Entangled Empires: Anglo-Spanish Competition in the Seventeenth-Century Caribbean
Genkins, Daniel Noble
Scholars of the early modern Atlantic routinely focus their attention on either the Iberian discovery and conquest of the New World or the rise of Britain’s eighteenth-century empire. The temporal polarization of study that results overlooks the eventful and causally crucial transitional period that connected these two eras. This dissertation seeks to apply a corrective to this gap in the literature by tracing competition between the English and Spanish in the seventeenth-century Caribbean, arguing that the outcome of this struggle shaped the Anglo-dominated hemispheric order that arose subsequently. It is fundamentally concerned with considering England and Spain not as two distinct geopolitical entities, but as inextricably “entangled” empires indelibly marked by reciprocal interaction with their imperial rival. Also important is the fact that the interactions analyzed in this dissertation took place on the maritime periphery of empire, on marginal islands and in mainland ports valuable not for their economic or demographic potential but as a result of their strategic importance.