I ntroduction xxi
their land. Indian allies ­were vital to the war efforts of both sides. The war had
much larger European—­and indeed worldwide dimensions—as Britain’s co­ali­
tion included Portugal, Prus­sia, and several German states, and France allied with
Spain, Rus­sia, Austria, and Sweden. Fighting also took place in Africa, India, and
the Philippines. The Peace of Paris that ended the war in 1763 redrew the map of
Eu­rope, Africa, and the Amer­i­cas.
The Seven Years’ War also had a profound effect on what would emerge as the
signature movement of the late eigh­teenth and early nineteenth centuries: the dis-
integration of empires and the growth of in­de­pen­dent nation-­states. In North
Amer­i­ca, the French and Indian War left Britain with an enormous debt and an
enormous territory to defend. British policymakers felt it was only fair for their
colonists, who benefitted the most from Britain’s protection, to help defray some
of the cost. Some colonists disagreed, seeing British policy as a threat to their lib-
erties. The ensuing American Revolution touched off an Age of Revolution that
would reshape the Atlantic world in the nineteenth ­ century. At the same time, the
revolution continued to be an international affair that brought in France and Spain
and affected the fortunes of vari­ous Indian groups. The American victory re­oriented
the connections among empires and forced natives to confront the new real­ity of
a new nation full of ­people ­ eager to move west onto their lands.
The Age of Revolution in the Atlantic world was only just beginning, however.
The French Revolution, even more disruptive throughout Eu­rope and the Amer­ i ­
cas, broke out in 1789. By the time the conflicts it initiated concluded in 1815, with
the defeat of Napoleon I, France had lost its colonial crown jewel, Saint-­Domingue,
now the in­de­pen­dent republic of Haiti. Spain’s colonies ­were in full rebellion, soon
to become, in the 1820s, yet more republics, whose in­de­pen­dence movements had
been touched off by Napoleon’s conquest of Spain. Likewise, Portuguese Brazil—­
Napoleon also invaded Portugal—achieved its in­de­pen­dence in the 1820s.
Many scholars point to the unraveling of imperial ties, taking place by the early
nineteenth ­ century, as a fitting end to the Atlantic world. Living ­ under new po­liti­
cal regimes, the ­peoples whose nations faced the Atlantic ­were simply not con-
nected to each other as they once had been. The abolition of slavery and the slave
trade in the nineteenth ­ century also seems an appropriate ending point, since slav-
ery had formed the sinews of the Atlantic system. Haiti made the most dramatic
reversal of the slave system and trade with its 1804 in­de­pen­dence banishing both
practices. ­ Great Britain, once a country trading slaves on an enormous scale, also
played a pivotal role in eliminating ­human bondage. In 1772, its judicial system
eliminated slavery on British soil. In 1807, Parliament outlawed the international
slave trade. In 1833, Parliament forbade slavery in the colonies. The full abolition
of slavery took most of the nineteenth ­century, however. The United States allowed
slavery ­ until 1865, Cuba ­ until 1886, and Brazil ­until 1888.
The sundering of connections among Atlantic ­ peoples in the nineteenth ­century
should not be overstated, however. Eu­ro­pean powers held on to some of their
colonies. Spain retained Cuba and Puerto Rico ­ until 1898. Jamaica and Barbados
remained British ­ until the 1960s. Guadeloupe is still part of France. In­de­pen­dence
in the Amer­ i ­ cas also established new connections among republics, and by the end
of the nineteenth ­century, the United States became involved in the rest of the
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