The British Atlantic World c.1580-1763 - HI6056

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Spring 5 30 (15) DR B Marsh checkmark-circle


The curriculum works systematically through the exploration and settlement of different regions, with weekly material covering particular migratory pathways, including Chesapeake planters, New England puritans, pirates and settlers in the Caribbean, and other seminal cultural zones including attention to the Middle Colonies and the Lower South. Introductory coverage will explore the "prehistory" of British colonialism through an examination of the plantation of Ulster, and other aspects of migration and imperialism will be treated through engagement with the Scottish experiment at Darien and English attempts to gain footholds in West Africa. The curriculum will concentrate on particular themes to help sustain integrity across this diffuse oceanic domain: encounters with indigenous peoples, Atlantic imperialism, settlement demographics, and cultural folkways. The final weeks of the course will treat points of convergence and integration, including the growth of cities, religious movements, political commonalities, and the eighteenth-century wars for empire in the Atlantic, culminating in the Peace of Paris of 1763.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Weekly one-hour lectures and two-hour seminars.

Method of assessment

The module will be assessed by coursework and exam on a 60% coursework and 40% exam ratio.

The coursework component will be assessed as follows:
1) 1 x 3,000 word essay, worth 60% of the coursework mark
2) 1 x 1,500 word online independent critical review and commentary, worth 20% of the coursework mark
3) A presentation mark, worth 10% of the coursework mark
4) A general seminar performance mark, worth 10% of the coursework mark

In the Summer term there will be a two–hour exam, which will make up 40% of the final mark for the module.

Indicative reading

K.R. Andrews. (1984) Trade, plunder, and settlement: maritime enterprise and the genesis of the British Empire, 1480-1630. Cambridge: CUP
D. Armitage & M.J. Braddick (eds.). (2002) The British Atlantic world, 1500-1800. Basingstoke: Palgrave
N. Canny (ed.). (1999) The origins of empire: British overseas enterprise to the close of the seventeenth century. Oxford: OUP
D.H. Fischer (1989). Albion's seed: four British folkways in America. New York: OUP USA
A. Games. (1999) Migration and the origins of the English Atlantic world. Cambridge: Harvard University Press
J.P. Greene. (1988) Pursuits of happiness: the social development of early modern British colonies. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press
A. McFarlane. (1994) The British in the Americas, 1480-1815. London: Longman
M.B. Norton. (1997) Founding Mothers and Fathers: Gendered Power and the Forming of American Society. New York: Knopf
A. Pagden. (1995) Lords of all the worlds: ideologies of empire in Spain, Britain and France c.1500-c.1850. New Haven & London: Yale University Press
S. Sarson. (2005) British America, 1500-1800: Creating Colonies, Imagining an Empire. New York: Bloomsbury

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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