British Atlantic World

Carla Gardina Pestana

in The Oxford Handbook of Literature and the English Revolution

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199560608
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

British Atlantic World

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)



This article discusses events in the English colonies in the Atlantic world as the revolutionary events in the three kingdoms unfolded. When war broke out in Scotland, the oldest of the twenty-two colonies — Virginia — had been in existence for just thirty years, and most settlements had been planted in the previous decade. This burst of plantation schemes was bolstered by a steady and sizeable stream of mostly English migrants, driven by economic malaise and dissatisfaction with Charles I's policies. Those living in these newly formed and recently settled polities watched with amazement as their homelands first degenerated into wars, uprisings, and regicide and then began a series of experiments in religious, social, and political forms. Colonies were decisively affected by these events, but plantation residents also attempted to affect the outcome at home. Throughout these decades of upheaval, the Atlantic settlements participated in their own version of the revolution, with consequences sometimes similar to but also occasionally divergent from those in Britain and Ireland.

Keywords: English colonies; three kingdoms; English Revolution; Virginia; Atlantic settlements; plantations; wars; regicide

Article.  7254 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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