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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume I: The Origins of EmpireBritish Overseas Enterprise to the Close of the Seventeenth Century$
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Nicholas Canny

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205623

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205623.001.0001

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Overseas Expansion and Trade in the Seventeenth Century

Overseas Expansion and Trade in the Seventeenth Century

Chapter:
(p.398) 18 Overseas Expansion and Trade in the Seventeenth Century
Source:
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume I: The Origins of Empire
Author(s):

Nuala Zahedieh

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205623.003.0018

It was after the establishment of the East India Company in 1600 and the first successful English settlement in Virginia in 1607 that English trade and enterprise underwent truly radical change, acquired a thoroughly intercontinental character, and laid the foundation of the British Empire. This chapter outlines the development of English transoceanic commerce during these expansionary times, and considers its impact on the economy of the mother country. Finally, the expansion of transoceanic trade played a major role in attracting foreign capital and stimulating the financial innovations which have been dubbed a ‘commercial revolution’. Colonial expansion was not a sufficient condition for economic development, as demonstrated in Spain and Portugal, but it was certainly an important positive stimulus, as recognized by contemporaries. The fact that Englishmen seized the opportunities opened up by transoceanic commerce goes a long way towards explaining English development in this period.

Keywords:   East India Company, Virginia, British Empire, English settlement, commerce, expansion, trade, economy

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