I ntroduction xix
warfare all intensified. Spain was challenged by the colonization efforts of England,
France, and the Netherlands in North Amer i ca and the Caribbean. Portugal’s early
advantage in Africa was also diminished, especially once the Crown of the king-
dom passed to Spain in the late sixteenth century.
Spain’s competitors focused their energies on the periphery of the Americas,
places such as the Grand Banks, New France, the Chesapeake Bay region, and the
Hudson River Valley. New, lasting settlements were founded, for example, at James-
town (1607), Quebec (1608), New Netherland (1614), and New England (1620).
Gold and silver were still highly prized by Eu ro pean colonizers, but more and more
trade in new crops and commodities drove transatlantic commerce. The fur trade
in New France and tobacco cultivation in the Chesapeake area were less shiny than
bullion, but just as desirable. Sugar growing also proliferated. Brazilian sugar plant-
ers solved the manpower bottleneck that had limited their production, and new
centers of the sugar trade sprouted in French Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Saint-
Domingue (today’s Haiti), and in English Jamaica and Barbados.
Expanding agricultural production and growing trade networks led to the expan-
sion of slavery and the slave trade across the seventeenth century. In Africa, the slave
trade was still dominated by powerful Africans, who captured people in the interior,
moved them to the coast, and oversaw their sale to Eu ro peans. Competition among
Africans to supply slaves led to increased warfare as raiders sought to capture more
people. On the other end, competition among Eu ro peans also picked up as Portugal
lost its market share to the Dutch, French, and English. By the end of the century,
English ships were transporting the most souls destined for sale in the New World.
Voluntary migration also surged in the seventeenth century. Most European
migrants came as servants. In Europe, servitude was a familiar condition and it
could be a viable life strategy for a poor person hoping to improve his or her lot
over time. The Amer i cas attracted indentured servants, men and women who con-
tracted to labor for several years in exchange for passage across the ocean and the
promise of land when they finished their terms of service. Survival was no sure
thing, but it came with the reward of land that was unattainable in Europe. Reli-
gious strife also drove migration. The Puritans, Quakers, Moravians, and Hugue-
nots were the best known, but a Jewish population also traversed the seas, and
Catholics were in no small supply, either.
The Eu ro pean powers warred with each other throughout the century. Eu ro pean
affairs, especially dynastic interests, remained the focus, but the Amer i cas emerged
as a vital area of concern as well. The lucrative trade of the Amer i cas was worth
fighting over. Throughout the century, Spain continued to claim the region as its
own exclusive possession, with the settlements and endeavors of rivals denounced
as interlopers, smugglers, or pirates. Spain’s rivals, however, succeeded in breaking
the monopoly over time, with England winning a right to colonize in 1671, and
France in 1697. Private adventurers were helpful tools for Spain’s enemies. England,
France, and the Netherlands all partnered with sea rovers, providing licenses (of
varying degrees of plausible legitimacy) to sanction attacks on Spain.
The cycle of wars stretched inland and came to embroil the many Native groups
who populated the Americas, especially in North America. Where once Natives