British Maritime Enterprise in the New World: From the Late Fifteenth to the Mid-Eighteenth Century

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This is a single-volume survey of the voyages of English navigators, from the pioneers of the late 15th century to the scientific expeditions of the early 19th, not only in South American waters, but also the Caribbean and North America. While granting deserved attention to names such as Drake, Hawkins, Davis, Cavendish, Frobisher, Raleigh, Hudson, Dampier and Anson, it also represents a more balanced picture of English maritime enterprise by acknowledging others whose actions have not gained a wide currency.


“. . . scholarly, thought-provoking and entertaining book. It has much to offer to the academic: a history of British seaborne ventures to the Americas which documents the purposes of expeditions, dates of embarkation, names of companies and sponsors, names of captains, tonnage of boats, numbers of crew members, losses of crew, and where appropriate the value of prizes captured. But at the same time it has a wider appeal, giving the reader a taste of the adventure involved and brief insights into the personality of the protagonists. . . the book has a great variety of material with which to inform us while entertaining us.” – The Mariner’s Mirror

“. . . a most useful and comprehensive overview on the maritime activities developed along the early modern period in the Americas by seamen, pirates, and traders originally from Great Britain. The manuscript’s conception and structure will enable any reader to obtain a complete image of such activities from the very beginning in the sixteenth century up to the times prior to the wars of independence. In such mode, the text provides an excellent historical introduction to graduate students, scholarly researchers, and a larger audience as well. . . . masterly use of primary, archival and secondary, literary sources. . . this new work represents a major contribution on the first cross-cultural contacts between the Old and the New World.” – Teodor Hampe Martinez

“The author already has an international reputation for his publications on Peruvian history and British maritime history in the Latin American Region. This new volume, probably his most important work to date, represents the culmination of several years of painstaking archive research, visits to Latin America, and well-informed interpretation of sources. . . . The historian will find in it the kind of scholarship that gives convincing evidence for assertions, and offers useful indication of further reading. . . . there is no doubt that this book has a vast wealth of fascinating information for the general reader too. An introductory chapter places everything in a context for the uninitiated: the motives of the navigators (a term that turns out to be, in some respects, a euphemism for a varied assortment of naval persons and private adventurers), the kinds of ship they sailed in, the state of the art of navigating, and even life on board ship. . . there is something for everyone in this volume: minute detail of such matters as the cost of equipping a ship and the value of jewelry plundered during an attack on a ship or a coastal city, an insight into the careers of individual navigators, and a broad overall view of the British struggle with Spain in the context of colonial affairs and international relations.” – Peter Beardsell

“British Maritime Enterprise in the New World is an excellent reference for anyone interested in British naval history, colonial explorations, the history of privateering and piracy, and the early days of scientific discovery in the New World. This book will provide excellent background information for anyone who is portraying the Living History persona of someone who has gone to sea. I recommend this book to all who are interested in colonial naval history.” – Robert G. Pasquill, Jr., Reviewer’s Consortium

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface by John Fisher
Introduction: Motives for Overseas Enterprise; Ships; Navigation; Conditions on Board Ship; the Text
PART ONE: The West Indies and Spanish Main
1. First Intrusions into the Caribbean: Anglo-Spanish Trade; the Unexpected Arrival of John Rut (1527)
2. John Hawkins and the Slave Trade (1562-1568): First Hawkins Voyage; Second Hawkins Voyage; Voyage of John Lovell; third Hawkins Voyage and the Battle of San Juan de Ulua; Aftermath
3. The War of Reprisals (1569 – 1578): Return of Francis Drake; Drake’s Voyage of 1572-73; Other Privateering Voyages to the Caribbean; Voyage of John Oxenham to Panama and the South Sea
4. The Privateering War I (1585-95): The Road to War; Preparations for the Return of Drake; Drakes’s Voyage of 1585-86; Further Privateering Voyages
5. The Privateering War II (1595-1604): Preparations for the Return of Drake and Hawkins; Voyage of Drake and Hawkins; Continuation of the Privateering War; First Trading Voyages
6. Trade, Settlement and Privateering: New Objectives in the Post-Elizabethan Era; Voyage of Sir Henry Colt to Barbados and St. Kitts; Voyages of William Jackson; Cromwell’s Western Design
7. The Buccaneers in the Caribbean (1630-1720s): Origins; Heyday in the Caribbean; Henry Morgan; Decline and New Horizons from the 1670s; Piracy
8. The Royal Navy in the West Indies (1655-1762): Jamaica Squadron; Naval War in the Caribbean; Expeditions of Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon; Expedition to Havana
PART TWO: North America
1. The First Explorers (1480-1547): Bristol and the New World; John Cabot (or Giovanni Caboto); Case for an English Discovery of America; Last Voyages of the Reign of Henry VII; Voyages of the Reign of Henry VIII.
2. Birth of New Interests (1576-1590): Martin Frobisher and the north-West Passage; Arctic Voyages of John Davis; Colonial Projects of Sir Humphrey Gilbert; Walter Ralegh and the Amadas-Barlowe Voyage to Virginia; Return to Virginia
3. The North West Passage from 1602: East India Company, Voyages of Waymouth and Knight; Voyages of Henry Hudson; Button, gibbons, Baffin, Bylot and Hawkridge; Voyages of Foxe and James; The Enduring Quest
4. From Exploration to Colonial Expansion (1591-1681): Gulf of St. Lawrence; Northern Virginia; Return to Roanoke and Southern Virginia; Creation of the Virginia Colony; New England; Newfoundland; Colonial Expansion
PART THREE: The South Atlantic and the South Sea
1. Brazil and the Lure of Peru: Voyages of William Hawkins and Others to Brazil (1530-1542); First News of the South Sea and Peru (1526-1589); Sir Richard Grenville’s Project for the South Sea and South Atlantic
2. Drake’s Circumnavigation (1577-1580): Draft Plan and Aims of the Voyage; Ships and Crews; Voyage to the Straits of Magellan; Coasts of Chile and Peru; California and the Return to England
3. Drake’s successor en route to Peru (1582-1594): Reactions in Peru and England to Drake’s voyage; Voyage of Edward Fenton; Expedition of the Earl of Cumberland; Circumnavigation of Thomas Cavendish; Voyage of the Delight of Bristol; Tragic Return of Thomas Cavendish; Voyage of Richard Hawkins
4. Brazil and the Coast of Guiana (1580-1631): Trading Voyages to Brazil; Ralegh’s Expedition to Guiana; Voyages of Keymis and Berry; Ralegh’s Last Venture; Trade and Settlement in Guiana an on the R. Amazon
5. Return to the South Sea: England and the South Sea in the Post-Elizabethan Era; John Narborough’s Aims in the South Sea; Narborough’s Voyage; Expedition of John Strong
6. The Buccaneers in the South Sea: Coxon, Sawkins and Sharp. The Isthmus and Gulf of Panama; Sharp in the South Sea; Sharp’s Return to the West Indies and London; Gathering of the Second Wave; Cook, Eaton and Davis; Davis, Swan, Harris and New Arrivals in the Gulf of Panama; Break-up of the English Alliance; Davis, Harris and Knight; Reunion at Guayaquil; Final Acts
7. New Circumnavigators and the Last Privateers (17031722): Voyage of William Dampier; Voyage of Woodes Rogers; South Sea Company; The Last Privateers – John Clipperton and George Shelvocke
8. The First Naval Expeditions (1740-1766): Preparations for the Voyage of George Anson; Anson in the South Sea; Expedition of Captain John Byron
EPILOGUE: The Falkland Isles, Terra Australis Incognita and the North-West Passage; The 19th Century – Scientists and Naval Seamen
Bibliography and Index

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