Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

A Cultural History of the Atlantic World, 1250–1820

$35.99 (G)

Award Winner
  • Date Published: September 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521727341

$ 35.99 (G)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

This title is not currently available for examination. However, if you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • A Cultural History of the Atlantic World, 1250–1820 explores the idea that strong linkages exist in the histories of Africa, Europe, and North and South America. John K. Thornton provides a comprehensive overview of the history of the Atlantic Basin before 1830 by describing political, social, and cultural interactions between the continents' inhabitants. He traces the backgrounds of the populations on these three continental landmasses brought into contact by European navigation. Thornton then examines the political and social implications of the encounters, tracing the origins of a variety of Atlantic societies and showing how new ways of eating, drinking, speaking, and worshipping developed in the newly created Atlantic World. This book uses close readings of original sources to produce new interpretations of its subject.

    • Uses close reading of original sources to produce new interpretations of its subject
    • Deals with all the interacting parties in America, Africa and Europe
    • Pays close attention to culture and cultural exchange
    Read more


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2013

    Reviews & endorsements

    'John Thornton captures the moment Africa, Europe and the Americas came together and the new world that was created. A Cultural History of the Atlantic World [1250–1820] will be a foundation stone in the study of the Atlantic, simultaneously an entry point for novices, a reference for established scholars, and a guide for future studies. An extraordinary achievement.' Ira Berlin, University of Maryland

    'Only a handful of historians can master the cascading new scholarship on African, Latin American, European and North American history in the pre-modern era. John Thornton is the premier historian of this endeavor. In tracing the emergence of hybrid cultures - from language transfer to evolving political structures to interpenetrating musical styles and forms of worship - he has no equal. Brilliantly covering half a millennium of Atlantic basin interaction, this is a must-read book.' Gary B. Nash, University of California, Los Angeles

    'John Thornton's [book] is a remarkable accomplishment. With deep learning and full immersion in source documents from four continents and many languages, he tells a story of the Atlantic basin in the early modern world that identifies broad unities without erasing the complexities of local circumstances. And that story is one with a compelling narrative arc, from its beginnings long before 1492 to its end in the revolutionary upheavals of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.' Daniel K. Richter, University of Pennsylvania

    'Finally we have an Atlantic history in which the peoples and cultures of the three continents are given equal weight, and in which Africans, Native Americans and Europeans are all important actors in and creators of this history. The integration of primary sources, current scholarship, and new interpretations makes Thornton's book essential reading for scholars, students and the general public.' Stuart B. Schwartz, Yale University

    'His judgements are balanced, his narrative lucid … impressive.' History Today

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521727341
    • length: 562 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 155 x 33 mm
    • weight: 0.79kg
    • contains: 16 b/w illus. 11 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Atlantic Background:
    1. The foundation of the Atlantic world, 1250–1600
    Part II. Three Atlantic Worlds:
    2. The European background
    3. The African background
    4. The American world, 1450–1700
    Part III. The Nature of Encounter and its Aftermath:
    5. Conquest
    6. Colonization
    7. Contact
    Part IV. Culture Transition and Change:
    8. Transfer and retention in language
    9. Aesthetic change
    10. Religious stability and change
    11. The revolutionary moment in the Atlantic.

  • Author

    John K. Thornton, Boston University
    John K. Thornton is Professor of History and African American Studies at Boston University. He is the author of Warfare in Atlantic Africa, 1500–1800 (1999) and Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400–1800 (Cambridge, 1992, 1998) and the co-author of Central Africans, Atlantic Creoles and the Foundation of the Americas, 1585–1660 (Cambridge, 2007) with Linda M. Heywood.


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2013

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.