Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Society and the Economy


In this seminar we will begin with an overview of debates about Atlantic-Mediterranean trade and religion in early modernity and then focus in on questions about inclusion and exclusion. We will explore the relationship between religious groups, trade and commercial society.


Seminar Questions:

  • How were economic relations embedded in social and cultural relations in this period?
  • How important was religion in the early modern commercial world?
  • Was trade organised along gender/religious lines?
  • Did commerce usher in a new society/culture?


Primary sources

The National Archives, State Colonial Papers, CO 110/152, Brailsford Papers. 1688-1692.

Letter part 1, part 2, part 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (This is just one letter. multiple copies to helping you read it)

Roseveare, Henry (ed), Markets and Merchants of the Late seventeenth Century: The Marescoe-David Letters, 1668-1680 (read front matter and choose three letters. Identify their trading networks, religious ties, community or kinship) University of Warwick Library eBook

Arundel Castle Archive, Aylward Papers, Business Correspondence, (click on both words to find the pages)



Armenian, Jewish, Protestant and Catholic Merchants

Aslanian, Sebouh, D., From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean: the Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants from New Julfa, 2011. (ch 4 and 7)

Bosher, J. F. “Huguenot Merchants and the Protestant International in the Seventeenth Century.” The William and Mary Quarterly 52 (1995): 77-102.

Canizares-Esguerra, J., Entangled-Empires, The Anglo-Iberian Atlantic, 1500-1830, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 2018, Ch 1 and 5 (on Protestants and Jews)

Croft P., ‘Trading with the Enemy, 1585-1604’, The Historical Journal, 32,2, 1989, 281-302.

Curtin,P., D., Cross-Cultural Trade in World History, (Cambridge UP, 1984), focus on ch 1, 7, 9, 10

Monod, P. “Dangerous Merchandise: Smuggling, Jacobitism, and Commercial Culture in Southeast England, 1690-1760.” The Journal of British Studies 30 (1991): 150-182.

Nash, R., C. “Irish Atlantic Trade in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.” The William and Mary Quarterly Journal 42 (1985): 329-356.

Roseveare, H. Market and Merchants of The Late Seventeenth Century, The Marescoe-David Letters, 1668-1680. Oxford: University Press, 1987.

Snyder, H. ‘“Under the Shado of Your Wings’: Religiosity in the Mental World of an Eighteenth Century Jewish Merchant.” Early American Studies, An interdisciplinary Journal 8 (2010): 581-622.

Tolles, F., B. Meeting House and Counting House, The Quaker Merchants of Colonial Philadelphia 1682-1763. New York: Norton & Company, 1963.

Trivellato, F., ‘The Port Jews of Livorno and their Global Networks of Trade in the Early Modern Period’, Jewish Culture and History, 7:1-2, 2004, 31-48.

Trivellato, F., Religion and Trade, Cross Cultural Exchanges in World History, 1000-1900 (choose one chapter)


European-Atlantic and the Mediterranean

Braudel, F., ‘Markets and trade Circuits’ in The Wheels of Commerce, Civilization and Capitalism 15th-18th Century, vol II, London, 1982. 138-167.

Haggerty, S. ‘Merely for money’? Business Culture in the British Atlantic, 1750-1815. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2012. (ch 2,3,4)

Haggerty, S. The British Atlantic Trading Community, 1760-1810: Men, Women and the Distribution of Goods. Leiden: Boydell Press, 2006. (focus on ‘People trust and information’ and Ch 1,2,3)

Fusaro, M., Political Economies of Empire in the Early Modern Mediterranean, the Decline of Venice and the Rise of England, 1450-1700, (Cambridge, 2015).

Green, M., ‘Beyond the Northern Invasion: The Mediterranean in the Seventeenth Century’, Past and Present, 174, 2002, 42-71.

Heywood, C., ‘The English in the Mediterranean, 1600-1630, A Post-Braudelian Perspective on the Northern Invasion’ in Trade and Cultural Exchange in the Early Modern Mediterranean, Braudel’s Maritime Legacy ed. by Fusaro, M., Heywood, C., Omri, M.-S. (London: Tauris, 2010), 23-44.

Hunt, M., The Middling Sort: Commerce, Gender and the Family in England, 1680-1780. (University of California Press, 1996)

Lamikiz, X. Trade and Trust in the Eighteenth Century Atlantic World: Spanish Merchants and their Overseas Networks. Woodbridge, Boydell Press, 2010.

Pincus, S. “Rethinking Mercantilism: Political Economy, the British Empire, and the Atlantic World in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.” The William and Mary Quarterly 69 (2012): 3-34

Price, J. M. “What did merchants do? Reflections on British Overseas Trade, 1660-1790.” The Journal of Economic History 49 (1989): 267-284.

Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. London: Routledge, 1992.

Zahedieh, N. “Making Mercantilism Work: London Merchants and Atlantic Trade in the Seventeenth Century.” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 6th series (1999): 143-160.


Women, Religion and Trade

Amussen S. A and Poska, M., A., ‘Shifting the Frame: Trans-imperial Approaches to Gender in the Atlantic World’, Early Modern Women, An Interdisciplinary Journal 9 (2014): 3–24;

Brunelle, G., ‘The Price of Assimilation: Spanish and Portuguese Women in French Cities, 1500–1650,’ in Douglass Catterall et al., eds. Women in Port, Gendering Communities, Economies, and Social Networks in Atlantic Port Cities, 15001850 (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 155–182;

Haggerty, S.,Ports, Petticoats and Power Women and Work in Early National Philadelphia’, in Catteral and Campbell, Women in Port, 103-126.

Mendelson S., and Crawford, P., Women in Early Modern England, 15501720, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998).174-183

Moring B. and Wall R., Widows in European Economy and Society, 1600-1920., Boydell Press, 2017.


‘Lives of Single women in the Anglo-Atlantic World: Quaker Missionaries, Protestant Nuns, and Covert Catholics’, in Kostroun and Vollendorf, eds. Women, Religion and the Atlantic World (16001800), (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009), 60–78.

Pizzoni, G., ‘Mrs Helena Aylward: A British catholic Mother Spouse and Businesswoman in the Commercial Age 1705-1714’, British Catholic History, 33, 4, 2017.

Sharpe, P., “Gender in the Economy: Female Merchants and Family Businesses in the British Isles, 1600-1850,” Social History/ Histoire Sociale 34 (2001).

Todd, B., J., ‘The Remarrying Widow: A Stereotype Reconsidered’, in Mary Prior, ed. Women in English Society 15001800 (London and New York: Routledge, 1985), 54–85.

Port Scene

Claude Lorrain, 'Port scene with the Villa Medici' (1637). Florence, Uffizi. [Wikimedia Commons]

Insurance Policy

Late 18thC fire insurance policy. Photograph by Charles Simms in the public domain.