In October 2003 a diverse group of European, American and Canadian historians who had been working on the pre-industrial Atlantic economy, and specifically on the international role of merchants from Scotland and Ireland in that era, met in Trinity College Dublin to compare their findings. This book is the result of that meeting.
The role of Scottish merchants – moving to northern continental Europe and across the English-speaking
world – has long been recognized. While much has been written about the Scottish abroad, the origins and scale of that diaspora are now being completely re-assessed. Research on the Irish diaspora is more limited and thus its importance (especially in southern Europe and the Atlantic) has hardly been recognized. Both Scottish and Irish merchants operated across political boundaries and achieved local importance in quite unexpected places. And it was their shadowy mobility and cultural adaptability which greatly helped the
international economy cope with the uncertainties and disruption of recurring warfare that so disfigured 17th- and 18th-Century Europe.
The contributions in this collection of essays are based on extremely scattered (and often fragmentary) archival evidence, much of which has only recently undergone rigorous examination. The essays, by both established and younger scholars, make an important step in reconstructing the history of these diasporas. The editors are Professor David Dickson (School of Histories and Humanities, Trinity College Dublin), Doctor Jan Parmentier (Department of Early Modern History, Ghent University), and Jane Ohlmeyer (School of Histories and Humanities, Trinity College Dublin).
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