|Lorimer, Joyce, ed. Settlement Patterns in Early Modern Colonization, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries. An Expanding World, the European Impact on World History, 1450-1800. Vol. 25. A.J.R. Russell-Wood, General Editor. Aldershot, Great Britain and Brookfield, Vermont: Ashgate Publishing, 1998. xxxiii, 408pp., illus., hdb. ISBN 0860785173.
This is the twenty-fifth volume in this excellent series and the first in a subgroup, “Society and Culture.” The editor has been a Canadian member of the Society for the History of Discoveries, and there are other familiar names on individual articles and bibliographic references. The volume is divided into six sections of eighteen articles: New France (two articles), English America and the Caribbean (five articles), Spanish America (two articles), Portuguese Brazil (three articles), Portuguese and Dutch Africa (three articles), and Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish Asia (three articles). The acknowledgements page lists the copyright holders, since all of the articles have been previously published by well-known university presses or scholarly journals. There are a few illustrations and charts, as well as a very thorough index. The pagination is sequential, although each article also carries its original page numbers. Most of the footnotes are on the same page, which makes for quick reference. On p. 311, footnote 20 comes before 18 and 19 in the text, and on p. 328, the 7 is left off footnote 17 in the text. These are very minor errors in an otherwise well-produced volume. There are some excellent bibliographic listings. The editor has done a fine job in the introduction relating early modern European overseas settlements in the Americas, Africa and Asia. There is one article in French on the settlements in the St. Lawrence valley, Quebec, 1663-1840. Essay selections are limited to those in English, French or Spanish for this series. Although there are a few maps with some articles, maps at the beginning of each of the sections noting places discussed in the following articles would have been very helpful. The articles show how European plans became a reality overseas, though often changed dramatically from the original concept by local conditions and forces.
The section on New France shows that rural settlement did not begin until after 1663. The first settlements along the St. Lawrence River had been collection points for the French fur trade and for establishing Catholic missions. These cities supported the merchant communities which took little interest in a hinterland rural market. The result was a separation of the agricultural economy from the commercial economy in New France from 1663 to 1760. There was no European market for the grain produced by settlers in the interior. The crown transferred feudal landholding patterns to New France to protect its fur routes, to shore up its colony, and to serve as a feudal model of agriculture, but farm revenues remained marginal. Many landholders and settlers had to turn to fur trading and other ventures to augment their incomes. One article argues that the geography of New France was unfavorable to feudal landholding, and the other article on New France argues that feudal landholding stunted commercial growth.
The French experience is mirrored to some extent by the experiences of the Portuguese in Brazil described in articles 10 and 12, found in sections four and five. Early modern Brazil’s economy centered on producing for an export market. The planter aristocracy dominated the colony and worked well with the merchant class who managed credit and export. Work was done by slaves on the latifundia. The settling of Brazil, at first, was up to individual proprietors under a donatary captaincy system until the mid-sixteenth century when the monarchy took direct control. Cities, mostly ports, and landed estates in the surrounding countryside were established, but in a limited area along the coast and major rivers. Brazil developed as a producer of sugar for the European market. Caribbean production would challenge Brazil, but not until the mid-seventeenth century. The interior of Brazil saw the development in the seventeenth century of a colony of African slaves, Palmares. Fugitives from sugar plantations and the cities were attracted. This showed the possibility of transplanting an African political system to the New World. Palmares lasted for almost one hundred years against attacks from the Dutch and the Portuguese. The Portuguese in West Africa (articles 13 and 14) tended to reflect the African hierarchies, not the European ones, and were pretty well restricted to coastal communities, becoming “Africanized.” Like the Portuguese, the Dutch and English coastal factory settlements in Africa were under the control and protection of native rulers. The control of coastal settlements by local rulers is discussed in article 16, showing the dependence of the Portuguese in India on regional leaders.
The Dutch East India Company founded the Cape Colony in South Africa in 1652 to provision its annual fleets to India and the Far East, a service-center on valuable shipping routes. The local people were conquered and farms and ranches established to produce surplus for Cape Town and the world market. It was previously thought that the Cape farmers operated in isolation from an overseas market, but new research proves this view to be erroneous. Article 17, about the Company’s factory at Batavia from 1619-1740, is not so much the story of Dutch settlement, as it is one of a Chinese colonial town within Batavia. Batavia had been founded as the center of an inter-Asian maritime trading empire competing with the Spaniards and the Portuguese. When trade with the Dutch Republic became more important than Asian trade in the late 1600s, the Company gradually became a territorial power collecting tributary payments, and Batavia lost its position in the maritime trade empire. Agriculture was almost completely controlled by the Chinese in Batavia by 1649, using both Javanese and Chinese labor. New Chinese immigration occurred after 1683. The political Chinese community was centered on a representative, a captain. Cooperation between the Dutch authorities and the captain made for smooth relations. By 1700, the captain’s position became hereditary and was controlled by the wealthy Chinese property-owning class in Batavia. The effort to develop sugar plantations and sugar mills was almost entirely in the hands of the Chinese, and population was growing outside the city. The administrative system did not change to meet the needs of this rural population and the cooperation between the Dutch and the Chinese gradually deteriorated. When the sugar market declined, mass poverty, unemployment and ruin followed. The rural Chinese revolted in 1740. Not only were they defeated, but there was also a massacre of urban Chinese. By 1781, only sixty sugar mills were operating. Still, half of Batavia’s population profited from the industry.
The Spaniards in the New World and in the Philippines are discussed in four articles (8, 9, 11 and 18). The concepts of the Spanish city and the great estate were crucial to colonial settlement. The two valuable articles by Lockhart and Keith clarify the terms encomienda (roughly a labor grant) and hacienda (an estate grant). With the addition of the mission, the Spanish colonial settlement pattern was complete. In the New World, the Spaniards had found mineral and natural resources. The existing native cities became centers of Spanish culture and administrative centers from which to exploit those resources. The pre-existing tribute labor system also came under Spanish domination. The development of great landed estates, haciendas, was well underway by 1550, and the pattern was repeated in the Philippines. Manila prospered as the center for trade with China in exchange for silver from Peru by the late 1500s. Since the Philippines did not have exploitable resources, provincial urban centers did not flourish until the development of commercial agriculture in the late 1700s. As the production of goods for export increased, Manila was opened to European and American ships in the 1790s, and by the early 1800s the Manila-Acapulco galleon voyages ended.
The English colonial experience is represented by five articles dealing with Virginia, New England, and the West Indies. Breen, in article 5, argues that the New England Puritan colonies were out of step with the changing English society moving toward commercial capitalistic economy, while the Chesapeake colonies and the West Indies were more valuable to the English development. In the Americas and the Caribbean, diseases and differing technology gave the Europeans an edge. This is more thoroughly discussed in volume 7 of this series (see review in Terrae Incognitae). The lack of mineral resources forced English settlers to look to an agricultural staple for overseas trade. The extinction of some Amerindian tribes and the subjugation of other tribes led to a labor shortage. There was good information on indentured servants and the shift to slave labor in English colonies in the Chesapeake and the West Indies. The editor points out that, except for Jamaica, none of the English colonies in North America or the Caribbean followed the proposals laid out by Richard Hakluyt. Material in these five articles will probably be more familiar to readers than the rest of the volume. Members of the Society for the History of Discoveries may remember Karen Kupperman’s presentation on the Puritans in Providence Island at an annual meeting.
This well-produced volume in this valuable series continues the examination on a global level of European colonial settlements. The cross-cultural activities of Europeans are especially evident in regions with dense local populations. The careful documentation and bibliographic references make this a very useful addition to the library of the serious student of European expansion. The general reader will find it valuable in pointing out the similarities of European colonial settlements, as well as the differences.
Mary Emily Miller
The University of Delaware