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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume I: The Origins of EmpireBritish Overseas Enterprise to the Close of the Seventeenth Century$
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Nicholas Canny

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205623

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205623.001.0001

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War, Politics, and Colonization, 1558–1625

War, Politics, and Colonization, 1558–1625

(p.55) 3 War, Politics, and Colonization, 1558–1625
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume I: The Origins of Empire

John C. Appleby

Oxford University Press

The achievements of the period failed to match the expectations of a new generation of colonial expansionists, such as Richard Hakluyt, who envisaged the creation of an English Empire in America to rival and eventually supersede Spain's. This failure was the result of a structural weakness in English enterprise which repeatedly influenced its character and conduct during this period. Ultimately this weakness stemmed from the lack of sustained state support for overseas expansion. As a result, the burden of colonial and commercial development was left in the hands of private adventurers whose concern for immediate gain was detrimental to the long-term planning needed to promote colonization. Most London merchants, particularly the powerful Merchant Adventurers, were more concerned with traditional trades in Europe than the wider world.

Keywords:   Richard Hakluyt, English Empire, America, Spain, colonization, merchants, overseas expansion, trade, Europe

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