Violence in the Atlantic

Jean-Frédéric Schaub

in The Oxford Handbook of the Atlantic World

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199210879
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Violence in the Atlantic


The shaping of an Atlantic world during the first two centuries of Europe's overseas expansion saw an increase in the use and intensity of violence. Conquest, beginning with the Atlantic archipelagos (Canary Islands, Hispaniola, Santo Domingo), led to massacres and the elimination of populations. The diseases that Europeans brought with them may have done the most to wipe out the Canary Islanders during the fifteenth century, and the Tainos during the first decades of the sixteenth century, but harsh quasi-genocidal actions contributed to the indigenes' demise. The burgeoning Atlantic slave trade was also an especially violent phenomenon. Captivity and slavery by no means began with the exploitation of Atlantic space but the global dimensions of the pressure on African populations, during the sixteenth and particularly during the second half of the seventeenth century, escalated the practice. This article examines the mass murder, religion and violence, violence and the judiciary, alliance, rape, racial and cultural hybridisation, and narratives of captivity and violence.

Keywords: Atlantic world; violence; conquest; slave trade; captivity; slavery; mass murder; religion; judiciary; Canary Islands

Article.  8054 words. 

Subjects: History ; Maritime History

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