The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume I: The Origins of Empire

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William Roger Louis, Nicholas Canny, Alaine Low
OUP Oxford, Jul 26, 2001 - Business & Economics - 560 pages
Volume I of The Oxford History of the British Empire explores the origins of empire. It shows how and why England, and later Britain, became involved with transoceanic navigation, trade, and settlement during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. As late as 1630 involvement with regions beyond the traditional confines of Europe was still tentative; by 1690 it had become a firm commitment. The Origins of Empire explains how commercial and, eventually, territorial expansion brought about fundamental change, not only in the parts of America, Africa, and Asia that came under British influence, but also in domestic society and in Britain's relations with other European powers. The chapters, by leading historians, both illustrate the interconnections between developments in Europe and overseas and offer specialist studies on every part of the world that was substantially affected by British colonial activity. Their analysis also focuses on the ethical issues that were presented by the encounter with peoples previously unknown to Europeans, and on the ways in which the colonists struggled to justify their conduct and activities. Series blurb The Oxford History of the British Empire is a major new assessment of the Empire in the light of recent scholarship and the progressive opening of historical records. From the founding of colonies in North America and the West Indies in the seventeenth century to the reversion of Hong Kong to China at the end of the twentieth, British imperialism was a catalyst for far-reaching change. The Oxford History of the British Empire as a comprehensive study allows us to understand the end of Empire in relation to its beginnings, the meaning of British imperialism for the ruled as well as the rulers, and the significence of the British Empire as a theme in world history.

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User Review  - xenchu - LibraryThing

This book is an overview of the first period of the creation of the British Empire. It covers all parts of that empire from India to the New World. Each chapter was written by a different expert. Each ... Read full review

The Oxford history of the British Empire

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The first two volumes of this five-volume history of the British Empire establish a very high standard of scholarship. Over three dozen scholars examine both major and minor aspects of the modern ... Read full review


An Introduction
2 The Struggle for Legitimacy and the Image of Empire in the Atlantic to c1700
3 War Politics and Colonization 15581625
4 Guns and Sails in the First Phase of English Colonization 15001650
5 Literature and Empire
Colonization within Britain and Ireland 1580s1640s
7 Englands New World and the Old 1480s1630s
The Shaping of English Society in the SeventeenthCentury Chesapeake
13 The English Government War Trade and Settlement 16251688
Ireland 16501700
15 Native Americans and Europeans in English America 15001700
New Opportunities for Settlement 16601700
British Settlement in the Carolinas at the Close of the Seventeenth Century
18 Overseas Expansion and Trade in the Seventeenth Century
The Continental Perspective 16501713
20 The Glorious Revolution and America

9 New England in the Seventeenth Century
the Caribbean and Britain in the Seventeenth Century
11 The English in Western Africa to 1700
12 The English in Asia to 1700
21 Navy State Trade and Empire

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About the author (2001)

Nicholas Canny is Professor of History and Academic Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Settlement and Historical Change at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

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