OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

Pages
168 Pages
Format
Paperback
Size
158 x 233 mm
Pub date
Nov 2012
Series
New Oxford World History
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  • Inclusive coverage of all parts of the Atlantic world
  • Uses examples of individuals caught up in larger historical patterns
  • Explores the influence of commodities on the formation of relationships within the Atlantic
  • Written in an engaging, accessible style

   
As Europeans began to move into the Atlantic in the late fifteenth century, first encountering islands and then two continents across the sea, they initiated a process that revolutionized the lives of people everywhere. American foods enriched their diets. Furs, precious metals, dyes, and many other products underwrote new luxury trades, and tobacco became the first consumer craze as the price plummeted with ever-enlarging production. 
   
Much of the technology that made new initiatives, such as sailing out of sight of land, possibly drew on Asian advances that came into Europe through North Africa. Sugar and other crops came along the same routes, and Europeans found American environments ideal for their cultivation. Leaders along the African coast controlled the developing trade with Europeans, and products from around the Atlantic entered African life. As American plantations were organized on an industrial scale, they became voracious consumers of labor. American Indians, European indentured servants, and enslaved Africans were all employed, and over time slavery became the predominant labor system in the plantation economies.
   
American Indians adopted imported technologies and goods to enhance their own lives, but diseases endemic in the rest of the world to which Americans had no acquired immunity led to dramatic population decline in some areas. From Brazil to Canada, Indians withdrew into the interior, where they formed large and powerful new confederations.
   
Atlantic exchange opened new possibilities. All around the ocean, states that had been marginal to the main centers in the continents' interiors now found themselves at the forefront of developing trades with the promise of wealth and power. European women and men whose prospects were circumscribed at home saw potential in emigration. Economic aspirations beckoned large numbers, but also, in the maelstrom following the Reformation, others sought the chance to worship as they saw fit. Many saw their hopes dashed, but some succeeded as they had desired. Ultimately, as people of African and European descent came to predominate in American populations, they broke political ties to Europe and reshaped transatlantic relationships.

Index: 

Editors' Preface
Introduction: Thinking Atlantically
1. Atlantic Memories
2. Atlantic Beginnings
3. Atlantic People 
4. Commodities: Foods, Drugs, and Dyes
5. Eighteenth-Century Realities
Epilogue: The Atlantic

Chronology
Notes
Further Reading
Websites
Index

About the author: 

Karen Ordahl Kupperman is Silver Professor of History at New York University. Her books include The Jamestown Project, Roanoke: The Abandoned Colony, Indians and English: Facing Off in Early America, which won the American Historical Association's Prize in Atlantic History, and Providence Island, 1630-1641: The Other Puritan Colony, which won the AHA's Beveridge Award for the year's best book in American history.

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