British Maritime Enterprise in the New World: From the Late Fifteenth to the Mid-Eighteenth Century

British Maritime Enterprise in the New World: From the Late Fifteenth to the ...
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Carus Wilson, 'The overseas trade of Bristol' in E. Postan eds. Carus -Wilson, 'The Iceland trade' in E. Fleming, 'The emergence of modern Bristol' in M. Dresser and P. Ollerenshaw eds. John Latimer, Sixteenth-century Bristol Arrowsmith , [Lacks references but generally reliable scholarship]. James M. Lobel and E. Carus -Wilson, 'Bristol' in M. Lobel ed. Available online. MacInnes and W. Whittard eds.

I, Civil History Bristol, , Ch. Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics in Bristol, The details of his work have, however, received a fair amount of criticism from subject specialists. Andrews, 'The English in the Caribbean, ' in K. Andrews et al. Biggar ed. On the reading list as an example of how popular history writers deal with the Bristol discovery voyages]. Canny ed. I OUP, [Contains a number of useful introductory chapters]. Carus -Wilson ed. VII, Bristol, [While not primarily about exploration, it contains a number of useful document transcriptions].

Cell, English Enterprise in Newfoundland Toronto, Crone, The Discovery of America London , Finberg ed. Edoardo Giuffrida , ' Ricerche cabotiane , nuove prospettive storiografiche ' and 'New documents on Giovanni Caboto ' in R. Mamoli Zorzi ed. Innis, The Cod Fisheries. Atlantic fisheries]. An electronic pre-print of the 'Preface' by E. Jones, is available on ROSE. Jones, 'Bristol and Newfoundland ' in I.

Bulgin ed. Evan T. Pope and S. Lewis-Simpson eds. McGrath, 'Bristol since ' in C. McGrath, 'Bristol and America, ', in K. Peter Pope, The Many Landfalls of John Cabot Toronto, [Sensible summary of the historical evidence surrounding the voyages but more valuable for its analysis of how the voyages have been interpreted and viewed from the sixteenth to twentieth centuries]. Quinn, England and the Discovery of America, London, [Presents the most serious academic case for a pre discovery].

Ruddock eds. Ruddock, 'John Day of Bristol and the English voyages across the Atlantic before ', Geographical Journal, [Excellent short article which confirmed the validity of the 'John Day' letter by identifying its decidedly dodgy author]. Ruddock, 'Columbus and Iceland: new light on an old problem', Geographical Journal, [An excellent article which attacks the commonly held belief that Columbus visited Iceland].

At night, spectres of Hesperia [13]. With such happiness, for the first time.

History 1301 Lecture 5: Colonial British America in the Eighteenth Century

For the ancient Greeks, the sea was more than a standing invitation to a better life, to freedom or to lucrative expeditions to foreign lands, it was the key to their survival. In BC, the navy of Athens and her Greek allies — under the command of the famous Athenian politician and general Themistocles — proved crucial in defending Greek freedom and defeating the Persian invader, King Xerxes I. One might wonder what the Western Civilization would have looked like, if the Greeks had lost the naval battle at Salamis and if Greece had been conquered by the Persians [15].

Would philosophy, science, personal freedom and democracy, the legacies of Ancient Greece, have been an essential part of modern Western Civilization. Without the constant import of grain by sea from Sicily, Northern Africa and Egypt to Rome, it would have been impossible to preserve the social peace in Rome and to guarantee the continuation of the Roman administrative system. Likewise, it were not the Germanic invasions that put a definitive end to the Roman civilisation and its prominence in Western Europe, but the Islamic conquest of the Middle East, Africa and Spain. This conquest prevented maritime trade and cultural contacts between Western Europe and the Eastern Roman Empire from being continued.

In the process, it broke the Mediterranean unity of the Roman civilisation and brought about the final separation of Western Europe from the Roman Orient and the emergence of the Carolingian Empire and the feudal economic system in Western Europe [17]. These rich and powerful cities managed to break free — at least to a certain extent — from their traditional overlords, being the local nobility, their counts, kings and emperors.

Exploration

In theory, the church and state were separate. From , when the Netherlands acquired a more democratic political system, there was growing criticism of exploitative practices and bureaucratic cronyism in Indonesia. By the middle of the fifteenth, English wool exports had dropped by four fifths and the wool imports of Flanders came from Spain, being shipped from Bilbao and other Spanish Atlantic ports. The violent tendencies of ambiguous and ineffective jurisdictions were also evident in what William Burke called the "savage" European propensity to contest "the Sovereignty of Deserts in America ," both along the inland reaches of North America and in the Caribbean. After some weeks of exploring, the colonists decided not to make the trip to Virginia but to remain where they were.

The origin and creation of the wealth of these cities and of their cultural heritage had everything to do with international commerce, navigation and import of goods from overseas. Bruges became the medieval New York. Its port was the main gateway to Northern France and Central Europe. Bruges was the international market and staple place par excellence of Western Europe. Galleys from Italy imported all kinds of products and goods from the Mediterranean world spices, silk, luxury products, wine, salt, oil, rice etc.

During the 15th and early 16th century, the Portuguese explored and discovered the coast of Africa, Asia and Brazil. Under the sponsorship of the crowns of Castile and Aragon an expedition commanded by Christopher Columbus crossed the Atlantic Ocean in search for new maritime trade routes to the Indies. In Francisco Pizarro conquered Peru. The Portuguese brought their colonial goods — especially spices — to Antwerp and bought metals — especially the silver they needed to finance their Asiatic trade — from the South German Augsburg merchants.

The Spanish authorities and traders later also imported their colonial goods to Antwerp in order to sell and ship them to the rest of Europe. In , Antwerp surrendered to the Spanish army commander Alexander Farnese, and the protestant elite of Antwerp fled to Amsterdam, Haarlem, Leiden and other centres in the Northern Netherlands. I quote the following lines by the Dutch historian Pieter Geyl [26] :. Without the capital of the Antwerpeners who had come north after the fall of the town, without their commercial [knowledge] and relations, Holland, a small and in some respects still backward area, could not possibly have risen to the opportunities that were offered her so suddenly.

Soon, however, most of them were infected with the fever of money-making which was getting a grip on Holland and Zealand, and they prospered too well to spend all their time looking back longingly to their own provinces. In all bold enterprises, requiring initiative and [breadth] of vision, the exiles did their bit. This exodus of 60, people out of a total Antwerp population of , as well the subsequent blockade of the Scheldt River that was to last for more than years, condemned Antwerp and its port to become shadows of their former selves.

The fall of Antwerp also meant the split of the Netherlands. The people of the Southern part of the Netherlands were left defeated and impoverished, and their country occupied by Spanish forces. I again quote some lines by Pieter Geyl [27] :. If Holland and Zealand flourished, it was partly because they fed on the best vital forces of Flanders and Brabant. Meanwhile, the Spanish soldiery had not changed. They still were formidable to the enemy when they had a mind to fight, but too often they broke out into mutiny and made themselves formidable only to the obedient populations.

The sea was an important factor in the astonishing economic development of the Dutch Republic. It was in their overseas trade that the Dutch could make the most of the possibilities of their hard won independence. It was the sea that showed them the way to wealth and power, to adventure and greatness. In the command of the sea and in the conduct of naval war resided the entire prosperity of the country [28]. After the decisive defeat suffered in by the Spanish Invincible Fleet, the merchants of the new Dutch Republic started organizing expeditions to Asia in search for spices.

The VOC had quasi-governmental powers, including the ability to wage war, imprison and execute convicts, negotiate treaties, coin money, and establish colonies. This loss was probably the result of the Dutch republic not having enough people to settle in the American territories [32]. During the second half of the 17th century, Holland was at the peak of its power and prestige.

It was by far the richest, most urbanized and most cosmopolitan state in Europe. Almost everything passing in and out of Europe — English tin, Spanish and Irish wool, Swedish iron, French wines, Russian furs, Indian spices and tea, and Norwegian timber — flowed into Holland to be graded, finished, woven, blended, sorted and shipped out again on the Dutch canals, on the rivers and on the oceans. In , the Dutch fleet had a total tonnage of ,, which was far more than the total tonnage of the Spanish, Portuguese, French, English, Scotch and German fleets combined.

At the end of the 17th century, the Dutch fleet still had a tonnage that was double that of the English fleet and more than 8 or 9 times that of the French [34]. The Dutch sea power and maritime skills were held in very high esteem all over Europe, so much so that even the Russian Tsar Peter the Great spent several months in and in Zaandam and Amsterdam to learn to build ships and to get acquainted with all aspects of life in the Dutch republic [35].

Holland gradually lost its dominating role in maritime affairs in the course of the 18th The long continental wars waged by Louis XIV of France lasting from till with intermittent but brief periods of peace left both the Dutch and the French exhausted [36]. Holland slipped to the rank of a lesser state. Following the peace treaty of Utrecht, concluded between France and the anti-French allies England, Holland and Austria, the Southern Netherlands present Belgium became part of the Austrian Empire.

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As the Scheldt remained closed, the new subjects of the Austrian Habsburg emperor Charles VI sought to launch overseas expeditions from the port of Ostend, in order to restore the economic prosperity to their war-ravaged country. Those expeditions were financed by different international syndicates composed of Flemish, English, Dutch and French merchants and bankers.

The articles of association of the Ostend Company were approved by imperial charter of December Between and , 21 company vessels were sent out, mainly to Canton in China and to Bengal. These companies lobbied their governments to put an end to its activities. Eventually, in May , the Austrian Emperor, under pressure from the Dutch and British governments, suspended its charter for seven years and the Anglo-Austrian Treaty of Vienna ordered its final abolition. Even though a small number of illegal expeditions were organized under borrowed flags between and , the last ships ever sailing for the company did so in , a last expedition allowed under the Treaty of Vienna.

Native America: A History

The factory at Banquibazar, brought under direct Imperial rule by then, lasted until well into the s. Although the initial economic prospects did not look very bright for the new kingdom, the economic developments during the second half of the 19th century proved otherwise. Belgium enjoyed an unprecedented economic expansion [41] , thanks to the huge industrial successes of the Walloon steel mills and collieries and to the rebirth of the port of Antwerp. By Belgium was the fifth economic power in the world and the fourth most important export country.

The Belgian government managed to make the Dutch government accept a final payment, so as to put an end to the Scheldt duties. Antwerp was important not only as a port for overseas trade and transport, but also as one of the most successful emigration ports [43]. Between and some 2 million Europeans left for America via Antwerp on board the passenger steamers of the Red Star Line [44].

A great deal of the money generated by this sea trade found its way into art collections, beautiful art deco buildings and scientific enterprises such as the famous Antarctic expedition that Adrien de Gerlache de Gomery undertook from till This committee was instrumental in promoting and advancing the cause of the unification of maritime law. Unlike civil law, maritime law was not imposed by legislating authorities top-down process but was mainly created by merchants and seafarers bottom-up process.

As time went by, the most important principles of this customary law were laid down and ratified in written codifications. Maritime law is international by its very nature, and as shipping and navigation span the globe, maritime law can truly be called global. The CMI created and helped create many important international maritime conventions [51]. One who is familiar with maritime law cannot help but feel bewildered by the little progress made in the field of European let alone international!

This system soon proved a handicap to successful colonization. In consequence, there developed a new method of encouraging settlers to come to America. Companies, proprietors, and independent families entered into a negotiable contract with the prospective settler. In exchange for passage and maintenance, 'the emigrant was bound to labor for the contract-holder for a given period of time - usually from four to seven years. Free at the end of this term, he would receive freedom dues, sometimes including a small tract of land, usually fifty acres.

The emigrants so involved were called "indentured servants. Usually they fulfilled their obligations under the contracts faithfully. A few, however, ran away from their employers at the first opportunity. They, too, were able to secure land easily and to set up homesteads either in the colony where they had originally settled or in a neighboring one.

No social or other stigma attached to the family which had its beginnings in America under this semibondage arrangement. In every colony, in fact, many of the leading personages were, either former indentured servants or their children. They, like all other colonists, were the most valuable assets of a country whose greatest need was population.

Indeed, the colonies and all groups interested in their success prospered in direct ratio to the number of settlers who migrated. For land and other natural resources were practically unlimited, and progress was entirely dependent on the size of the population available to develop them. Of the settlers who came to America in the first three quarters of the seventeenth century, the overwhelming majority was English. There was a sprinkling of Dutch, Swedes, and Germans in the middle region, a few French Huguenots in South Carolina and elsewhere, and here and there a scattering of Spaniards, Italians, and Portuguese.

But these represented hardly ten per cent of the total population.

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After , England ceased to be the chief source of immigration, as great numbers came from Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland, and France for varied reasons. Thousands of Germans fled Europe to escape the path of war. A host of Scotch-Irish left northern Ireland to avoid the poverty induced by government and absentee landlord oppression. From Scotland and Switzerland came people also fleeing the specter of poverty. Immigration tended to move in waves, but over any period of years it was a steady stream.

In , the population amounted to about a quarter of a million. It doubled every twenty-five years until in it numbered more than two and a half million. For the most part, non-English colonists adapted themselves to the culture of the original settlers. This did not, however, mean that all settlers transformed themselves into Englishmen abroad. True, they adopted the English language, law, customs, and habits of thought, but only as these had been modified by conditions in America. And in the process of the amalgamation of these later immigrants with the original English colonists, further cultural modifications were effected.

The final result was a unique culture -a blend of English and - -ropean continental characteristics conditioned by the environment of the new world. Although a man and his family could shift from Massachusetts to Virginia, or from South Carolina to Pennsylvania, without making many basic readjustments, yet distinctions were marked between individual colonies. They were even more marked between groups of colonies. The several settlements fell into three fairly well-defined sections.

One of those was New England which became chiefly commercial and industrial, while in the south, a predominantly agrarian society was developing. Geography was the determining factor. A glaciated area, the New England region was strewn with boulders. Generally, the soil, except in rare spots in river valleys, was thin and poor, and the small area of level land, the short summers, and long winters made it inferior farming country. But the New Englanders soon found other profitable pursuits.

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They harnessed waterpower and established mills where they ground wheat and corn or sawed lumber for export. The coastal indentations made excellent harbors which promoted trade. Good stands of timber encouraged shipbuilding, and the sea was a source of great potential wealth. The cod fishery alone rapidly formed a basis for prosperity in Massachusetts. Settling in villages and towns around the harbors, New Englanders quickly adopted an urban existence.

Common pasture land and common woodlots served to satisfy the needs of townspeople who acquired small farms nearby. Many of these farmed in addition to carrying on some trade or business. Compactness made possible the village school, the village church, the town meeting, and frequent communication, and all of these together had a tremendous influence on the nature of the developing civilization. Sharing similar hardships, cultivating the same kind of rocky soil, following simple trades and crafts, these New Englanders rapidly acquired characteristics which marked them as a people apart.

Actually these qualities had roots that reached back to the one hundred and two sick and sea-weary "Pilgrims" who traveled to Cape Cod from Leyden and Plymouth. Coming under the auspices of the London Virginia Company and thus destined for settlement in Virginia, their ship, the famous Mayflower, made its landfall far to the north. After some weeks of exploring, the colonists decided not to make the trip to Virginia but to remain where they were. They chose Plymouth harbor as a site for their colony, and though the rigors of the first winter were severe, the settlement survived.

Even while Plymouth struggled for existence, other settlements were planted nearby. The one which occupied the Massachusetts Bay region after played a particularly significant part in the development of New England and of the nation. It was founded by some twenty-five men who obtained a royal charter. Some of these, together with a group of settlers, came to America themselves, bringing the charter with them. They were determined to succeed, and though New England proved something less than a paradise and some of the colonists went home to nurse their disillusion, most set themselves to the stem business of making a living and constructing a society suitable to the strong-minded individu als they were.

Within the first ten years, sixty-five learned preachers deeply versed in theology arrived, and the development of a theocracy in Massachusetts took place as a logical consequence of its leaders' deep conviction. In theory, the church and state were separate. Actually they were one, all institutions being subordinated to religion.

Soon a system of government, theocratic and authoritarian, evolved. At town meetings, however, there was opportunity for discussion of public problems, and settlers thereby received a certain amount of experience in selfgovernment. And though the towns developed around the church organization, the whole population, by the very exigencies of frontier life, shared in civic obligations and in consultative meetings. Still, for years the clergy and conservative laymen attempted to maintain conformity. They did not succeed, however, in binding the mind of every citizen or curbing the tongue of the inspired zealot.

Such a rebel was Roger Williams, a minister of blameless life, a brilliant man learned in the law, who questioned both the right of taking the Indians' land and the wisdom of keeping church and state unified. For spreading his "new and dangerous opinion against the authority of the magistrates," he was sentenced by the general court to banishment.

He found refuge among friendly Indians in Rhode Island and soon established a colony there based on the concepts that men might believe as they wished and that church and state would be forever separate. But heretics in search of liberty of conscience were not the only ones who left Massachusetts. Even orthodox Puritans seeking better lands and opportunity made their way from the colony. News of the fertility of the Connecticut River Valley, for instance, early attracted the interest of farmers having a difficult time with poor land. They were ready to brave the danger of the Indians for level ground and deep soil.

Significantly, these groups, in setting up a government, extended the franchise and eliminated church membership as a prerequisite for voting. Concurrently, other Massachusetts settlers filtered into the region to the north, and soon New Hampshire and Maine were colonized by men and women seeking liberty and land.

The Colonial Period

While Massachusetts Bay was indirectly extending its influence, it was growing apace at home and expanding its commerce. From the middle of the century onward, it rapidly grew prosperous, and Boston became one of America's greatest ports. Oak timbers for ships' hulls, tall pines for spars and masts, and pitch for the seams came from the northeastern forests. And building their own ships, sailing them to ports all over the world carrying freight as they Went, the shipmasters of Massachusetts Bay laid a foundation for a traffic which was to grow constantly in importance.

By the end of the colonial period, one-third of all vessels under the British flag were American-built. Surplus food products, ship stores, and wooden ware swelled the exports. New England shippers soon discovered, too, that rum and slaves were profitable commodities.

Society in the middle colonies, the second great division, was far more varied, cosmopolitan, and tolerant than that in New England. Pennsylvania and its appendage, Delaware, owed their initial success to William Penn, an eminently practical Quaker, whose aim Was to attract to the vast region granted him by King Charles 11 settlers of numerous faiths and varied nationalities. Also determined that the colony set an example of fair and honest dealings with the Indians, Penn entered into agreements with them which, scrupulously observed, maintained peace in the wilderness.

The colony functioned smoothly and grew rapidly. Within a year after Penn's arrival, three thousand new citizens came to Pennsylvania. Heart of the colony was Philadelphia, a city soon to be known for its broad, tree-shaded streets, its substantial brick and stone houses, and its busy docks. By the end of the colonial period, 30, people, representing many languages, creeds, and trades, lived there.

The Quakers, with their grave, deliberate ways, their philanthropy, and their talent for successful business enterprise made the city, by the middle of the eighteenth century, the thriving metropolis of colonial America. Though the Quakers dominated in Philadelphia, elsewhere in Pennsylvania other strains were well represented, The Germans came from a war-ravaged land in large numbers, asking for the chance to earn their bread.

They soon became the province's most skillful farmers. Important also in the colony's development was their knowledge of cottage industries - weaving, shoe-making, cabinet-making, and other crafts. Pennsylvania was also the principal gateway into the new world for a great migration of Scotch-Irish.

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They were vigorous frontiersmen, taking land where they wanted it and defending their rights with rifles and interminable texts from the Bible. Often lawless, they were an affliction to the godly Quakers, but their very shortcomings made them a force of incalculable importance. Believing in representative government, religion, and learning, they were the spearhead of civilization as they pushed ever farther into the wilderness. Mixed as were the people in Pennsylvania, it was in New York that the later polyglot nature of much of America was foreshadowed even as early as the mid-seventeenth century.

By , over a dozen languages could be heard along the Hudson and the population included Dutch, Flemings, Walloons, French, Danes, Norwegians, Swedes, English, Scotch, Irish, Germans, Poles, Bohemians, Portuguese, and Italians - the forerunners of millions of their compatriots in centuries to come.

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Most of them earned their living through trade and established a commercial civilization which anticipate d the characteristics of succeeding generations. But they were not a migrating people.

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There was land and to spare in Holland, and colonizing offered them neither political nor religious advantages which they did not already enjoy. In addition, the Dutch West India Company, which undertook to establish the new world settlement, found it difficult to find competent officials to keep the colony running smoothly.

Then in , with a revival of British interest in colonial activity, the Dutch settlement was taken over through conquest. Long after this, however, the Dutch continued to exercise an important social and economic influence. Their sharp-stepped gabled roofs became a permanent part of the landscape, and their merchants gave the city its characteristic commercial atmosphere.

The habits bequeathed by the Dutch also gave New York a hospitality to the pleasures of everyday life quite different from the austere atmosphere of Puritan Boston. In New York, holidays were marked by feasting and merrymaking. And many Dutch customs -like the habit of calling on one's neighbors and sharing a drink with them on New Year's Day and the visit of jovial Saint Nicholas at Christmas time - became countrywide customs which have survived to the present day.

With the transfer from Dutch authority, an English administrator set about remodeling the legal structure of New York to fit English traditions. He did his work so gradually and with such wisdom and tact that he won the friendship and respect of Dutch and English alike. Town governments had the autonomy characteristics of New England towns and in a few years there was a reasonably workable fusion between residual Dutch law and customs and English procedures and practice.

By , nearly 30, people lived in the province of New York. In the rich valleys of the Hudson, Mohawk, and other rivers, great estates flourished, and tenant farmers and small freehold farmers contributed to the agricultural development of the region. For most of the year, the grasslands and woods supplied feed for cattle, sheep, horses, and pigs; tobacco and flax grew with ease, and fruits, especially apples, were abundant.

But great as was the value of farm products, the fur trade also contributed to the growth of New York and Albany as cities of consequence.

The Netherlands from 1600 to the 1820s

For from Albany, the Hudson River was a convenient waterway for shipping furs and northern farm products to the busy port of New York. In direct contrast to New England and the middle colonies was the predominantly rural character of the southern settlements of Virginia, Maryland, the Carolinas, and Georgia. Jamestown, in Virginia, was the first colony to survive in the new world.

Late in December , a motley group of about a hundred men, sponsored by a London colonizing company, set out in search of a great adventure. They dreamed of quick riches from gold and precious stones. Homes in the wilderness wefe not their goal. Among them, Captain John Smith emerged as the dominant spirit, and despite quarrels, starvation, and the constant threat of Indian attacks, his will held the little colony together through the first years.

In the earliest days, the promoting company, ever eager for quick returns, required the colonists to concentrate on producing for export naval stores, lumber, roots, and other products for sale in the London market, instead of permitting them to plant crops and otherwise provide for their own subsistence. After a few disastrous years, however, the company eased its requirements, distributed land to the colonists, and allowed them to devote most of their energies to private undertakings. Then, in , a development occurred which ultimately revolutionized the economy, not only of Virginia, but of the whole contiguous region.