Building the Atlantic Empires: Unfree Labor and Imperial States in the Political Economy of Capitalism, ca. 1500-1914


Building the Atlantic Empires explores the relationship between state recruitment of unfree labor and capitalist and imperial development. Contributors show Western European states as agents of capitalist expansion, imposing diverse forms of bondage on workers for infrastructural, plantation, and military labor.
Extending the prolific literature on racial slavery, these essays help transcend imperial, colonial, geographic, and historiographic boundaries through comparative insights into multiple forms and ideologies of unfree labor as they evolved over the course of four centuries in the Dutch, French, English, Spanish, and Portuguese empires. The book raises new questions for scholars seeking connections between the history of servitude and slavery and the ways in which capitalism and imperialism transformed the Atlantic world and beyond.

Contributors are: Pepijn Brandon, Rafael Chambouleyron, James Coltrain, John Donoghue, Karwan Fatah-Black, Elizabeth Heath, Evelyn P. Jennings, and Anna Suranyi. With a foreword by Peter Way.

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John Donoghue, Ph.D. (2006), University of Pittsburgh, is Associate Professor of History at Loyola University Chicago. He published his first monograph ‘Fire under the Ashes’: An Atlantic History of the English Revolution with the University of Chicago Press in 2013.

Evelyn P. Jennings is Professor and Margaret Vilas Chair of Latin American History at St. Lawrence University specializing in the Spanish Caribbean. She has published essays in William and Mary Quarterly, the Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, and edited collections.
Foreword ... vii
Peter Way

Acknowledgements ... x
List of Tables ... xii
Notes on Contributors ... xiii

Introduction ... 1

1 The Sinews of Spain’s American Empire: Forced Labor in Cuba from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries ... 25
Evelyn P. Jennings

2 Indian Freedom and Indian Slavery in the Portuguese Amazon (1640–1755) ... 54
Rafael Chambouleyron

3 Constructing the Atlantic’s Boundaries: Forced and Coerced Labor on Imperial Fortifications in Colonial Florida ... 72
James Coltrain

4 “For the Reputation and Respectability of the State”: Trade, the Imperial State, Unfree Labor, and Empire in the Dutch Atlantic ... 84
Pepijn Brandon and Karwan Fatah-Black

5 The Unfree Origins of English Empire-Building in the Seventeenth Century Atlantic ... 109
John Donoghue

6 Indenture, Transportation, and Spiriting: Seventeenth Century English Penal Policy and ‘Superfluous’ Populations ... 132
Anna Suranyi

7 Citizens of the Empire? Indentured Labor, Global Capitalism and the Limits of French Republicanism in Colonial Guadeloupe ... 160
Elizabeth Heath

Conclusion ... 180
Selected Bibliography ... 185
Index ... 207
For all students and scholars interested in the conjoined Atlantic histories of unfree labor, imperial expansion, and capitalist development in the early modern and modern eras.