The British Atlantic World c.1580-1763 - HIST6056

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


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.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 30
Private study hours: 270
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Topic Essay 3,500 words 40%
Source Review 1,750 words 20%
Scholarship Review 1,750 words 20%
Seminar Participation 10%
Presentation 10-minutes 10%

Reassessment methods:
Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

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
I. Berlin. (1998) Many Thousands Gone: the first two centuries of slavery in North America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP [E-Book]
N. Canny (ed.). (1999) The origins of empire: British overseas enterprise to the close of the seventeenth century. Oxford: OUP [E-Book]
N. Canny & P. Morgan (eds.). (2011) The Oxford Handbook of the Atlantic World, c.1450-c.1850. Oxford: OUP [E-Book]
S. Sarson. (2005) British America, 1500-1800: Creating Colonies, Imagining an Empire. New York: Bloomsbury

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the Level 5 module students will be able to:

1 demonstrate the knowledge and conceptual tools necessary to understand and interpret the history of Atlantic colonisation conducted from Britain between c.1580 and c.1760.
2 manifest an understanding of the most important relevant episodes of the history of the period, and some of the historiographical debates surrounding the subject.
3 critically analyse a range of primary sources including letters, diaries, journals, memoirs, published and unpublished material (among many others).
4 exhibit strong analytical and critical skills and be able to evaluate and assess early American history and its impact and legacy in later periods.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the Level 5 module students will be able to:

1 enhance their ability to express complex ideas and arguments through a variety of communication methods, using skills which can be transferred to other areas of study and employment.
2 enhance communication, presentational skills and information technology skills


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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