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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date

7-2010

Abstract

In his comprehensive study of colonial Bermuda Jarvis places Bermuda in "the eye of trade," i.e., the center of the Anglo-American Atlantic. He proceeds to use this new perspective to explore six key characteristics of Bermudian life: its transition from a tobacco society to a maritime society; the island’s unique system of slavery; the emphasis placed on kinship connections and communal activities; Bermudian exploitation of the Atlantic’s natural resources; the effect of Bermuda’s maritime economy on its residents; and the impact of the American Revolution on Bermudian society. With their maritime skills, unique slave system and extensive kinship connections Bermudians were, as Jarvis convincingly demonstrates, able to exploit maritime hinterlands to supplement their intercolonial trade and shipbuilding. Jarvis' emphasis on Bermudians’ adaptability to their isolated location stands as a useful reminder of how many early British settlers saw areas often referred to as “frontiers” or “borderlands” as central to their lives and economic well-being.

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