The essays in this volume provide a comprehensive overview of Atlantic history from c.1450 to c.1850, offering a wide-ranging and authoritative account of the movement of people, plants, pathogens, products, and cultural practices-to mention some of the key agents-around and within the Atlantic basin. As a result of these movements, new peoples, economies, societies, polities, and cultures arose in the lands and islands touched by the Atlantic Ocean, while others were destroyed. The team of scholars in this volume seek to describe, explain, and, occasionally, challenge conventional wisdom concerning these path-breaking developments. They demonstrate connections, explore contrasts, and probe themes. During the four centuries encompassed by this collection, pan-Atlantic webs of association emerged that progressively linked people, objects, and beliefs across and within the region. Events in one corner of the Atlantic world had effects, reverberations thousands of miles away.
The great virtue of thinking in Atlantic terms is that it encourages broad perspectives, unexpected comparisons, trans-national orientations, and expanded horizons; the parochialism that characterizes so much history writing and instruction today, as in the past, has a chance of being overcome.