Traditional narratives in American history, especially in colonial history, tend to focus primarily on British policy and British trade networks. Taking a global approach to the maritime trade of British America in the colonial era provides a better understanding of the actual economy, however.
The medieval Genoese ranged from China to the Atlantic, and their experience in navigation, the sugar industry, and the slave trade were the elemental foundation of Iberian colonial expansion.
Borderlands history studies the making and crossing of borders. While the term “borderlands” has no fixed definition, it can refer to spaces of encounter between different peoples and political entities.
Scholars of Pacific history explore how people build lives dependent on the ocean, how maritime connections create communities, and how humans and the environment shape each other.
Ships travel across oceans and in doing so connect people in disparate places across the globe. In this essay, Brandon Tachco explains how a focus on ships as a theme can add much to the study of world history.