By expanding the geographical scope of the history of violence and war, this volume challenges both Western and state-centric narratives of the decline of violence and its relationship to modernity. It highlights instead similarities across early modernity in terms of representations, legitimations, applications of, and motivations for violence. It seeks to integrate methodologies of the study of violence into the history of war, thereby extending the historical significance of both fields of research. Thirteen case studies outline the myriad ways in which large-scale violence was understood and used by states and non-state actors throughout the early modern period across Africa, Asia, the Americas, the Atlantic, and Europe, demonstrating that it was far more complex than would be suggested by simple narratives of conquest and resistance. Moreover, key features of imperial violence apply equally to large-scale violence within societies. As the authors argue, violence was a continuum, ranging from small-scale, local actions to full-blown war. The latter was privileged legally and increasingly associated with states during early modernity, but its legitimacy was frequently contested and many of its violent forms, such as raiding and destruction of buildings and crops, could be found in activities not officially classed as war.
contemporary civilisational analysis manifested themselves coextensively in greater world contexts. Each oceanic zone has distinctive histories. Much of the recent scholarship of Atlantic history has established how the Atlantic seaboard states had no 117 Saltwater horizons 117 competitors in oceanic space in the Western hemisphere. The situation diverged completely from the seas ringing the Indian Ocean and the states that patrolled them. In their land invasion of the Americas, by contrast, they confronted Amerindian peoples and civilisations. In time, they competed
–4. 4 See D. B. Davis, Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World (New York, 2006) and P. D. Curtin, The Rise and Fall of the Plantation Complex: Essays in Atlantic History (New York, 1990). 5 J. F. Stanfield, Observations on a Guinea Voyage, in a Series of Letters Addressed to the Rev. Thomas Clarkson (London, 1788). 6 D. Tomich, Slavery and Historical Capitalism during the Nineteenth Century (Lanham, MD, 2018), p. ix. 7 For the wider context, see D. Eltis and S. L. Engerman (eds), The Cambridge World History of Slavery, vol. 3, AD 1420
Conclusion. 6 This usage is worth distinguishing from David Armitage's reference to ‘the white Atlantic’ as the conventional, Eurocentric mode of Atlantic history, then being challenged by studies of the ‘black Atlantic’ and a ‘red Atlantic’ that for Armitage denoted radical labour not indigenous resistance (Armitage 2001 : 479). 7