Digital Library

Antigua Maritime Landscape

Arik Bord


The rise of the British Empire as a leviathan of global trade power is a complex tale of the underdog becoming triumphant over a mostly superior foe, particularly in the Americas.

Antigua in a late 18th century map.

While Spain kept an almost complete control of most of South America and the Caribbean for the better part of three centuries, Britain, France, and other minor European players squabbled over several otherwise insignificant islands in the southern Caribbean.

This project explores the rise of the British Empire in the Caribbean, illustrated by the economic and cultural history of the small island of Antigua, and tries to tell the story of how the seemingly backwater island became one of Britain’s chief exporters of sugar and a hub of globalization and trade during the second half of the 18th century.