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Chapter Summary

In his wide-ranging opening essay, Stanley Engerman joins the debate about European trade and colonization around the world after 1500. He argues that rivalry was a distinguishing mark of overseas expansion and should be seen as a continuation of competition within Europe. European migration may have played a key role in imperial rivalry, but we know less about it than about the African slave trade, as Olivier Pétré-Grenouilleau observes. Unlike African immigrants, European Americans tended to reproduce, at least in the long run. The Spanish and Portuguese established the first Atlantic expansion system, in which their American colonies were characterized by the dominance of smallscale subsistence agriculture. As the most powerful nation of its day, Britain exerted its influence on other countries to end the slave trade.

Keywords: African slave trade; Britain; colonization; European Americans



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