Encyclopedia of the Atlantic World, 1400–1900
Europe, Africa, and the Americas in an Age of Exploration, Trade, and Empires [2 volumes]
by David Head, Editor
November 2017, 756pp, 7x10
2 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-255-7
$229, £177, 200€, A314
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-256-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The connections first made by Columbus between Europe and the Americas changed the course of history on all four Atlantic-facing continents, ensuring that they would develop together.

A first-of-its-kind reference resource traces the interactions among four Atlantic-facing continents—Europe, Africa, and the Americas (including the Caribbean)—between 1400 and 1900.

Until recently, the age of exploration and empire building was researched and taught within imperial and national boundaries. The histories of Europe, Africa, North America, and South America were told largely as independent stories, with the development of individual places within each continent further separated from each other. The indigenous populations of places colonized by Europeans fit into the history even more uneasily, often mentioned only in passing.

Encyclopedia of the Atlantic World, 1400–1900 synthesizes a generation of historical scholarship on the events on four continents, providing readers an invaluable introduction to the major people, places, events, movements, objects, concepts, and commodities of the Atlantic world as it developed during a key period in history when the world first started to shrink. The entries discuss specific topics with an eye toward showing how individual items, people, and events were connected to the larger Atlantic world. This accessibly written reference book brings together topics usually treated separately and discretely, alleviating the need for extra legwork when researching, and it draws from the latest research to make a vast body of scholarship about seemingly far-flung places available to readers new to the field.


  • Provides readers with authoritative information on the people, places, events, and commodities at the heart of Atlantic history
  • Demonstrates the interconnections among people, places, and events from different regions, overcoming the tendency to see history as limited by national boundaries
  • Offers balanced coverage of the field of Atlantic history, with entries addressing a variety of geographies and periods to provide a panoramic view
  • Portrays familiar historical topics in a new light by emphasizing their international context
David Head, PhD, is a lecturer of history at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is the author of Privateers of the Americas: Spanish American Privateering from the United States in the Early Republic, which won the 2016 John Gardner Award presented by Mystic Seaport Museum. He received his doctorate from the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York (SUNY).


"Entries are deep and nuanced, but they are intended for the general reader and readily explain the subject’s significance. Recommended for highschool, academic, and public libraries."—Booklist, February 1, 2018

"This two-volume set provides a great deal of information on the history of the lands bordering the Atlantic Ocean, following their discovery by Europeans. . . . Libraries of all kinds will find this a useful set. . . . For libraries at several levels, this will provide 'student and interested nonspecialist readers' (p. xiv) an introduction to this fascinating and important world. The book is available both in print and as an eBook and is quite readable."—ARBA, March 13, 2018
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