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The Binds of the Anxious Mariner: Patriarchy, Paternalism, and the Maritime Culture of Eighteenth-Century Bermuda

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This essay examines the roles and social responsibilities of mariners (ship captains and mates) through a close study of eighteenth-century Bermuda’s merchant marine. Challenging studies focused on ordinary seamen which mainly portray ship captains in negative, oppositional ways, this article instead explores links between the crews of typical small intercolonial trading vessels. Bermudian mariners had complex, reciprocal relationships with both the free and enslaved men who worked under them and with the broader maritime community that they served. Because Bermuda’s merchant marine resembled that of many other Anglo-American seaports, the portrait of the mariner that emerges for this island helps us better understand American seafaring culture and communities generally.

Affiliations: 1: University of Rochester


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