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Empire at the PeripheryBritish Colonists, Anglo-Dutch Trade, and the Development of the British Atlantic, 1621-1713$
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Christian J. Koot

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814748831

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814748831.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Empire at the Periphery

Christian J. Koot

NYU Press

This introductory chapter sets out the book's main objectives, namely to explain the rise of British Atlantic colonies within an empire struggling to fashion its authority institutionally on the one hand, and detail the transnational alliances forged in everyday commerce on the other. The book recaptures the process by which a new idea of an exclusive British empire displaced the seventeenth century's interimperial Atlantic community, focusing on the experience of colonists living in three specific places—New York, Barbados, and the English Leeward Islands—who had important connections to Dutch traders. Concentrating on the commercial experience of these individuals, it investigates how colonists maintained and adapted their extant commercial practices to outside efforts to tame them by asking: Why did British colonists trade with Dutch merchants? What goods did they exchange? How did this trade occur? How did these patterns change over time? What was the impact of commercial regulations on Anglo-Dutch exchange? How did interimperial exchange shape the economic habits of British colonies? And finally, when and why did colonists shift away from Dutch trade? An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.

Keywords:   British Atlantic colonies, British Empire, interimperial colonial communities, New York, Barbados, English Leeward Islands, Dutch traders

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