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The atlantic world essays on slavery migration and imagination

The Atlantic World: Essays on Slavery, Migration, and Imagination (New York:Â A Cultural History of the United States to 1877John K.

Kupperman, Karen Ordahl. The Atlantic in World History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

As with the previous Epochal Events (, , ), imagine an English peasant of 1500 being placed in the midst of London in 2014, or visiting today's average American home. The only metal in an English home of 1500 might have been some tools and eating utensils. Wood and wool were the primary materials in an English home. Some metals of the modern world would be vaguely familiar, but plastic would be unrecognizable. English peasants’ homes had thatched roofs, dirt floors, no plumbing, and people rarely bathed. Glass windows only existed in rich homes, which were built like fortresses. London was a walled city in 1500, and nobody went outside after dark if they valued their lives. Sewers did not yet exist, and violence and capital punishment were common. In England in 1500, only 1% of women were literate and only 10% of men. About half of all people died before adulthood, and if they survived that long, they could expect to live into their early 60s if they were lucky. Few made it to 70. Only rich people were fat. Strangers roaming the countryside could legally be enslaved. Modern appliances and machines would all be incomprehensible, and all electronic devices would seem magical. How much of a modern TV show would be understandable? Cars, trains, airplanes, and rockets would be mind-boggling. By 1500, news would have filtered into learned circles that Spain discovered some Atlantic islands, but nobody yet suspected that new continents had been discovered. The telescope would not be invented for another century, Earth was seen as the center of the universe, and the . Imagine trying to explain the Apollo moon landings to that peasant, if the peasant did not regard it as some fairy tale (many people ). Could an English peasant from 1500 dropped into 2014 London have ever adapted?

The Atlantic World Essays On Slavery Migration And Imagination

Klooster specializes in the history of the Atlantic world (15th-19th centuries).

Although , it began its institutionalization with Europe’s conquest of the world. For the first time ever, a person could board a ship in a land of people with skin of one color and disembark and see people with skins of markedly different colors. Also, since the people with non-white skin that Europeans encountered were always exploited, slaughtered, or dispossessed, their differing skin color became part of the abuse-justifying ideology of the conquerors. Racism reached its zenith in the USA, which in scale, intensity, and duration is . The racism always had an underlying economic rationale, which justified the genocide of Indians, enslavement of Africans, horrific treatment of East Asians, today’s agricultural labors of Latinos, and so on. When Europeans fought each other in the imperial age, they had a rather gentlemanly way of fighting and treating captured prisoners, but when the opponents were Indians, for instance, scalping them, making clothing from their skins, and the like was standard behavior. The “souvenirs” were in that they had white skin on them. That kind of behavior was evident from the , and during the USA’s theft of temperate North America, its . Intentionally onto the Indians was part of the British bag of tricks, and hunting Indians like animals was a favorite sport of both and .

Colonial commerce was never sustainable. It was based on fashion such as and dyes, , substance addiction such as and , or , such as . "Settlers" wiped out natives to either or work them to death in and plantation operations. It was arguably . The classic of slaves, sugar, and rum had not one redeeming quality or any economic necessity. The rise of Europe was an unprecedented evil inflicted on the world’s peoples, and any analysis of the economic benefits of colonialism and global conquest has to weigh those unparalleled crimes on its scales. Economists from Physiocrats onward have rarely performed such an analysis. Marx is one of the few exceptions.

the atlantic world essays on slavery ..

The Atlantic World: Studies In Migration, Imagination And  Slavery (Englewood.

"Now a major dilemma had arisen: Who was going to represent the new fictional nation they were creating vis-a-vis the nations poised in the Atlantic and the rest of the world of similarly fictional nations, large and small?

In essence, we must stop being a slave to the mentality of nationalism and the word "nation." We must stop falling into the mind-set that affirms old world order relationships even as it seeks to transcend them.

Bridging the early modern Atlantic world : people, products, and practices on the move ..
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world essays on slavery migration and imagination;

The Iberian Peninsula had been the site of wars for several centuries by the , and the Christian/Islamic animosity there was pronounced; enslaving captured opponents was standard practice. Portugal began the maritime innovations that would see them seize the spice trade from their Islamic rivals. is closely associated with the rise of Portuguese maritime knowledge and practice. How responsible Henry was for Portugal’s maritime prowess has long been debated, but what is not debatable is that Portugal began developing the necessary knowledge and skills for accomplishing an unprecedented feat: sailing the world’s oceans. Until that time, only the Indian Ocean was regularly traveled because of its relatively gentle and predictable nature. Not until Europe’s rise were the Pacific, Atlantic, Arctic, and Antarctic oceans regularly traveled. sailors , unsuccessfully, and even settled some Atlantic islands, but Portugal was humanity’s first successful practitioner of transoceanic navigation. Many , and sailed down the Atlantic Coast of Africa and across the Atlantic. The Portuguese began , , and in 1434, Portugal became the first European power to on the African coast.

Atlantic essay imagination migration slavery world

The methods of preindustrial civilizations, with deforestation and agriculture, were never really sustainable, as they disrupted ecosystems and even affected local climates. The only way that the system, for instance, was sustainable was that they let the land go fallow for eight years after two years of crops, in order to let the damage heal before farmers repeated the cycle. Only when practices were intermittent, to allow ecosystems to recover somewhat, could they be called sustainable, but even then the idea is somewhat misleading. It was an ecosystem commandeered for human benefit at the expense of the original ecosystem’s denizens, and the practice never approached true abundance. Those civilizations were all mired in scarcity, with only about one person in a thousand living to a ripe old age, and only about “making it” economically (the potentate). In such a world of scarcity, life was often cheap, and virtually every preindustrial civilization had , from to to chattel slavery to becoming a human sacrifice to other forms.

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When , there was real economic benefit from their activities, not simply accounting legerdemain, and their was more sustainable. Venetians and Genoese engaged in early instances of a similar process, but it began ascending in earnest as Europe conquered the world. The basic tenet of mercantilism was the acquisition of “treasure” by the mother nation via “trade.” The classic mercantile situation was forcing subjugated people to produce raw material for shipment to the imperial nation for processing. The finished goods would be shipped back to the subjugated people at an inflated price, as the imperial nation slowly milked the subject nation by unfair terms of exchange that they controlled (or sold such cheaply produced goods to other nations). In mercantilist practice, they did not usually dictate how the workforce was organized or how they worked. The intervention was at the market level, by interposing themselves into the process in which producers were enslaved and bled dry by unfair pricing for both raw goods and finished goods. The imperial power had both captive producers and markets for finished goods. Early colonial efforts were largely mercantilist in nature when they were not simply gold rushes.

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