The Origins of Empire: British Overseas Enterprise to the Close of the Seventeenth Century

Overview

Volume I of the Oxford History of the British Empire explores the origins of empire. It shows how and why England, and later Britain, became involved with transoceanic navigation, trade, and settlement during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The chapters, by leading historians, both illustrate the interconnections between developments in Europe and overseas and offer specialist studies on every part of the world that was substantially affected by British colonial activity. As late as 1630, involvement ...

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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume I: The Origins of Empire: British Overseas Enterprise to the Close of the Seventeenth Century

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Overview

Volume I of the Oxford History of the British Empire explores the origins of empire. It shows how and why England, and later Britain, became involved with transoceanic navigation, trade, and settlement during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The chapters, by leading historians, both illustrate the interconnections between developments in Europe and overseas and offer specialist studies on every part of the world that was substantially affected by British colonial activity. As late as 1630, involvement with regions beyond the traditional confines of Europe was still tentative; by 1690 it had become a firm commitment.

About the Series:

The Oxford History of the British Empire is a major new assessment of the Empire in the light of recent scholarship and the progressive opening of historical records. It deals with the interaction of British and non-western societies from the Elizabethan era to the late twentieth century, provides a balanced treatment of the ruled as well as the rulers, and takes into account the significance of the Empire for the peoples of the British Isles. All five of the volumes in this series fully explore economic and social as well as political trends.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The first two volumes of this five-volume history of the British Empire establish a very high standard of scholarship. Over three dozen scholars examine both major and minor aspects of the modern imperial experience. The chronological focus develops from the 16th century, when Ireland was the starting point of the empire, to the end of the 18th, when the 13 American Colonies were lost. The essays form an interlocking analysis of the origins of empire from an intellectual, military, economic, and technological perspective. There is some overlap; for example, several essays discuss the role of naval power, but each author approaches the topic with a different focus, such as technology in N.A.M. Rogers's essay and politics in John Appleby's. The various chapters, therefore, reinforce the overall picture instead of being redundant. Separate chapters in the first volume analyze the origins and implementation of the British imperial expansion, or contraction, in each region and then continue in the second volume, as do discussions of new subjects, such as the colonization of Australia. The interrelationship between the mother country and the Colonies also receives continued emphasis. Jonathan Israel's chapter, in Volume 1, on the continental perspective of British empire building helps place events in an even broader context. There is a short bibliography after each chapter. Three following volumes will see the empire through to its 20th-century decline. Recommended for all libraries.--Frederic Krome, Jacob Rader Marcus Ctr. of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Nicholas Canny is Professor of History and Academic Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Settlement and Historical Change at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

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Table of Contents

List of Maps xv
List of Figures xvi
List of Tables xvi
List of Contributors xvii
Abbreviations and Location of Manuscript Sources xx
1. The Origins of Empire: An Introduction 1
2. The Struggle for Legitimacy and the Image of Empire in the Atlantic to c.1700 34
3. War, Politics, and Colonization, 1558-1625 55
4. Guns and Sails in the First Phase of English Colonization, 1500-1650 79
5. Literature and Empire 99
6. 'Civilizinge of those rude partes': Colonization within Britain and Ireland, 1580s-1640s 124
7. England's New World and the Old, 1480s-1630s 148
8. Tobacco Colonies: The Shaping of English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake 170
9. New England in the Seventeenth Century 193
10. The 'Hub of Empire': the Caribbean and Britain in the Seventeenth Century 218
11. The English in Western Africa to 1700 241
12. The English in Asia to 1700 264
13. The English Government, War, Trade, and Settlement, 1625-1688 286
14. New Opportunities for British Settlement: Ireland, 1650-1700 309
15. Native Americans and Europeans in English America, 1500-1700 328
16. The Middle Colonies: New Opportunities for Settlement, 1660-1700 351
17. 'Shaftesbury's Darling': British Settlement in the Carolinas at the Close of the Seventeenth Century 375
18. Overseas Expansion and Trade in the Seventeenth Century 398
19. The Emerging Empire: The Continental Perspective, 1650-1713 423
20. The Glorious Revolution and America 445
21. Navy, State, Trade, and Empire 467
Chronology 482
Index 507
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