"This bold and highly original study adds immeasurably to our understanding of the imperial crisis in Georgia. Paul Pressly presents a subtle, complex analysis that lays bare the political ramifications of Georgia's mercantile connections with the Anglophone Caribbean. This is a most impressive first book and one that will influence the field for many years to come."
—Betty Wood, author of Women's Work, Men's Work: The Informal Slave Economies of Lowcountry Georgia
"On the Rim of the Caribbean makes an important contribution to the study of British mainland plantation colonies. . . . Pressly’s rich foundation of evidence and thorough research enable a fuller and more detailed history of an often neglected colony. He has both situated colonial Georgia appropriately in the British Atlantic World and described it unusually well."
Bradford J. Wood, New West Indian Guide
“This richly documented, analytically complex, and well-written book is a major contribution to the study of Colonial Georgia and the 18th-century Atlantic world. . . .[On the Rim of the Caribbean] is indispensable for anyone interested in Georgia or American Colonial history.”
—J. J. Rogers, Choice
"In this detailed and well-researched book, Paul M. Pressly reminds us that the North American British colonies were part of the larger Atlantic world. . . . The research is comprehensive and meticulous, laden with impressive statistical data and copious amounts of sources, both primary and secondary."
—Lisa L. Crutchfield, South Carolina Historical Magazine
How did colonial Georgia, an economic backwater in its early days, make its way into the burgeoning Caribbean and Atlantic economies where trade spilled over national boundaries, merchants operated in multiple markets, and the transport of enslaved Africans bound together four continents?
In On the Rim of the Caribbean, Paul M. Pressly interprets Georgia's place in the Atlantic world in light of recent work in transnational and economic history. He considers how a tiny elite of newly arrived merchants, adapting to local culture but loyal to a larger vision of the British empire, led the colony into overseas trade. From this perspective, Pressly examines the ways in which Georgia came to share many of the characteristics of the sugar islands, how Savannah developed as a "Caribbean" town, the dynamics of an emerging slave market, and the role of merchant-planters as leaders in forging a highly adaptive economic culture open to innovation. The colony's rapid growth holds a larger story: how a frontier where Carolinians played so large a role earned its own distinctive character.
Georgia's slowness in responding to the revolutionary movement, Pressly maintains, had a larger context. During the colonial era, the lowcountry remained oriented to the West Indies and Atlantic and failed to develop close ties to the North American mainland as had South Carolina. He suggests that the American Revolution initiated the process of bringing the lowcountry into the orbit of the mainland, a process that would extend well beyond the Revolution.
Read more about the Atlantic slave trade at the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
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