The inclusion of the New World in the international economy, among the most important events in modern history, was based on slavery. Europeans brought at least eight million black men, women and children out of Africa to the Western Hemisphere between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, and slavery transformed the Atlantic into a complex trading area. This trade united North and South America, Europe, and Africa through the movement of peoples, goods and services, credit and capital. The essays in this book place slavery in the mainstream of modern history. They describe the transfer of slavery from the Old World, its role in forging the interdependence of the economies bordering the Atlantic, its effect on the empires of Portugal, the Netherlands, France, and Great Britain, and its impact on Africa.
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Preface; Introduction Barbara L. Solow; 1. Slacery and colonization Barbara L. Solow; 2. The Old World background of slavery in the Americas William D. Phillips, Jr.; 3. Slavery and lagging capitalism in the Spanish and Portuguese American empires, 1492–1713 Franklin W. Knight; 4. The Cutch and the making of the second Atlantic system P. C. Emmer; 5. Precolonial western Africa and the Atlantic economy David Eltis; 6. A marginal institution on the margin of the Atlantic system: The Portufuese southern Atlantic slave trade in the eighteenth century Joseph C. Miller; 7. The apprenticeship of colonization Luiz Felipe de Alencastro; 8. Exports and the growth of the British economy from the Glorious Revolution to the Peace of Amiens P. K. O'Brien and S. L. Engerman; 9. The slave and colonial trade in France just before the Revolution Patrick Villiers; 10. Slavery, trade, and economic growth in eighteenth-century New England David Richardson; 11. Economic aaspects of the growth of slavery in the seventeenth-century Chesapeake David W. Galenson; 12. Credit in the slave trade and plantation economies Jacob M. Price; Index.
'The great virtue of this 'Atlantic system' approach is that it forces American historians, in particular, to sidestep the exceptionalism that bedevils their historiography and to confront the fact that slavery is a part of the history of the Atlantic and not just of what later became their own nation-state. It is also the focus on the Atlantic world that gives this collection of pieces covering an enormous geographical area a coherence that is unusual in conference proceedings.' Georgia Historical Quarterly