“Plunder and trade lured the English increasingly into a lucrative Atlantic… In fact, the 1550s witnessed a considerable expansion of English commercial interests.” – Thomas Benjamin, The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 232.

 

“It could just as easily have been France, rather than Castile, that had sponsored Columbus’ voyages to the west and taken the lead in American colonization.” – Thomas Benjamin, The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 227.

 

“In the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the only other areas of Western Europe, besides Spain and Portugal, that were ready to enter the Atlantic in any serious way were France, England and the seventeen provinces of the Spanish Habsburg Netherlands. These three were seafaring nations: they each had a healthy shipbuilding industry, they had several seaports on and close to the North Atlantic and they possessed experienced mariners and merchants who were already sailing the Baltic, the North Sea and the Atlantic route to the Mediterranean… France, England and the Netherlands were the obvious challengers to the Iberian powers in the Atlantic.” – Thomas Benjamin, The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 227.

“The wealth of the New World that flowed to Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries…did not bring sustained economic development to these first expansionist empires of Western Europe [the Spanish and Portuguese]. However, it did offer a very tempting target. Other nations of Atlantic Europe, motivated by envy and fear of Spain, aggressive commerce and militant Protestantism, and by individuals’ daring, greed and opportunism, challenged Portugal and Spain’s right to – and control of – this wealth.” – Thomas Benjamin, The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 226.

 

“Within a decade of the discovery of the New World, Castile and then all of Spain was given access to immense new wealth. Yet Spain did not create a vigorous economy or a prosperous country.” – Thomas Benjamin, The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 221.

“The battle of the Atlantic in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries…produced a vast arena where five powers competed for wealth and power. The Iberian Atlantic was injured but not annihilated. Despite blatant attempts to steal the empires, the Portuguese and the Spanish managed to hold onto the largest and most important territories of their Atlantic possessions. The weak bases and settlements of England, France and the northern Netherlands in Africa and the Americas in the early and mid-seventeenth century would…become the basis of new mercantile and territorial Atlantic empires. They would eventually dominate the Atlantic World.” – Thomas Benjamin, The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 215.

 

“In the seventeenth century, the Iberian monopoly was broken in Atlantic Africa and in the Americas. The Atlantic World became not just more conflictive but more complicated, and thus more interesting.” – Thomas Benjamin, The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 212.

“Sugarcane became Brazil’s reason for being. During the sixteenth century, sugar was still relatively scarce in Europe and therefore brought a high price. The boom continued into the seventeenth century… [I]n Spanish America sugarcane remained a marginal crop, it’s development often interrupted by gold and silver rushes. Not so in Brazil, where sugarcane had no rival and became king.” – Thomas Benjamin, The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 200.

“…African states and chiefdoms paid little attention to the Portuguese. Politics and war continued unchanged as before the arrival of the Europeans… [F]or the most part the Gold Coast during the Portuguese period changed very little. This European irrelevance was temporary.” – Thomas Benjamin, The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 190.

“All Spaniards, regardless of wealth or place of birth, saw themselves as superior to the other peoples in their society.” – Thomas Benjamin, The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 186.