American populations in North and South Americahow some Native Americans contributed to the Atlantic trading world that flourished from the later seventeenth century onwards, the slave trade and importation of slaves from Africa, human settlement in America, and the re-segmentation of the Atlantic world of the eighteenth century into multiple polities. But the narrative is also one of survival since the essays collectively show that Native American loss of influence was seldom total or immediate, and that recovery and retrenchment proved possible for many who continued to shape their destinies throughout the period. All Rights Reserved. Armitage, David, and Michael J. Captives then frequently passed through several hands before they eventually reached a slave-trading port on the Atlantic coastline where an African merchant would sell them to a European slave trader who, Pubescent teen nudes turn, would convey his purchase to whichever American destination held out the prospect of best profit to the trader. Imports of African slaves increased over the latter half of the 17 th European domination of the atlantic world and into the 18 th. It came as quite a shock to them when the slaves revolted, European domination of the atlantic world their refusal to let go of the colony led to a year war that eventually devastated the landscape that had been so profitable. Essentially, the overwhelming majority of European emigrants to America, including indentured servants, but excluding convict migrants and those rounded up for expulsion in the aftermath of war, exercised some degree of choice concerning travel to America.

This essay explores how historians have come to move beyond national histories with transnational approaches.

  • The Atlantic slave trade was one of the most important examples of forced migration in human history.
  • Four historians offer their expert opinions
  • Beginning in the fifteenth century, people, plants, pathogens, products, and cultural practices — just to mention some key agents — began to move regularly back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean.
  • .

  • .

This essay explores how historians have come to move beyond national histories with transnational approaches. For early American historians this has involved consideration of how the Atlantic world connected and affected societies in early modern Europe, Africa, and the Americas. The essay argues that there was not one but rather many different Atlantic worlds, shaped by the position, experiences, and perspective of each individual.

Using the example of three Africans who found themselves in late-eighteenth-century Scotland, the essay illustrates how these different Atlantics — not just African, North American and European, but also religion, economic, and ideological — can be traced and unraveled in individual lives.

Portuguese, Spanish, English, French, and Dutch sailors, traders and colonists fanned out across Europe, to parts of Asia, West and later East Africa, and the islands and mainland of the New World, before venturing beyond them into the Pacific. The developing modern nation states of Europe may have built upon medieval foundations, but they were contingent upon active engagement with an ever-expanding world, and the importance of the oceans that connected nations and continents was clear for all to see.

In the United States, in particular, an ideology of American exceptionalism developed, memorably articulated by Alexis de Tocqueville, who lauded the unique role and significance of the United States 1. During the nineteenth century the United States and Great Britain spent relatively little time looking at one another across the Atlantic, or meditating upon how the ocean connected the two nations.

Britain urbanized and industrialized at a phenomenal rate, and built an extensive overseas empire to provide the home islands with raw materials and markets. The United States looked inward and westward at a vast internal empire, conquering much of the North American continent in the name of manifest destiny, and fighting a bitter and bloody Civil War over the shape that this empire of liberty would assume.

The American Studies Association launched an International Initiative in , and recent ASA presidents have promoted the transnational turn in their presidential addresses. Thus, even while they struggled to preserve imperial dominion in India and Asia, Britons in the lates embraced a political vision of the Northern Atlantic world that bound together the United States and the British Isles while much of Western Europe succumbed to fascism, an oceanic union that culminated in the Atlantic Charter of The histories of individual nations became less significant than the commercial, political, racial and other histories of an Atlantic world that was not confined within national borders.

Historians saw similar processes at work in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as the English and then the British and their colonists defined themselves externally against the Spanish and the French, and internally against the Native Americans and the Africans they conquered and ruled. Encountering others around the Atlantic rim — from Ireland to the Chesapeake to Jamaica to West Africa — enabled the English and their colonists to develop a range of different yet intimately related English, British and North American identities.

Long before residents of the British Isles had begun traversing the Atlantic Ocean, the inhabitants of this provincial island group knew a great deal about the world beyond their shores.

Elizabethan and Jacobean England was a society that knew about the expulsion of the Moors from Spain; traded with North Africa; invested in the Levant Company; and followed and even participated in the war between the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire.

White had painted, for example, a heavily tattooed Pictish warrior triumphantly holding a severed human head; a colorfully dressed Uzbek man; a Greek woman holding a rose and a pomegranate; and veiled Turkish women and a Turkish man armed with a scimitar. His evocative illustrations of the peoples, the flora and the fauna of the New World were often no more — and perhaps even less — exotic than those of people across oceans other than the Atlantic, and they bore witness to early modern English connections with all manner of peoples and cultures 5.

At least initially neither Africans nor indigenous Americans imagined the Atlantic and its possibilities in quite the ways that Europeans could and did, and in a very real way it was thus the Europeans who created the Atlantic 6. Rather, it is to recognizethe degree of agency and power exercised by Europeans as they navigated and used the Atlantic, first as explorers, then as settlers, traders, warriors and agents of nation and empire.

The Europeans enjoyed economic and military supremacy, but given that society and culture are fashioned by victims as well as victors, less powerful Europeans, Africans and indigenous Americans played significant roles in shaping the new societies of the Euro-American Atlantic world.

Alden Vaughan has recently studied the twenty-five or so Powhatan Indians who travelled from early-seventeenth-century Virginia to England as either guests of the Virginia Company or as official envoys of the Powhatan Nation, and it is clear that their reports back to their own people had a revolutionary effect on Powhatan understanding of not just the European invaders but also of the Powhatan themselves and their place in the world, and of the Atlantic as the force that both separated and brought the English and the Powhatan together.

It was not simply standing on the shore watching European ships off the eastern shore of North America that changed the Powhatan, but rather travel across the Atlantic and direct engagement with other Atlantic societies 7. While trade, smuggling and warfare regularly drew Britons beyond their own particular Atlantic, the British North Atlantic became an ever more self-assured construction. John Elliott has suggested that we think in terms of three different early modern Atlantic worlds: a northern European Atlantic, a Spanish Atlantic, and a Luso-Atlantic linking Lisbon to Brazil.

It was, he suggests, only in the late-seventeenth and early-eighteenth centuries that the African slave trade helped merge these Atlantics, and Elliott argues for a larger and more comparative Atlantic framework 8. A Braudelian perspective on the Atlantic would support Elliott, yet with the exceptionof some work on the slave trade, few historians of Northern Europe and North America have comprehended a sub-equatorial Atlantic as part of the world they study.

At least one-third and possibly nearly one-half of the Africans who crossed the Atlantic in chains were bound for South America. And over time, the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean and Americas and West Africans constructed their own sense of an Atlantic world and their relationship with it. Some of the most exciting future research is likely to explore how these various Atlantics were aligned or misaligned, and the effects on the rather more tangible economic, social and political networks that bound the communities of the Atlantic rim together.

Such work can operate from within nationalist historiography, and work on the slave trade and on seafarers has shown some of the potential of such an approach. When they abandoned the sea and began new lives ashore at home or in the colonies, they surely carried with them remarkably rich experiences of the diversity of many Atlantic worlds: if they defined themselves and their society and culture in nationalist Atlantic terms, they did so in the context of their often extensive knowledge of foreign Atlantic worlds.

We must continue to move Atlantic history beyond the parochial and the national, allowing it to feature in and illuminate world history as a whole. By thinking more profoundly than we have about the creation and collision of different Atlantic worlds, which when merged created something far greater than the sum of their parts, we can learn a great deal more about how Europeans, Africans and the people of the Americas came to make sense of their first encounters and their subsequent relationships, as their pre-Columbian worlds exploded.

The Africans and African Americans who found themselves in Scotland provide some compelling examples. The trade in and for such people, as well as their labour on New World plantations, helped to create the commercial empire that defined the British, French, Spanish and Portuguese Atlantic worlds. Yet the experiences and varying degrees of agency of Africans in these Atlantic worlds have often been ignored by historians. In the Virginian planter Robert Shedden took a young male slave named Jamie Montgomerie to Scotland, to be trained as a carpenter Montgomerie joined the local church and was baptized by John Witherspoon, the eminent Presbyterian cleric who would later take over Princeton University and sign the Declaration of Independence.

Witherspoon gave the slave a certificate testifying to his good Christian conduct. His training complete, Montgomerie refused to return with his master to Virginia, but he was taken from his bed, bound, and dragged behind a horse to Port Glasgow, where he was put aboard a ship bound for the Chesapeake.

The unfortunate Montgomerie sued for his freedom, and the procurator fiscal was appointed to act for him, but before the case could be heard Jamie fell ill and he died in the Edinburgh Tollbooth on 4 January Jamie Montgomerie had grown up in Virginia where he would have known men and women born in Africa, perhaps including one or even both of his parents.

He had been unable to challenge his slave status in Virginia. But when he moved across the Atlantic he entered a rather different society, albeit one as keenly connected to and informed by the Atlantic as were West Africa and Virginia. For five years, living and working in Scotland, Jamie Montgomerie did not question his enslaved status: it was only when he was threatened with a return to Virginia and to the conditions of New World slavery, that he rebelled. David Dalrymple After spending a year in Scotland Tom was baptized as David Spens, presumably taking his name from Harry Spence, the minister who baptized him.

When Dalrymple sought to return his slave to the West Indies Spens refused, and he was supported by various church members who agreed that his Christianity was incompatible with slavery. Wedderburn had declared slavery to be incompatible with Scots law, Africans and African Americans cast ashore in Scotland still did not fare well. George Dale, whose original name was Aino, had been born in central West Africa but along with several siblings he was captured by slave raiders in about , when he was roughly eleven years of age Transported in chains to Jamaica, he escaped from a cruel master named McColl and served a term on the Hercules , a British privateer in need of crewmen.

Upon arrival in Scotland, however, a nation in which slavery was no longer countenanced, McColl dismissed Dale. Although still a young man, probably no more than thirty years of age when he gave an account of his life in , Dale had been ravaged by an Atlantic world whose trade in people and goods had used him and rendered him lame. By this date there were approximately fifteen thousand looms operating in and around Glasgow, each employing approximately nine men, women and children Did Dale even realize that at least some of the fabric that he helped to produce was destined for West African markets, where it would contribute to the very slave trade that had ripped him from his home and family and cast him out into an Atlantic world that defined and destroyed him?

For while only a few Africans and mulattoes traveled directly from Africa to Britain, the large majority of those who did had spent time in the Caribbean or North America, usually as slaves. This is a distinction that few historians have noticed or inquired into, but it places such people within the relatively small cohort of early modern people with direct personal experience of Africa, the New World and Europe.

It is all but impossible for a historian today to amass the language skills or to master the diverse secondary literatures in a way that makes a comprehensive Atlantic history possible, for the Atlantics of the African, Iberian, Western European, Caribbean, North American, Central American and South American worlds were enormously different.

What is more practical is an approach that recognizes how different social and cultural forces brought such worlds together. Building out from the examples of individuals such as Jamie Montgomerie, David Spens, and George Dale, we can see how the Atlantic worlds of West Africa, of the middle passage of the transatlantic slave trade, of plantation slavery in the New World, of life and work aboard the ships that traversed the very ocean itself, of religion, work and respectability in Europe, all came together and were experienced by individuals who enjoyed relatively little freedom and agency, but yet were actors in these different Atlantic worlds.

By pursuing research into religion, political ideology and ideologies of rights, and both free and unfree labour, we may begin to enhance our understanding of how Atlantic worlds shaped the early modern world. Braddick, ed. I am grateful to John W. Cairns, who highlighted this case in a seminar on slavery in Scotland presented to the Department of History, University of Pennsylvania, 9 November Publishing Limited, , pp. Simon P. Colloques Edited by Sir John Sinclair, Volume Haut de page.

Auteur Simon P. Newman University of Glasgow Haut de page.

Like in Mexico, slaves traveled with the conquistadors of Peru. And what are the lingering effects on the modern world? If one accepts this timeline, the rise of Europe was based on access to resources especially energy and technologies. A brief history of daylight saving time. We should note here that slavery in Brazil was justified by the need for labor, but slavery was rarely defended on racial grounds; for the Portuguese the key issue was legal status, not race.

European domination of the atlantic world

European domination of the atlantic world

European domination of the atlantic world

European domination of the atlantic world

European domination of the atlantic world

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The several authors in this volume seek to describe, explain, and, occasionally, challenge conventional wisdom concerning these path-breaking developments from the late fifteenth to the early nineteenth century. While contributors benefit from an outpouring of recent scholarship devoted to Atlantic History, this volume is more ambitious than anything previously published, since it covers many themes and topics, spans a vast chronological spread, and operates on an extensive geographical canvas.

Our appraisal opens when some people mostly Christian people were beginning to comprehend the extent of, and possibilities presented by, the ocean that had once divided the continents of Europe and Africa from the Americas, and it closes when the integrity that had emerged in the Atlantic world was threatened by novel political, economic, p.

It is arranged into rough, schematic periods—which we have labelled emergence, consolidation, integration, and disintegration—although some essays straddle a number of these stages. One of the goals of this introduction is to highlight some of the seminal developments within the Atlantic world during the period under review, thus providing a fresh narrative framework for the study of Atlantic history. While bringing readers up to date with current scholarship, this volume also aims to be mould breaking, not least in adumbrating a narrative for the study of this broadly conceived subject.

A sequence of essays shows how, over the course of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries, several Atlantic worlds, each with distinctive features but also sharing much in common, were fashioned. Later contributors make the case that each of these worlds, which had achieved a degree of self-sufficiency, was gradually absorbed into a larger unit of interdependency until a single functioning Atlantic world, shaped and continuously influenced to varying degrees by European, African, and American peoples, flourished through much of the eighteenth century.

A final cluster of chapters suggest that the interconnectedness of this world explains why challenge and collapse in any given part usually led to significant disruption of neighbouring areas, if not of the entire system.

This introduction brings this preferred narrative into focus while it also alludes to the Atlantic dimension that emerges when developments in any given area are considered comparatively or in a broad oceanic context.

The particulars discussed in this collection will be familiar to those acquainted with what was once known as the History of European Overseas Expansion. To this extent the established narratives remain in place: Europeans, and their relatively superior technologies, are credited with achieving mastery over an ocean that had previously acted as a barrier against human endeavour; Europeans are acknowledged to have been the driving force behind the overthrow of the Aztec, the Inca, and other Native American empires; Native American peoples succumbed disastrously to pathogens borne by Europeans and Africans; and African slaves were the most obvious victims and instruments of the European-dominated colonization that shaped the Atlantic world.

However the dominant Eurocentric model is challenged by essays that demonstrate the persistent influence over their destinies exercised by Native Americans and Africans until well into the eighteenth century. Received wisdom is therefore modified in light of the better appreciation of the part played by Native Americans and Africans in shaping the course of events. These essays show that successive European conquests of Native American populations in North and South America succeeded only because small groups of determined, yet vulnerable, European adventurers who promoted them could form alliances p.

They also demonstrate that massive population losses suffered by Native American peoples were due as much to exploitation, maltreatment, and unthinking environmental destruction perpetrated by the conquerors, as to warfare and the impact of Old World diseases. But while they do nothing to conceal the tragic and the sordid, succeeding authors explain how some of the indigenous populations endured the onslaught.

Thus, to cite cases where the challenge was extreme; on the West Indian islands where Spanish destruction was most complete, some of the native populations survived either by melding with the peoples of other islands, or by retreating and intermingling with inhabitants on the mainland, or by contributing their genes and values to the children born of interracial unions; similarly, in coastal Brazil many natives endured Portuguese intrusion by withdrawing into the Amazonian interior.

The history of native societies and habitats through our period is, therefore, one of continuous change and adaptation rather then termination.

The changes that essayists identify are: the development of genetic intermixtures; shifts in territories; the formation of novel political alliances among Native American peoples, and sometimes between Native Americans and European partners; the adoption by Native Americans of European weapons and technologies; the increased involvement of Native Americans in exchanges triggered by European demand for American commodities; the destruction of traditional environments especially resulting from the introduction of European livestock, vegetation, and agrarian technologies; and massive population losses suffered by Native Americans, regardless of their geographic location, due to their exposure to the various crowd disease pathogens that Europeans and Africans carried with them unwittingly from the Old World.

But the narrative is also one of survival since the essays collectively show that Native American loss of influence was seldom total or immediate, and that recovery and retrenchment proved possible for many who continued to shape their destinies throughout the period. If some Native Americans contributed to the Atlantic trading world that flourished from the later seventeenth century onwards, rulers on the coast of West Africa and African leaders more generally succeeded in preserving their economic as well as their political independence—even dictating the pace of change—until well into the eighteenth century.

Where much previous writing has sought to pinpoint when Portuguese, p. Thus, while some African slaves were conveyed across the Atlantic from the early sixteenth century to meet labour shortages in Central and South America, it was not until after that trade in slaves became the principal interest of European merchants dealing with Africa. Then, an escalating demand for labour in America, occasioned principally by the demographic collapse of Native American workforces and a dramatic expansion of sugar cultivation and production in Brazil and the Caribbean, made it necessary to import slaves from Africa.

As the demand increased so also did the geographic extent of slave stations along the coast, while African traders and those who supplied them with captives had to reach ever deeper into continental Africa for slaves to satisfy the increasing American appetite for bound labour. The cultural and linguistic range of the African peoples who were forced into slavery and conveyed to American plantations increased correspondingly, and particularly so in the later eighteenth century when the traffic was at its height.

The traffic proved profitable for African-based merchants as for the European traders who conveyed Africans to the Americas, not least because African merchants also supplied provisions to European slave ships for the transatlantic crossing.

Consequently, African opposition to the abolition of the slave trade proved more determined and persistent than that mounted by those Europeans who had a vested interest in slave trading, once both groups were put on the defensive when abolitionism became a humanitarian, evangelical, or political cause for influential groups in European and American societies. Slaves on plantation estates managed their work rhythms as best they could, seized opportunities to escape to maroon societies where possible, and strove to retain something of their African languages, cultures, religions, and political aspirations.

Such codes did not prevent the sexual exploitation of women of African p. In some locations people of mixed origin were accorded a separate legal status from African-born slaves, while intermingling between runaway slaves and Native American peoples created yet other configurations of racial and political mixtures.

Interminglings occurred on many other levels. Native Americans enriched the rest of the Atlantic world with their plants the most important of which were the potato, maize, and manioc ; Europeans contributed their domesticated animals primarily to the Americas, the numbers of which rose exponentially and the protein of which boosted people's height; Africans transferred to the New World their plants such as millet, yams, bananas, okra, sesame, watermelon, and African rice; while Europeans introduced to both Africa and America plants and commodities that were native to Asia.

In the realm of medicine, Africans, and also Native Americans, had their Euro-American masters reliant on them because of their superior knowledge concerning the curative properties of plants. Historians of the Atlantic world are generally at pains to explain how people shaped their destinies, not least because scholars of other dispersed worlds linked by a shared body of water have contended that outcomes were determined by the forces of nature.

Prime among the determinists is Fernand Braudel, who depicted a Mediterranean world where social forms and trading patterns were dictated by climatic and geomorphologic constants, regardless of the cultural backgrounds of the peoples who resided within these environments. Current scholars of exploration and trade on the Atlantic are perhaps more aware than those of earlier generations how the endeavours of mariners in the age of sail were both aided and circumscribed by the prevailing winds and currents of the ocean in much the same way that travel on the Indian Ocean was enabled and limited by the forces of nature.

Such factors, as much as the diverse interests that different Europeans had in the Atlantic, are advanced to explain the plurality of Atlantic worlds that were gradually mastered by European navigators during the course of the fifteenth century. But if the efforts of navigators of the early modern centuries and earlier were limited by natural forces, they also came to appreciate that there were two principal routes by which they could negotiate their way in the Atlantic Ocean during this era of sail: the p.

The northern route brought Bristol fishermen to the Newfoundland Banks perhaps before Columbus crossed the Atlantic, while Columbus, in and in his subsequent voyages, exploited the southern route. While they make allowance for such environmental determinants, scholars who study the halting penetration of the Atlantic Ocean by mariners associated with trading ports in Western Europe give principal credit to human agency.

Thus they attribute the ultimate success of European mariners in mastering and comprehending that ocean to a slow accumulation of knowledge and experience of particular sections of the Atlantic Ocean by those searching for fishing grounds, or seeking the source of African gold, or tracing an all-water route to Asia by the African coastline.

Historians of the Atlantic have shown how these various seafaring communities developed a knowledge of several Atlantics and of the islands and promontories associated with each; a better understanding of what ships and sails were appropriate for traversing the tempestuous Atlantic waters; an appreciation of how to travel ever-longer distances into the ocean and navigate a way home; and an accretion of information about the hazards associated with particular harbours. Attention is also given to how these groups benefited from improved scientific practice in navigation, ship construction, and in the making of navigational instruments and maps that had been advanced within the Mediterranean basin, and particularly in Italy.

Credit is also given to pilots and ship captains from Italy ranging from John Cabot to Christopher Columbus who participated in the exploration of the Atlantic basin. But the presumption behind these essays, and the scholarship on which they are based, is that trial and error were more important than any scientific breakthrough in emboldening European seafarers to make increasing use of the Atlantic, in the same way that, years previously, intelligent experimentation had enabled Viking explorers to negotiate regular journeys between their homeland and their settlement on Greenland, and to proceed as far as the American coastline from which they returned home.

Despite their insistence upon the importance of human agency, historians of the Atlantic are sometimes forced to concede that impersonal forces could dictate outcomes. Thus, in a recent study, Stephen Behrendt has discerned that as the transatlantic slave trade expanded in scale and geographic range during the third quarter of the eighteenth century, environmental factors placed strict limits on where and when traders might pursue their business.

The issue of predetermination also features in scholarship concerning encounters between different European and Native American peoples. Authors have long contended that Iberian interaction with the Moors, leading to their expulsion from Spain, prefigured how Iberians would relate to Native American peoples, and it has been p.

This is exemplified by recent work on the interplay of Mediterranean Christian peoples with Muslim populations of the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa, indigenous populations of the Canary Islands, and the populations encountered by Columbus and his associates on various Caribbean islands. Comparison between these three interactions leads to the conclusion that the encounters were parts of a continuum, that prejudice and precedent influenced the actions of Christians, and that all three interventions were rationalized in similar, but not identical, fashion.

Another subject of general interest is the extent to which the previous experience of European groups at establishing settlements within Europe, in Africa, or on various Atlantic islands influenced their promotion of human settlement in America, or determined the shape of those settlements.

Cases cited are the supposed tendency of Spaniards to locate themselves in towns from which they might dominate the surrounding countryside, and of English, French, and Dutch settlers to fashion rural villages or seigniories in colonial settings. On the other hand, greater respect is now being given to the extent to which the economic activity associated with any given colony shaped the pattern of settlement there.

This has been demonstrated most effectively through the study of colonies dedicated to fishing or other maritime activity. Contrariwise, settlers devoted to the cultivation and processing of agricultural goods experienced less state oversight, and possibly cherished greater individual freedom.

However, attachment to freedom was necessarily compromised by the fact that, for much of our period, business in most p. Efforts to compare and thus arrive at generalizations have, up to now, brought similarities more than differences into focus. To overcome this bias, many of our essayists devote particular attention to difference, none more stark than that between the European and African migrations that contributed to the peopling, or more accurately the re-peopling, of America.

Essentially, the overwhelming majority of European emigrants to America, including indentured servants, but excluding convict migrants and those rounded up for expulsion in the aftermath of war, exercised some degree of choice concerning travel to America.

Furthermore, some Europeans, increasingly so in the eighteenth century, made well-informed decisions about their American destinations. African migrants, on the other hand, were almost invariably people who had been enslaved after they had become captives in tribal warfare, or after slave raiders had forcefully taken them from their African villages.

Captives then frequently passed through several hands before they eventually reached a slave-trading port on the Atlantic coastline where an African merchant would sell them to a European slave trader who, in turn, would convey his purchase to whichever American destination held out the prospect of best profit to the trader.

European migrants with the exception of convicts and war victims usually made their own way to ports of embarkation, purchased or negotiated passage with ship captains, sometimes selected a ship heading for a particular destination, and enjoyed relative freedom of movement on the outward voyage. European migrants also frequently provided their own supplies of food and water for their crossing, or cooked their own food, whereas the captains of slave vessels assumed as much responsibility for the nurture, hygiene, and health of their human cargo as they did for keeping them in bondage.

Another fundamental difference related to gender balance. Men were in a distinct majority in all European migrations to America during the centuries in question and, in some instances, were overwhelmingly so. The sex ratio was however more evenly balanced in the African migration not least because in Africa more women than men were customarily forced into slavery, a function of field work in Africa being assigned to women workers, and African women slaves being required to satisfy sexual as well as labour appetites.

Given that European traders were aware of the prejudice of planters against assigning harsh agricultural work to women, they had consistently solicited p. Their requests produced some rectification of the gender imbalance, but the American demand for slaves was such that a considerable number of African women necessarily became field slaves in several locations in America.

The two population flows also differed due to the much wider range of cultural, religious, linguistic, and geographic backgrounds from which African slaves, as opposed to European migrants, were drawn. Thus, for example, people of Jewish or Irish Catholic lineage were considered different in Spanish and Portuguese Atlantic settlements, and individuals from the Channel Isles were considered strangers in New England towns.

This closed character of migration began to ease somewhat after the mid-seventeenth century, and most conspicuously so in colonies of English and Dutch settlement which then began to draw people from more heterogeneous backgrounds to their Atlantic settlements. These included Scots, Irish, and Welsh from within the British monarchies, and settlers Catholic and Protestant from extensive areas of Germanic-speaking Europe, together with some Huguenots who had been exiled from France.

The societal contrast within the Atlantic world most frequently discussed is that between colonial British America and Iberian America, with British settlers allegedly remaining aloof from intermixture with other populations, and being more reluctant than others to engage in evangelization. The validity of all such generalities, including the supposition that the British were most active in building re-configurations of European social forms in an American setting, has been challenged by John Elliott, whose sustained comparison between experiences in the British and Hispanic worlds in America alludes to as many similarities as differences between the two experiences.

This was Britain's most consequential presence in the Americas for most of the colonial period, and racial intermixing there was as widespread as in any other colonial society. Indeed, one of the principal products of scholarly endeavour on colonial British America over the past generation is the better appreciation of the importance to Britain of their presence in the Caribbean relative to that in their colonies on mainland America whose only significant contribution to increasing the wealth of the home country—which remained the ultimate seventeenth-century justification of all colonies—was fish from Newfoundland and tobacco from the Chesapeake.

The value of each of these commodities was small compared with the value of p. Also eighteenth-century commercial and communications factors made it possible for the mainland colonies to become suppliers of food to the expanding population of Western Europe.

These developments explain the major expansion in the number of European agricultural and artisanal settlers who went to settle in Britain's mainland colonies over the course of the eighteenth century. However, it would be teleological to suggest that this important development, which transformed the character of settlement in parts of mainland British America, could have been anticipated in previous centuries. Although national segmentation of the Atlantic basin became a reality, as Portuguese, English, French, Dutch, and other European groups tried to emulate the achievements of the Spaniards and create their own colonies—thus explaining why some of these essays explore those entities separately—over time, the Atlantic world became increasingly integrated, particularly so in the economic sphere.

Shipping also became more reliable and predictable, routes more regularized, and even though risk could never be eliminated, the probability of death on some maritime routes was less than on shore, and sea travel could be promoted as a health cure. Sophisticated marine insurance and financial services arose; harbour and dockside infrastructure grew apace; and transatlantic communication improved due to more reliable post, commercial press, and regular packet services.

A notable feature of this commercial system was the degree to which the informal, illicit, contraband sector evaded formal, regulated, and official constraints. Similarly, state control via monopoly, licence, and restriction gradually and imperfectly gave way to looser arrangements and more self-organized, decentralized agents.

Different imperial models of trading relations obtained, but overall there was a trend to greater openness and porosity; and even the Portuguese developed a freer trade regime in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, which became open after Whether a true consumer revolution, such as T.

Breen has adumbrated for Britain's colonies on mainland North America, occurred throughout the entire eighteenth-century Atlantic world remains debatable, but tastes certainly expanded enormously, diets were transformed, luxuries became necessities, and consumption patterns were profoundly altered.

Tobacco smoking became widespread; Atlantic wines, coffee, chocolate, rum, and tea became popular drinks, even if expenditures on them were always a small part of most household budgets; while, in all Atlantic colonies, pottery, clothing, jewellery, firearms, and metal goods were in great demand. Geography facilitated integration. Prevailing winds and currents—clockwise in the northern hemisphere and anticlockwise in the southern—help explain why Western Europe became the centre of the slave trade in the northern hemisphere and Brazil became its base in the southern hemisphere.

Since the continental areas drained by rivers emptying into the Atlantic are about twice as great as those entering into the Pacific and Indian oceans combined, this single ocean's extensive riverine systems encouraged the deep penetration of hinterlands. In addition, islands were especially vital connectors and way stations.

Integration was far from just economic or geographic. In the legal realm, institutions such as prize courts arose to deal with the rise of inter-imperial commercial competition; conversely, as planters grappled with the policing of their slaves, so they borrowed provisions of slave codes from neighbouring empires in a process of inter-imperial emulation. The scores of scientific expeditions as well as hundreds of individual engineers, botanists, architects, artists, and city planners who moved around the Atlantic collecting and forwarding useful data—experiencing, experimenting, eye-witnessing, and then regularizing, systematizing, and universalizing—contributed enormously to a circum-Atlantic exchange of knowledge, to which the rise of racial science was just one dimension.

Transatlantic exchanges even spurred a greater attention to the senses throughout the Atlantic world, leading some to propose a universal sensus communis. The existence of creoles, neither immigrants nor indigenes, but locally born peoples usually drawn either from newcomers alone or from mixtures of newcomers and natives, increasingly self-aware and conscious of themselves as separate and distinctive, contributed another distinguishing shared commonality to the Atlantic world.

More recently, linguists have appropriated the term to refer to the mixed languages that emerged among the native-born or slaves in contact situations; and increasingly the term has been more widely applied not just in the Americas but also in the Atlantic more broadly, to particularly cosmopolitan peoples noted for their cultural plasticity and social adaptability.

The process of creolization in Africa is associated with cultural hybridity as people of mixed African and European ancestry, or Africans with no European antecedents but who worked closely with Europeans, became in effect bi-cultural people. In addition to the loss of able-bodied workers to the Americas, the slave trade caused wars and slave raids that brought about additional deaths, as well as environmental destruction.

Only a few traditional kingdoms like Benin, a kingdom in southern Nigeria were able to limit the trade or regulate it with local law. In the end, though, few were successful over the long haul: these small, centralized kingdoms were not very effective at resisting the slave trade and their populations dwindled as European demand and greed increased. By the time the Portuguese started to pay attention to Brazil, they had been active in the slave trade for nearly a century. Although the Portuguese arrived in Brazil in , they only established a strict bureaucracy in —to fight off French and British incursions.

We have to remember: Europeans were exploring the American continents throughout the sixteenth century, with each aspiring imperial power trying to find land and profitable resources to claim for itself. Brazil is actually named for its first primary sector export: brazilwood. In the mid th century, sugar plantations began to spring up in the Northeast, where sugar grew well.

The colonists looked to the Indians to provide the necessary work force for this labor-intensive crop. However, the enslaved Indians quickly fell victim to European diseases an important aspect of the Columbian Exchange or fled to the unnavigated interior of the country. The Portuguese decided that the Indians were too fragile for plantation labor and, already active in the Atlantic slave trade, they began to import African slaves.

Soon, the sugar plantation system became entirely dependent on African slave labor. While slaves were initially brought in to provide labor for the sugar plantations, the eventual overabundance of African slaves caused them to be used in almost all areas of the economy. Slaves were distributed in Brazil based on the primary export of the time, depending on where they were needed for work: first, on the sugar plantations in the Northeast, then in the gold mines of the Southeast, on the coffee plantations of the South, and in the major cities of Salvador and Rio de Janeiro as household servants.

The slave trade, which allowed for the constant importation of inexpensive labor, allowed Brazil to develop several major industries and filled their need for most manual labor in almost every profession. Over the centuries, Portugal exploited different parts of Africa. During the last 50 years of the slave trade, large numbers of Yoruba people from the area that is currently Nigeria and Benin were brought to cities in Northeastern Brazil, resulting in a lasting impact on the culture of that region.

African slaves were brought into Brazil as early as , with abolition in During those three and a half centuries, Brazil received 4,, Africans, over four times as many as any other American destination. The slave trade lasted longer in Brazil than in almost any other country in the Americas.

Slavery was abolished in the British and French Caribbean, the United States, and Spanish America a generation or more before it was abolished in Brazil. When Brazil gained independence, in , slavery was such an entrenched part of the system that the elites who structured the new nation never seriously debated the issue.

We should note here that slavery in Brazil was justified by the need for labor, but slavery was rarely defended on racial grounds; for the Portuguese the key issue was legal status, not race. Not only was the slave trade continuing, the same number of Africans 1. This has led to a Brazilian connection to Africa that has not been as present in the United States. The transference of African culture, in these circumstances, was much more direct than in the U. Only recently have U.

African-Americans begun to develop that connection with Africa in a way that more closely resembles the situation in Brazil. The lingering effects of the slave trade—and the institution of slavery—can be seen every day in Brazilian cuisine, religion, music, and dance.

It can be seen in the people, in a black and brown population that is larger than the population of every African country except for Nigeria. The Spanish introduced slavery and small-scale sugar production almost immediately. As the indigenous population was dying of abuse and disease, African slaves were brought in; the first 15, Africans arrived in Although the Spanish settled on the eastern part of the island, they focused their attention on their more prosperous colonies in other parts of the Americas.

This led, in the early s, to an incursion into the western part of the island by the French. The French were very involved in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, just behind the Portuguese and the British in terms of volume. Between the end of the 17 th century, around the time that they settled on Hispaniola, and the mid th century, the French made more than 4, registered slaving trips to the Americas. So, much like the Portuguese, the French had easy and regular access to slave labor. The French originally cultivated indigo but quickly exhausted the soil.

They quickly moved on to another labor intensive, and even more profitable, crop: sugar. More than sugar plantations were established between and As sugar expanded, so did the slave population. By , the French were importing 8, slaves each year from Africa.

Haiti was the main destination for most of the slaves carried across the Atlantic on French ships. An interesting note about the triangular trade is that ships criss-crossed the ocean loaded with valuable goods whether that be textiles, slaves, or sugar , but almost no money.

This whole system worked by barter, with slaves being traded for sugar although slaves were worth twice as much as the sugar; later, boats would have to travel to France to bring the rest of the sugar that was owed to the slave traders.

When the French began to plant coffee, around , profits in Haiti soared and more slaves were needed for yet another labor-intensive crop. Crop expansion required additional labor, as did the high mortality of the slave population due to harsh working conditions. The average life span of a slave in Haiti was less than seven years.

By the mid th century, more than 10, slaves arrived each year, with more than 40, arriving in Easy access to slaves coupled with soaring profits from cash crops created a situation in which the slave population of Haiti vastly outnumbered free colonists. However, as time wore on, and as the rich plantation owners and working class colonists fought amongst themselves over their relationship and privileges with France, the slaves, who outnumbered the free population more than 10 to 1, began to organize.

This hegemony, in which a French minority ruled a large enslaved population, was possible due to the French belief in their socio-political superiority which resulted in their strict, and often violent, control of the slave population.

Why Did Western Europe Dominate the Globe? |

Although Europe represents only about 8 percent of the planet's landmass, from to , Europeans conquered or colonized more than 80 percent of the entire world.

Being dominated for centuries has led to lingering inequality and long-lasting effects in many formerly colonized countries, including poverty and slow economic growth. There are many possible explanations for why history played out this way, but few can explain why the West was so powerful for so long.

Caltech's Philip Hoffman , the Rea A. Axline Professor of Business Economics and professor of history, has a new explanation: the advancement of gunpowder technology.

The Chinese invented gunpowder, but Hoffman, whose work applies economic theory to historical contexts, argues that certain political and economic circumstances allowed the Europeans to advance gunpowder technology at an unprecedented rate—allowing a relatively small number of people to quickly take over much of the rest of the globe. We spoke with him recently about his research interests and what led him to study this particular topic. You have been on the Caltech faculty for more than 30 years.

Are there any overarching themes to your work? Over the years I've been interested in a number of different things, and this new work puts together a lot of bits of my research. I've looked at changes in technology that influence agriculture, and I've studied the development of financial markets, and in between those two, I was also studying why financial crises occur.

I've also been interested in the development of tax systems. For example, how did states get the ability to impose heavy taxes? What were the politics and the political context of the economy that resulted in this ability to tax? It's just fascinating. A thousand years ago, no one would have ever expected that result, for at that point western Europe was hopelessly backward. It was politically weak, it was poor, and the major long-distance commerce was a slave trade led by Vikings.

The political dominance of western Europe was an unexpected outcome and had really big consequences, so I thought: let's explain it. Many theories purport to explain how the West became dominant. For example, that Europe became industrialized more quickly and therefore became wealthier than the rest of the world.

Or, that when Europeans began to travel the world, people in other countries did not have the immunity to fight off the diseases they brought with them. How is your theory different? Yes, there are lots of conventional explanations—industrialization, for example—but on closer inspection they all fall apart.

Before , Europe had already taken over at least 35 percent of the world, but Britain was just beginning to industrialize. So as an explanation, industrialization doesn't work. Disease can't explain, for example, the colonization of India, because people in southeast Asia had the same immunity to disease that the Europeans did. So that's not the answer—it's something else. It started after I gave an undergraduate here a book to read about gunpowder technology, how it was invented in China and used in Japan and Southeast Asia, and how the Europeans got very good at using it, which fed into their successful conquests.

I'd given it to him because the use of this technology is related to politics and fiscal systems and taxes, and as he was reading it, he noted that the book did not give the ultimate cause of why Europe in particular was so successful. That was a really great question and it got me interested. Gunpowder was really important for conquering territory; it allows a small number of people to exercise a lot of influence.

The technology grew to include more than just guns: armed ships, fortifications that can resist artillery, and more, and the Europeans became the best at using these things. So, I put together an economic model of how this technology has advanced to come up with what I think is the real reason why the West conquered almost everyone else.

My idea incorporates the model of a contest or a tournament where your odds of winning are higher if you spend more resources on fighting. You can think of that as being much like a baseball team that hires better players to win more games, but in this case, instead of coaches, it's political leaders and instead of games there are wars. And the more that the political leaders spend, the better their chances of defeating other leaders and, in the long run, of dominating the other cultures.

One big factor that's important to the advancement of any defense technology is how much money a political leader can spend. That comes down to the political costs of raising revenue and a leader's ability to tax. In the very successful countries, the leaders could impose very heavy taxes and spend huge sums on war. The economic model then connected that spending to changes in military technology. The spending on war gave leaders a chance to try out new weapons, new armed ships, and new tactics, and to learn from mistakes on the battlefield.

The more they spent, the more chances they had to improve their military technology through trial and error while fighting wars. So more spending would not only mean greater odds of victory over an enemy, but more rapid change in military technology. If you think about it, you realize that advancements in gunpowder technology—which are important for conquest—arise where political leaders fight using that technology, where they spend huge sums on it, and where they're able to share the resulting advances in that technology.

For example, if I am fighting you and you figure out a better way to build an armed ship, I can imitate you. For that to happen, the countries have to be small and close to one another. And all of this describes Europe. One lesson the book teaches is that actions involving war, foreign policy, and military spending can have big, long-lasting consequences: this is a lesson that policy makers should never forget. The book also reminds us that in a world where there are hostile powers, we really don't want to get rid of spending on improving military technology.

Those improvements can help at times when wars are necessary—for instance, when we are fighting against enemies with whom we cannot negotiate. Such enemies existed in the past—they were fighting for glory on the battlefield or victory over an enemy of the faith—and one could argue that they pose a threat today as well.

Things are much better if the conflict concerns something that can be split up—such as money or land. Then you can bargain with your enemies to divvy up whatever you disagree about and you can have something like peace. You'll still need to back up the peace with armed forces, but you won't actually fight all that much, and that's a much better outcome.

In either case, you'll still be spending money on the military and on military research. Personally, I would much rather see expenditures devoted to infrastructure, or scientific research, or free preschool for everybody—things that would carry big economic benefits—but in this world, I don't think you can stop doing military research or spending money on the military.

I wish we did live in that world, but unfortunately it's not realistic. What led you to investigate the global conquests of western Europe? What made you turn to the idea of gunpowder technology as an explanation? What was so special about gunpowder? What kinds of factors are included in this model?

What does this mean in a modern context? Written by. Jessica Stoller-Conrad. Image Gallery Lightbox British India, Credit: Wikicommons. Philip Hoffman, Rea A. Subscribe Caltech Matters. Share this. Related Links.

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