Pieces of Eight, Pieces of Eight: Seafarers' Earnings and the Venture Economy of Early Modern Seafaring
The Economic History Review
West Africa in the British Atlantic: Trade, Violence, and Empire in the 1640s
<jats:p>The importance of Africa and African agency in the formation of the Atlantic world is now widely acknowledged by historians, but Africa has drawn less attention than other regions in analyses of the British Atlantic. Drawing upon the nascent methodology of global microhistory, this article contributes to a scholarly rebalancing by examining two maritime lawsuits from the 1640s concerning British voyages to Senegambia and Sierra Leone, both of which resulted in conflict between British seafarers and with their African trading partners. A close study of the documents surviving from these lawsuits provides an unusually detailed glimpse of these particular moments of contact and violence across cultures. More fundamentally, such an approach illuminates the ocean-spanning networks within which these ventures took place, and reveals the ways in which British traders and sailors perceived trade in Africa within their own legal frameworks. This article argues that by the middle of the seventeenth century, as merchants and politicians in Britain began to imagine an Atlantic empire, trade in West Africa was an important part of their vision of the Atlantic world.</jats:p>
This episode of BBC Radio 4’s Making History discusses the ongoing archaeological excavation of the London, a warship built during Oliver Cromwell’s rule which exploded in the Thames in 1665. Dr Richard Blakemore, a Junior Research Fellow at Merton who studies early modern seafarers, trade, and empire, talks with presenter Dr Helen Castor about the growth of shipping and the expansion of the navy during this revolutionary period of Britain’s history.