A Cultural History Of The Atlantic World Essay

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In John K. Thornton’s book, A Cultural History of the Atlantic World, 1250 – 1820, Thornton describes the exploration of the western world by powerful European nations. Early on in the text Thornton details the ways early European merchants and explorers discovered the routes across the Atlantic to what would eventually become the Americas. He then lays out the formation and expansion of the slave trade between Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Throughout all of this Thornton very effectively communicates and disproves any common mistakes or false presumptions readers may have. He continues to do this when he switches his focus from the discovery of the Atlantic world to the colonization of it. Thornton explains how the two major European powers in the Atlantic world at that time, England and Spain, “conquered” and colonized the new world. He especially focuses on the relationships between the native peoples and the incoming Europeans. He explores the ways both groups effected each other. He goes on to state that the way in which the social structure of the European colonies was determine in large measure by the social structure of the indigenous people at the time of European arrival. This serves as Thornton’s thesis of the text and he provides evidence to support his claim. He also mentions that most of the time the story of the Atlantic World is told from an exclusively European perspective. And while he does try to include all aspects in the narrative I’m not totally
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