The Transformation of the North Atlantic World, 1492-1763: An Introduction

Synopsis

Between Columbus' first expedition in 1492 and the Peace of Paris in 1763, West Europeans created empires of trade and settlement that re-made the social, economic, and political environments not only of their own peoples, but also those of the other societies around the North Atlantic. This study invites readers new to early modern Atlantic Studies to consider from some possible explanations for these extraordinary transformations of the lives of millions of people, free and unfree, and of the political powers of societies that previously had been separated by rather than linked by the ocean. In particular, Seymour invites readers to ponder how the first century of, in effect, Iberian monopoly, became displaced by an Anglophone hegemony. This volume is constructed around the questions to be addressed in any consideration of the early modern North Atlantic; reflections upon the factors contributing to the processes--technical, technological, economic, and social; the availability of alternatives to Atlantic empires; possible environmental factors; then a brief survey of interpretative themes in the period, divided into distinct chronological phases. In conclusion, the author suggests that, because the eventual "triumph" of an Anglophone Atlantic may not be regarded as inevitable, we should be conscious in the present of the unpredictability of the historical experience.

Additional information

Contributors:
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Westport, CT
Publication year:
  • 2004