Peter Russell's Henry 'the Navigator' is one of those rare books which has had classic, or rather legendary, status even before it was published.
Sometimes you get lucky when you publish a book. Matthew Mulcahy's intriguing and well-written analysis of the cultural impact of hurricanes in the plantation regions of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British America came out at an extremely apposite time for an academic publication, a month or so after one of the biggest natural disasters in American history.
The Caribbean is not only made up of the islands in the Caribbean Sea but also of the mainland territories of Belize, Suriname, Guyana, and French Guiana. The region is marked by diversity. Some territories are very small, such as St. Martin, which has a surface area of thirty-seven square miles and a population of 73,000.
As the bicentenary of the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade approached, the past few years saw a great outpouring of scholarship on subjects related to the relationship between Britain, slavery, race and empire, with particular focus upon Britain's entry into participation in the slave trade and plantation agriculture, and upon the rise of popular opposition to slavery.
In a seminal article on Portuguese merchants published 35 years ago (1), David Grant Smith suggested (on p. 247) that emigrants from Madeira ‘constituted a sort of gentile Diaspora’, highlighting how family ties and friendships originating on this small Portuguese Atlantic island ‘endured and formed the basis for a network of commercial relationships’.
The growth of academic interest in the ‘Iberian Atlantic World’ during the last decade has also witnessed the expansion of scholarship on the presence of, and role played in it by, Judeoconversos (or ‘New Christians’): the descendants of Jews who were converted (often by force) to Christianity in the 14th and 15th centuries.
John Lynch, a highly distinguished Latin American scholar and Emeritus Professor of Latin American History at the Institute of Latin American Studies, published New Worlds, A Religious History of Latin America in 2012, on the eve of the election of the first pope from Latin America, Francis I; it provides a very timely introduction to the history of the Catholic Church in Latin America
Serge Gruzinski compares Cortés’s actions in Mexico with suggestions for the invasion of China, adumbrated by Portuguese captives in Canton in 1522–3.
The cotton industry is fundamental to the development of global capitalism and broadly shaped the world we live in today. It is therefore important to realise the extent to which this depended on the militarisation of trade, massive land expropriation, genocide and slavery.
It is difficult to believe now that generations of scholars in the 20th century argued with insistence that the indigenous cultures of the Americas were destroyed by European imperial expansion.