Atlantic History Hinterlands of the Atlantic World
by
Susanne Lachenicht
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 March 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199730414-0290

Introduction

Hinterlands are more often than not understood as tributary regions, the backcountry or Umland (“land around”) of a port, town or city, or the periphery of a larger region. However, hinterland—or backcountry as an alternative term—is a relational concept: hinterland (or backcountry) from whose perspective, for whom and whose activities? For quite a few decades, Atlantic history has focused on those world regions, empires, and agents that seemed more obviously than others involved in the “making” of the Atlantic world: the Portuguese, Spanish, British, French, and Dutch (formal and informal) empires, regions on the Atlantic Ocean rim, port cities, trans-Atlantic slavery and migrations at large, or Atlantic revolutions. However, to understand the early modern Atlantic world, it is vital to look beyond places and regions bordering or “forming” the Atlantic: for the last decade or so scholars of early American, African, European, and Atlantic history have therefore started to emphasize how much—from an Atlantic history perspective—hinterlands were vital for the exchange of knowledge, belief systems, goods and people, the making of overseas empires and colonization, Atlantic and/or global markets. At the same time the critique of Atlantic history warns against turning the histories of those peoples and regions not immediately adjoining the Atlantic geopolitically, economically, or culturally less relevant. Atlantic history, not the least through its historical and ideological origins, might—as some scholars of Africa, Europe and the Americas have argued—contributes to just another hierarchy of more and less important or “civilized” cultures and societies: the Atlantic empires and their metropolises would be treated as centers of interest and meaning, all other regions would become peripheries, backcountries, or hinterlands. So far, the critique of Atlantic history, its seeming hierarchies, has been particularly pronounced with regard to the histories of Africa and the Americas, less so with regard to Europe and Asia. In other words, from a critical hinterland perspective the Atlantic world is only one world region that has always to be understood in relation with other equally important areas.

General Overviews

How large is the “Atlantic world”? How do we define “hinterland,” “backcountry,” “frontier,” “metropolises,” or “peripheries”? A number of studies have started to form and inquire into these terms and concepts with regard to the Atlantic world. White 1991 coined the concept of “middle ground” for the Great Lakes regions where American Indian and European people—“forming” the Atlantic world—also met. Ellis and Eßer 2006 asks for a more in-depth analysis of the construction of imperial and national boundaries, centers and peripheries, as does Adelman and Aron 1999 for North America, and Barr and Countryman 2014, and Daniels and Kennedy 2002 in a comparative Atlantic empires perspective. MacLeod 2008 introduces the concept of “near” and “far” Atlantics while Puglisi 1998 discusses trends in backcountry studies. Lachenicht 2014 and Morgan 2014 reflect on the terms hinterland and backcountry in an Atlantic history perspective, taking into account more recent developments in the field.

  • Adelman, Jeremy, and Stephen Aron. “From Borderlands to Borders: Empires, Nation-States, and the Peoples in Between in North American History.” American Historical Review 104.3 (1999): 814–841.

    DOI: 10.2307/2650990Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Excellent essay reflecting on the relationship of concepts and spaces such as “borderland” and “frontier,” while looking into the historical process of the making of US-American borders.

    Find this resource:

    • Barr, Juliana, and Edward Countryman, eds. Contested Spaces of Early America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2014.

      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      Unites essays on backcountries or hinterlands in a New Spain, New France, and New England perspective, drawing on Indian-European contested space or contact zones.

      Find this resource:

      • Daniels, Christine, and Michael V. Kennedy, eds. Negotiated Empires: Centers and Peripheries in the New World, 1500–1820. New York and London: Routledge, 2002.

        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        This edited volume looks at the relations between centers and peripheries, the frontier and the metropolis in a Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, and British imperial perspective.

        Find this resource:

        • Ellis, Steven G., and Raingard Eßer, eds. Frontiers and the Writing of History, 1500–1850. Hannover, Germany: Wehrhahn, 2006.

          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          While this collection of essays only includes a few studies on the “frontier” in the Atlantic world, it makes evident how much the frontier represents an imperial and national construct historians need to question and analyze.

          Find this resource:

          • Lachenicht, Susanne. “Europeans Engaging the Atlantic. Knowledge and Trade, 1500–1800. An Introduction.” In Europeans Engaging the Atlantic. Knowledge and Trade, 1500–1800. Edited by Susanne Lachenicht, 7–21. Frankfurt and New York: Campus Verlag, 2014.

            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

            While the collection of essays focuses on European hinterlands with regard to knowledge and trade in the Atlantic world, the introduction critically reflects the concept of hinterland and backcountry in Atlantic history.

            Find this resource:

            • MacLeod, Murdo. Spanish Central America: A Socioeconomic History, 1520–1720. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              MacLeod’s Spanish Central America, first published in 1973, is no theoretical reflection on concepts and terms. However, it introduces the concept of the “near” and “far” Atlantics which has become a received concept in Atlantic history.

              Find this resource:

              • Morgan, Philip D. “A Comment.” In Europeans Engaging the Atlantic: Knowledge and Trade. Edited by Susanne Lachenicht, 151–160. Frankfurt and New York: Campus Verlag, 2014.

                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                Discussing “hinterland” and a growing interest in Atlantic history in so-called hinterlands and backcountries in a holistic perspective.

                Find this resource:

                • Puglisi, Michael J. “Muddied Waters: A Discussion of Current Interdisciplinary Backcountry Studies.” In The Southern Colonial Backcountry: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Frontier Communities. Edited by David Colin Crass, Steven D. Smith, Martha A. Zierden, and Richard D. Brooks, 36–55. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1998.

                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  Discusses some of the important trends in and the success of interdisciplinary backcountry studies as they became popular in the 1990s.

                  Find this resource:

                  • White, Richard. The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republic in the Great Lakes Region, 1650–1815. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

                    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511584671Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    White’s analysis of American Indian, French, and British relations in the Great Lakes region introduces an important concept, that of the middle ground. The study makes evident how much people and a region that have been perceived as a periphery or a hinterland of the Atlantic world became crucial for Native American and (entangled) Atlantic histories.

                    Find this resource:

                    Journals

                    There are very few journals that explicitly and exclusively deal with hinterlands or backcountries. The Journal of Backcountry Studies, first published in 2006, subscribes to the history of the southern backcountry that is the early and US American southerncolonies/states. Other journals on Atlantic, American and early American, African, or Hispanic American history such as the American Historical Review, Atlantic Studies, Early American Studies, the Hispanic American Historical Review, Itinerario, the Journal of African History, the Journal of Early American History or the William and Mary Quarterly publish articles on hinterland, backcountries, centers, and peripheries in the Atlantic world.

                    • American Historical Review. 1895–.

                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      The oldest scholarly journal of history in the United States, the largest in the world and the voice of the American Historical Association (AHA). Covers a wide range of US and Early American topics, is Atlantic history inclusive, and features a number of important articles on the American backcountry.

                      Find this resource:

                      • The Americas: A Quarterly Review of Latin American History. 1944–.

                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        English-language journal on Latin American history with a special focus on ethnohistory as well as the economic, political, cultural, social, religious, diplomatic, or intellectual history of Latin America, the Atlantic world, and US-Mexican borderlands.

                        Find this resource:

                        • Atlantic Studies. 2004–.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Published four times a year on behalf of MESEA (The Society for Multi-Ethnic Studies: Europe and the Americas) this journal is a forum for research on nearly all aspects of the Atlantic world.

                          Find this resource:

                          • Early American Studies. 2003–.

                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                            This McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania journal is published three times a year and includes articles on Early American and Atlantic history prior to 1850.

                            Find this resource:

                            • The Hispanic American Historical Review. 1918–.

                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                              Published quarterly, the longest-running journal on Latin American history presents a wide range of studies on Latin America.

                              Find this resource:

                              • Itinerario: International Journal on the History of European Expansion and Global Interaction. 1977–.

                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                Published four times a year by Cambridge University Press, the journal is a joint venture of Leiden University’s Historical Institute, the Research School for Asian, African and Amerindian Studies (CNWS), and the Forum on European Expansion and Global Interaction (FEEGI) in the United States.

                                Find this resource:

                                • The Journal of African History. 1960–.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  Publishes articles and book reviews from the late Stone Age to the present with a special focus on cultural, social, and economic history also with regard to African diasporas.

                                  Find this resource:

                                  • Journal of Backcountry Studies. 2006–.

                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                    Online journal with articles on the Early North and US American southern frontier building on works on the southern backcountry by Carl Bridenbaugh, Warren Hofstra, and Robert D. Mitchell.

                                    Find this resource:

                                    • Journal of Early American History. 2011–.

                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                      This journal is dedicated to the history of the colonization of the Americas. Appears three times per year.

                                      Find this resource:

                                      • The William and Mary Quaterly. 1892–.

                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                        After 120 years, the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture journal includes a plethora of studies on Atlantic history.

                                        Find this resource:

                                        Reference Works

                                        There are many primary sources and databases which are of use for the study of the Atlantic world and its so-called hinterlands. For this bibliography a number of databases on Atlantic migrations—connecting different worlds and hinterlands through people on the move—have been chosen such as the Historical Statistics of the United States, the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, the Databases for the Study of Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy, 1699–1860 (Hall 2000), and the Nigerian Hinterland Project.

                                        African Hinterlands

                                        Historians of Africa such as Linda M. Heywood and John K. Thornton have claimed that, for the early modern period, Africa and African slavery cannot be solely understood in terms of the black Atlantic (Thornton 1992, Heywood and Thornton 2007). In other words, Africa has always been more than the hinterland of the Atlantic slave trade: African societies and cultures, North African and Sub-Saharan societies, economies, political systems, and cultures have to be studied in their own right but also with regard to their many links within Africa, with the Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Indian Ocean worlds. Some scholars started doing so already in the 1970s, for precolonial times (Northrup 1978), others have inquired into African-European relationships and so-called African hinterlands for the precolonial period (McGowan 1990, Austen and Derrick 1999, Curto 2004, Shumway 2011, Candido 2013, Sparks 2014) or into how African hinterland cultures formed the “New World,” so the Americas (Cooksey, et al. 2014).

                                        • Austen, Ralph A., and Jonathan Derrick. Middlemen of the Cameroons Rivers: The Duala and their Hinterland, c. 1600–c. 1960. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

                                          DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511497261Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                          Studies the Duala people as merchant-brokers for precolonial trade in ivory, slaves, and palm products and how they entered the Atlantic world during colonial times. Shows how much “middleman” communities in surrounding regions of West and Central Africa have always been less at the periphery but at the center of colonial history.

                                          Find this resource:

                                          • Candido, Mariana P. An African Slaving Port and the Atlantic World: Benguela and Its Hinterland. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

                                            DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511997594Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                            The study traces the history and development of the port of Benguela, the third largest port of the slave trade on the coast of Africa, from the early 17th to the mid-19th century—in particular with regard to its hinterland.

                                            Find this resource:

                                            • Cooksey, Susan, Robin Poynor, and Hein Vanhee, eds. Kongo across the Waters. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2014.

                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                              This exhibition catalogue, mounted by the Harn Museum of the University of Florida, illustrates how much the (re)creation of Kongolese culture in American slave societies in the southern United States, Haiti, Cuba, and Brazil depended on hinterland cultures and how and how much these Kongolese hinterland cultures impacted on the Americas.

                                              Find this resource:

                                              • Curto, José C. Enslaving Spirits. The Portuguese-Brazilian Alcohol Trade at Luanda and Its Hinterland, c. 1550–1830. Leiden, The Netherlands, and Boston: Brill, 2004.

                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                This book looks into the role of alcohol in the Atlantic slave trade with Luanda and its hinterland: Portuguese wine and Brazilian rum and how far they reached into Central Africa to stimulate slave trade in return for European/Brazilian intoxicants.

                                                Find this resource:

                                                • Heywood, Linda M., and John K. Thornton. Central Africans, Atlantic Creoles, and the Foundation of the Americas, 1585–1660. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                  This book shows how much the black Atlantic depended on African hinterlands, that is Central Africa, but equally how much Central Africa cannot solely be understood as the hinterland of Atlantic slavery. It makes clear how much the generation of Africans before 1660 helped lay the foundations for subsequent developments in African American culture both in the Americas and in Africa.

                                                  Find this resource:

                                                  • McGowan, Winston. “The Establishment of Long-Distance Trade between Sierra Leone and Its Hinterland, 1787–1821.” The Journal of African History 31.1 (1990): 25–41.

                                                    DOI: 10.1017/S0021853700024762Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                    This article shows how from the 1820s the British managed to establish regular trade with Sierra Leone’s hinterland, especially with Futa Jallon and Segu, two major trading states in the hinterland, which also included trading slaves.

                                                    Find this resource:

                                                    • Northrup, David. Trade without Rulers: Pre-Colonial Economic Development in South-Eastern Nigeria. Oxford: Clarendon, 1978.

                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                      Explores how Africans between 1500 and the 19th century organized trade between the Nigerian hinterland and the Atlantic coast.

                                                      Find this resource:

                                                      • Shumway, Rebecca. The Fante and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2011.

                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                        This book explores how much slave trade on the Ghana coast brought about social and cultural change for not solely the coastal region but also its hinterland. Fante middlemen have therefore to be understood as middlemen between not solely Africa and the Americas or the Atlantic world but also for so-called African hinterlands.

                                                        Find this resource:

                                                        • Sparks, Randy S. Where the Negroes Are Masters: An African Port in the Era of the Slave Trade. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014.

                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                          This study of Annamaboe as one of the largest slave trading port on the 18th-century Gold Coast shows how much agency African, in this case Fante, people had within the Atlantic slave trade and the extent to which they connected African hinterlands with Europe and the Americas through violence, enslavement but also European and American products that reached African hinterlands.

                                                          Find this resource:

                                                          • Thornton, John K. Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400–1680. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                            This book emphasizes how much agency Africans, Africa and so-called African hinterlands had in the Atlantic world, in shaping European and American societies far beyond the slave trade, in particular in the period before 1680, and how much slave societies in the Americas have shaped American lives, cultures, and societies.

                                                            Find this resource:

                                                            Spanish Atlantic Hinterlands

                                                            The making (and unmaking) of the Spanish Atlantic world depended to a large extent on its European and American hinterlands as Chaunu and Chaunu 1955–1959, Grafe 2012, Prado 2015, Tutino 2011 and Young 2006 show; some authors have discussed the importance of hinterlands also for the pre-Columbian period (Nichols, et al. 2013). Other researchers make evident how much the phenomenon of the “frontier” and the “backcountry,” European and American Indian negotiations in these contact zones, are less specific to US-American history than some scholars might have thought (Weber and Rausch 1997). Guy and Sheridan 1998 discusses the term “frontier” in a comparative perspective for the Spanish Empire and makes clear that frontiers are contested zones, zones of contact and decisive change.

                                                            • Chaunu, Huguette, and Pierre Chaunu. Séville et l’Atlantique, 1504–1650. 8 vols. Paris: A. Colin, 1955–1959.

                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                              Earliest and most monumental study of Seville and its role in Atlantic trade and commerce; also about this port’s hinterlands.

                                                              Find this resource:

                                                              • Grafe, Regina. Distant Tyranny: Markets, Power and Backwardness in Spain, 1650–1800. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012.

                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                Grafe argues that decentralization was behind Spain’s slow process toward a modern nation-state and market economy. Her excellent study shows how Iberian regions at the periphery became integrated into Atlantic trade and commerce and how local and regional interests in Spanish hinterlands brought about both their integration and at the same time economic backwardness for the Spanish empire.

                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                • Guy, Donna J., and Thomas E. Sheridan, eds. Contested Ground: Comparative Frontiers on the Northern and Southern Edges of the Spanish Empire. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1998.

                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                  This collection of essays makes evident the extent to which the frontier represented contested ground where different cultures and polities met and clashed. The findings of these articles could be tested with regard to other empires and their peripheries and frontiers: the frontier as a land of opportunity, a crucible for democracy, as a space of barbarism and despotism, of vitality and volatility where power was constantly being contested and negotiated.

                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                  • Nichols, Deborah L., Hector Neff, and George L. Cowgill. “Cerro Portezuelo. States and Hinterlands in the Pre-Hispanic Basin of Mexico.” Ancient Mesoamerica 24.1 (2013): 47–71.

                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/S0956536113000035Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                    This article documents and analyzes the excavations at Cerro Portezuelo to better understand the relations between the city of Teotihuacan, its hinterlands, and the change from the Teotihuacan state system to the postclassic period city-state framework. It contributes to a better knowledge of the dynamics of state formation and centralization, reaching into the Spanish period.

                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                    • Prado, Fabrício. Edge of Empire: Atlantic Networks and Revolution in Bourbon Río de la Plata. Oakland: University of California Press, 2015.

                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                      Study of Montevideo as a new center of Atlantic trade and political power in the early 19th century and how the city integrated and created old and new hinterlands.

                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                      • Tutino, J. Making a New World: Founding Capitalism in the Bajío and Spanish North America. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.

                                                                        DOI: 10.1215/9780822394013Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                        This book reintegrates the Mexican hinterland of Bajío into the making of a global economy around 1800 and analyzes developments between the 1530s and the early 19th century.

                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                        • Young, Eric van. Hacienda and Market in Eighteenth-Century Mexico. The Rural Economy of the Guadalajara Region, 1675–1820. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006.

                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                          Classic history of the Mexican hacienda socioeconomic system, from the colonial period through the 19th century drawing inter alia on the complex relationship between Mexico City and its hinterlands.

                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                          • Weber, David J., and Jane M. Rausch, eds. Where Cultures Meet: Frontiers in Latin American History. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1997.

                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                            The twelve essays in this volume inquire into the frontier in Latin America and how it shaped national identities and institutions.

                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                            Portuguese Atlantic Hinterlands

                                                                            Studies on the Portuguese Atlantic world’s hinterlands often focus on European-Indian conflicts, contact zones, and the importance of the frontier, as Hemming 1987, Langfur 2006, and Monteiro 1994 do. Others deal with the networks between Lisbon and various, so-called hinterlands (Myrup 2015) or the construction of the frontier (Metcalf 2005) and boundaries (Meuwese 2006).

                                                                            • Hemming, John. Amazon Frontier: The Defeat of the Brazilian Indians. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987.

                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                              This is the second volume out of a trilogy on the frontier or backcountry in a Brazilian perspective and the role of Native Americans covering the end of the colonial period to 1910.

                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                              • Langfur, Hal. The Forbidden Lands: Colonial Identity, Frontier Violence, and the Persistence of Brazil’s Eastern Indians, 1750–1830. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006.

                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                Another frontier/backcountry narrative dealing with indigenous peoples, Afro-Brazilians (enslaved and free people), and colonial agents in the region between the gold mines of Minas Gerais and the Atlantic coast.

                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                • Metcalf, Alida C. Family and Frontier in Colonial Brazil: Santana de Parnaíba, 1580–1822. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2005.

                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                  Study of family structures in a rural community in colonial Portuguese America and the integration of the frontier through networks.

                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                  • Meuwese, Mark. “Cultural Boundaries in the Backcountry of Colonial Brazil: European Diplomatic Agents among the Rio Grande Tarairius, 1642–1654.” Portuguese Studies Review 14.1 (2006): 255–277.

                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    Fine article dealing with the construction of cultural boundaries in 17th-century Brazil.

                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                    • Monteiro, John M. Negros da terra: Índios e bandeirantes nas origens de São Paulo. São Paulo, Brazil: Companhia das Letras, 1994.

                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                      Focuses on Indian slavery, hinterland expeditions, commercial agriculture, and the establishment of new colonial communities in the São Paulo region during the 17th century.

                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                      • Myrup, Lars Erik. Power and Corruption in the Early Modern Portuguese World. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2015.

                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        This book shows how the Portuguese Empire depended on informal networks linking the court of Lisbon to European as much as to Brazilian hinterlands as well as the shores of southern China.

                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                        British Atlantic Hinterlands

                                                                                        For the British Atlantic world, the terms hinterland and backcountry, in particular, for the areas west of the Appalachian Mountains, are well established (e.g., Hofstra 2004). While in early North American history the terms “frontier” (in Frederick Jackson Turner’s words) and “backcountry” are often used interchangeably, frontier defines a transition sector, a cultural construct; backcountry is often used for the more or less settled areas of the frontier. A number of more recent studies has made evident how important this backcountry was for the advancement of first British and then American imperial interests, during the Seven Years’ War and the American Revolution (Dowd 2002, Hinderaker and Mancall 2003, Ward 2003), for developing colonial societies and economies (Johnson 1997, Martin 2008). The work of Warren Hofstra (e.g., Hofstra 2004), in particular, led to a better and more integrated view of centers and peripheries, of evolving as well as shifting borders and boundaries in British North America. On the European side of the British Atlantic, Scotland or some of the Irish provinces such as Ulster (Kenny 2004) have often been considered as hinterlands of the British Isles and therefore of the British Atlantic world. Many works on these British hinterlands treat of migrations (Griffin 2001) or the impact of Scottish colonial plans, of Scottish trade and commerce (Hamilton 2005), or of the integration of these hinterlands into the Atlantic world (Canny 1987).

                                                                                        • Canny, Nicholas. Kingdom and Colony: Ireland in the Atlantic World 1560–1800. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987.

                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                          In his collection of essays Nicholas Canny treats of British settlers in Ireland and Irish settlers in the Atlantic world as well as of the complex links between Ireland becoming a kingdom of its own and a British colony at the same time.

                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                          • Dowd, Gregory Evans. War under Heaven: Pontiac, the Indian Nations, and the British Empire. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.

                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                            This is an ethnographic history of Pontiac’s Rebellion in 1763, a significant event in Native American history and a precursor of the American Revolution in backcountry Pennsylvania which emphasizes how much political and social developments depended on the so-called hinterland.

                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                            • Griffin, Patrick. The People with No Name: Ireland’s Ulster Scots, America’s Scots Irish and the Creation of the British Atlantic World, 1689–1764. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001.

                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              With this study Griffin focuses on the migration of 100,000 Ulster Presbyterians of Scottish origin to British North America, identity formation, and integration patterns.

                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                              • Hamilton, Douglas J. Scotland, the Caribbean and the Atlantic World, 1750–1820. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2005.

                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                This study explores the contributions of Scottish kinship, ethnicity, and their networks of trade and commerce within the British Atlantic world but also transcending it to a large extent. It shows how much this hinterland had its own imperial and commercial agenda.

                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                • Hinderaker, Eric, and Peter C. Mancall. At the Edge of Empire: The Backcountry in British North America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.

                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  Thorough analysis of the role of the western edge, backcountry, or the frontier of Britain’s North American empire for intercultural cooperation and conflict and the process of appropriating the West under—later—US American auspices.

                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                  • Hofstra, Warren R. The Planting of New Virginia: Settlement and Landscape in the Shenandoah Valley. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.

                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                    In this important study Hofstra treats of the frontier, borderlands, and the backcountry in a cultural geography, economic and social history perspective and shows how much landscapes and definitions of areas are the ever-shifting products of historical processes evolving over generations.

                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                    • Johnson, George L. The Frontier in the Colonial South: South Carolina Backcountry. 1736–1800. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1997.

                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      Study of demographic and economic developments in the South Carolina backcountry.

                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                      • Kenny, Kevin, ed. Ireland and the British Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        With an introduction by Nicholas Canny, a pioneer and seminal figure with regard to the question of Ireland’s role in the Atlantic world, the essays in Kevin Kenny’s edited volume discuss the recent state of research of Ireland and the Irish in the movement of people, trade, and commerce in the Atlantic world.

                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                        • Martin, Anne Smart. Buying into the World of Goods: Early Consumers in Backcountry Virginia. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008.

                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                          This book describes how backcountry settlers in Virginia became part of early modern market economies, how economies integrated the backcountry into the Atlantic world.

                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                          • Ward, Matthew C. Breaking the Backcountry: The Seven Years’ War in Virginia and Pennsylvania, 1754–1765. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003.

                                                                                                            DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt5vkgnmSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            Ward tells the story of the Seven Years’ War from a backcountry perspective that is of the western frontier of Virginia and Pennsylvania. His study puts forward how much both the Seven Years’ War and the American Revolution and its ideologies have been impregnated by settler reactions to Native American interests and warfare in this region.

                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                            French Atlantic Hinterlands

                                                                                                            As much as other imperial states France and its Atlantic empire depended on the integration of centers and peripheries through merchants (Butel 1974) and owned much of the (dis-)integration of its American empire to actors and conflicts in the so-called hinterlands (Narrett 2013, Skinner 2008).

                                                                                                            • Butel, Paul. Les négociants bordelais, l’Europe et les îles au XVIIIe siècle. Paris: Aubier-Montaigne, 1974.

                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                              Early study of the making of Bordeaux merchants’ informal empires and how, through their commercial interests and networks, they (re-)defined centers and peripheries and thus connected the Antilles, Canada, Indian Ocean islands, the Hanseatic cities in Northern and Eastern Europe, including centers of production and markets in France’s hinterland.

                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                              • Narrett, David. Adventurism and Empire: The Struggle for Mastery in the Louisisana-Florida Borderlands, 1762–1803. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013.

                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                The book shows how much the disintegration of the French Empire in the Americas owed to inter-imperial borderland conflicts in its so-called hinterlands or backcountry.

                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                • Skinner, Clairborne A. The Upper Country: French Enterprise in the Colonial Great Lakes. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008.

                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                  Study of this hinterland from a French and British as much as Native American perspective.

                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                  Central and North European Hinterlands

                                                                                                                  While the terms hinterlands or backcountry are well-established for areas beyond the Atlantic Ocean rim in Africa and the Americas, they are not common for Europe—at least not in an Atlantic history perspective. States and empires that were not among the Atlantic empires, such as the Holy Roman or the Russian empires, have rarely been treated as hinterlands or backcountries of the Atlantic world. This is also true for the regions within France, Spain, or Portugal that did not border the Atlantic and that could be considered hinterlands of, for example, port towns and cities. Many studies, however, make evident how peoples from these parts of the European continent impacted and were connected with Atlantic worlds. With regard to Central Europe, studies on Atlantic migrations are particularly prominent (e.g., Häberlein 1993, Fogleman 1996, Wokeck 1999, Lehmann, et al. 2000). Historians have also drawn on the interconnectedness of the slave trade and commerce of Central Europe and the Atlantic world, on activities of merchants or producers from the Holy Roman Empire, in particular from Silesia and Westphalia (Brahm and Rosenhaft 2016, Evans and Rydén 2007, Weber 2004), or on the exchange of knowledge and belief systems (Lachenicht 2014, Gillespie and Beachy 2007, Wellenreuther, et al. 2013).

                                                                                                                  • Brahm, Felix, and Eve Rosenhaft, eds. Slavery Hinterland: Transatlantic Slavery and Continental Europe, 1680–1850. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 2016.

                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                    This collection of essays explores the manifold connections between the Atlantic slave trade, the production of textiles, and commerce and trade with Central European regions, hinterlands of the Atlantic triangle.

                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                    • Evans, Chris, and Göran Rydén. Baltic Iron in the Atlantic World in the Eighteenth Century. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2007.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1163/ej.9789004161535.i-360Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      Study of the importance of iron from the Baltic Sea region (Sweden and Russia) in the 18th-century Atlantic world and for British trade and commerce in particular.

                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                      • Fogleman, Aaron S. Hopeful Journeys: German Immigration, Settlement, and Political Culture in Colonial America, 1717–1775. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996.

                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        Comprehensive study of 18th-century German migrations and settlement of North America and how these linked Central European and North American hinterlands.

                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                        • Gillespie, Michele, and Robert Beachy, eds. Pious Pursuits: German Moravians in the Atlantic World. New York: Berghahn, 2007.

                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          This collection of essays provides insights into how German evangelicals linked in religious and economic perspectives Central Europe and the Americas through community networks.

                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                          • Häberlein, Mark. Vom Oberrhein zum Susquehanna. Studien zur badischen Auswanderung nach Pennsylvania im 18. Jahrhundert. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1993.

                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            In his PhD thesis, Mark Häberlein draws attention to the southwestern territories of the Holy Roman Empire and migration from these continental European regions to Pennsylvania.

                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                            • Lachenicht, Susanne, ed. Europeans Engaging the Atlantic: Knowledge and Trade. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014.

                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              This collection of essays looks into how Central Europeans participated in the exchange of knowledge and goods in the Atlantic world, taking the perspective of the 16th to late 18th centuries. It explores the degree to which the Atlantic was part of the European worldview—or just one part of a worldview with many centers of interest—and how Central European engagement with the Atlantic world evolved.

                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                              • Lehmann, Hartmut, Hermann Wellenreuther, and Renate Wilson, eds. In Search of Peace and Prosperity: New German Settlements in Eighteenth-Century Europe and America. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000.

                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                The essays of this volume study 18th-century German migrations—Salzburgers, French Huguenots, people from the Palatinate, and other southern German regions—within Europe and to the Americas and implicitly draw on the regions connected through migration.

                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                • Weber, Klaus. Deutsche Kaufleute im Atlantikhandel, 1680–1830. Unternehmen und Familien in Hamburg, Cadíz und Bordeaux. Munich: C.H. Beck, 2004.

                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  Emphasizing the importance of German merchants in Atlantic trade and commerce, Weber contributes to the thesis of informal merchant empires and how these specific merchants connected world regions that would not have been linked to each other without these commercial enterprises.

                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                  • Wellenreuther, Hermann, Thomas Müller-Bahlke, and A. Gregg Roeber, eds. The Transatlantic World of Heinrich Melchior Mühlenberg in the Eighteenth Century. Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz, 2013.

                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                    Through the figure of Heinrich Melchior Mühlenberg, a German Lutheran Pietist pastor, the essays study how religion and confessional networks could connect Central European regions with North America and the Atlantic world.

                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                    • Wokeck, Marianne S. Trade in Strangers: The Beginnings of Mass Migration to North America. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999.

                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                      Wokeck studies 18th-century Irish and German migrations and how systems of mass migration evolved through Atlantic merchants’ commercial interests.

                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                      Ports and their Hinterlands

                                                                                                                                      While river ports and sea ports both have significant relations with and highly depend on their respective hinterlands (Vidal 2005, Zitomersky 1996), some ports integrate the hinterland in more intense ways than others (Mathieu 1981; Lavallée 1987; de la Fuente, et al. 2008; O’Flanagan 2008).

                                                                                                                                      • Fuente, Alejandro de la, César García del Pino, and Bernardo Iglesias Delgado. Havana and the Atlantic in the Sixteenth Century. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008.

                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                        De la Fuente holds that, unlike many continental American sea ports, Havana emerged not so much to serve agricultural or mineral hinterlands. Instead, this port made its hinterland from the 16th century onwards.

                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                        • Lavallée, Louis. “Les relations villes-campagnes en France et en Nouvelle-France: Modèles comparés.” In Sociétés villageoises et rapports villes-campagnes au Québec et dans la France de l’Ouest, XVIIe-XXe siècles. Edited by François Lebrun and Normand Séguin, 255–265. Trois-Rivières, Canada: Presses Universitaires de Rennes and Centre de Recherche en Études Québécoises de l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, 1987.

                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                          A comparative study of cities and hinterlands in a French and New French perspective.

                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                          • Mathieu, Jacques. “Les relations ville-campagne: Québec et sa région au XVIIIe siècle.” In Société rurale dans la France de l’Ouest et au Québec. Edited by Joseph Goy and Jean-Pierre Wallot, 190–206. Montreal: Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1981.

                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            Mathieu holds that the integration of the Québecois hinterland was not efficient throughout the 18th century.

                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                            • O’Flanagan, Patrick. Port Cities of Atlantic Iberia, c. 1500–1900. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2008.

                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              With his book, O’Flanagan looks into metropolitan port cities (and their hinterlands) such as Seville, Cádiz, and Lisbon) and “the second tier” (Oporto, Corunna, and Santander).

                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                              • Vidal, Cécile. “Antoine Bienvenu, Illinois Planter and Mississippi Trader: The Structure of Exchange between Lower and Upper Louisiana.” In French Colonial Louisiana and the Atlantic World. Edited by Bradley G. Bond, 111–133. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2005.

                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                Vidal studies the extent to which New Orleans depended on flour and bacon imports from the Illinois Country, so how much Upper and Lower Louisiana were deeply interconnected.

                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                • Zitomersky, Joseph. “Ville, État, implantation et société en Louisiane française.” In Colonies, territoires, sociétés: L’enjeu français. Edited by Alain Saussol and Joseph Zitomersky, 23–48. Paris: L’Harmattan, 1996.

                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  The article documents the intense relationship between French sea and river ports and their respective hinterlands and how the cities formed their hinterlands.

                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                  US-American and British Canadian Hinterlands

                                                                                                                                                  Many scholars draw on the role of the backcountry with regard to the American Revolution (Frantz and Pencak 1998, Griffin 2007), while others trace the integration of the backcountry in the US-American move westward and the formation of the (federal) state(s) (Koons and Hofstra 2000, Aron 2006, Furstenberg 2008). Others look into how evangelical communities linked US-American hinterlands to the wider Atlantic world (Rohrer 2005) and into the development of interior ports, the rise of cities and the integration of the cities’ hinterlands (Cronon 1992, Cangany 2014); others deal with the role of Native Americans and Métis and the integration of “indigenous hinterlands” into state-formation (Ens 1996).

                                                                                                                                                  • Aron, Stephen. American Confluence: The Missouri Frontier from Borderland to Border State. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006.

                                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    Between 1600 and 1860, the region where the Missouri, Ohio, and Mississippi rivers come together—the American Confluence, as Aron argues—developed from borderlands to oppositional border states. The book is a study of the integration of the frontier in early American and US-American history.

                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                    • Cangany, Catherine. Frontier Seaport: Detroit’s Transformation into an Atlantic Entrepôt. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014.

                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226096841.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                      This intriguing study shows how Detroit developed from the second half of the 18th century into a frontier seaport and how it not solely formed its hinterland in the period up to the 19th century but also established relations with Russia and China.

                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                      • Cronon, William. Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West. New York: Norton, 1992.

                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        From an environmental perspective, Cronon provides a gran narrative of the integration of Chicago’s hinterland into the new metropole and the making of American national myths.

                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                        • Ens, Gerhard J. Homeland to Hinterland: The Changing Worlds of the Red River Metis in the Nineteenth Century. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996.

                                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                          This is a social and economic history of the Metis of the Red River Settlement. It shows how the Metis integrated into Indian and European worlds and thus transformed their homeland into a Canadian hinterland.

                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                          • Frantz, John B., and William A. Pencak, eds. Beyond Philadelphia: The American Revolution in the Pennsylvania Hinterland. University Park: Penn State University Press, 1998.

                                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                            The book shows how much the rural areas of Pennsylvania played a significant role in the American Revolution, settler societies in the hinterlands as much as Native Americans and slaves.

                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                            • Furstenberg, François. “The Significance of the Trans-Appalachian Frontier in Atlantic History.” The American Historical Review 113.3 (2008): 647–677.

                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1086/ahr.113.3.647Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              This article argues for the historical importance of the hinterlands between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River in the making of the Atlantic world and the United States of America.

                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                              • Griffin, Patrick. American Leviathan: Empire, Nation, and Revolutionary Frontier. New York: Hill and Wang, 2007.

                                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                With this book Griffin looks into the role of the frontier and how westerners in the American backcountry brought more radical visions to the developments of the American Revolution.

                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                • Koons, Kenneth E., and Warren Hofstra, eds. After the Backcountry: Rural Life in the Great Valley of Virginia, 1800–1900. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2000.

                                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  A study of the valley of Virginia and its role for Atlantic migrations and settler identity and how this backcountry served to link mid-Atlantic and southern states.

                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                  • Rohrer, Scott S. Hope’s Promise: Religion and Acculturation in the Southern Backcountry. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2005.

                                                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    Study of Moravian movement and how it enhanced the integration of the Wachovia hinterland in Piedmont North Carolina in the antebellum period.

                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                    back to top

                                                                                                                                                                    Article

                                                                                                                                                                    Up

                                                                                                                                                                    Down