California World History Library

Published by: University of California Press

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Pirates, Merchants, Settlers, and Slaves

Colonial America and the Indo-Atlantic World

Kevin P. McDonald

In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, more than a thousand pirates poured from the Atlantic into the Indian Ocean. There, according to Kevin P. McDonald, they helped launch an informal trade network that spanned the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds, connecting the North American colonies with the rich markets of the East Indies. Rather than conducting their commerce through chartered companies based in London or Lisbon, colonial merchants in New York entered into an alliance with Euro-American pirates based in Madagascar. Pirates, Merchants, Settlers, and Slaves explores the resulting global trade network located on the peripheries of world empires and shows the illicit ways American colonists met the consumer demand for slaves and East India goods. The book reveals that pirates played a significant yet misunderstood role in this period and that seafaring slaves were both commodities and essential components in the Indo-Atlantic maritime networks.

Enlivened by stories of Indo-Atlantic sailors and cargoes that included textiles, spices, jewels and precious metals, chinaware, alcohol, and drugs, this book links previously isolated themes of piracy, colonialism, slavery, transoceanic networks, and cross-cultural interactions and extends the boundaries of traditional Atlantic, national, world, and colonial histories.

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The Quest for the Lost Nation

Writing History in Germany and Japan in the American Century

Sebastian Conrad

Highly praised when published in Germany, The Quest for the Lost Nation is a brilliant chronicle of Germany's and Japan's struggles to reclaim a defeated national past. Sebastian Conrad compares the ways German and Japanese scholars revised national history after World War II in the shadows of fascism, surrender, and American occupation. Defeat in 1945 marked the death of the national past in both countries, yet, as Conrad proves, historians did not abandon national perspectives during reconstruction. Quite the opposite—the nation remained hidden at the center of texts as scholars tried to make sense of the past and searched for fragments of the nation they had lost. By situating both countries in the Cold War, Conrad shows that the focus on the nation can be understood only within a transnational context.

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Sky Blue Stone

The Turquoise Trade in World History

Arash Khazeni

This book traces the journey of a stone across the world. From its point of origin in the city of Nishapur in eastern Iran, turquoise was traded through India, Central Asia, the Near East, Europe, and ultimately the Americas. Along this trail unfolds the story of turquoise--a phosphate of aluminum and copper formed by nature in rocks below the surface of the earth--and its discovery and export as a global commodity.

In early modern Eurasia, turquoise was regarded as a sacred object and blue a sacred color in the material culture and imperial regalia of Islamic tributary empires, a potent symbol of power projected in vivid color displays. Arash Khazeni then follows the stone's history throughout Europe, where it became coveted as an exotic object from the "East." The Eurasian turquoise trade lasted into the nineteenth century, when the oldest mines in Iran collapsed and lost Aztec mines in the Americas reopened, unearthing more accessible sources of the stone to rival the Persian blue.

Students, scholars, and interested historians will discover and appreciate the origins and circulation of this natural object, while also gaining greater understanding of the history of Islamic Eurasia in the context of world environmental processes and global encounters between nature and empire.

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