This article reviews the transfer of goods and services between the continents bordering the Atlantic Ocean. It shows that the demands of long-distance trade, particularly but not solely across the Atlantic, encouraged innovation in technologies and methods, transformed commercial institutions, and required traders to develop novel ways of managing their businesses. After regaining independence from Spain in 1640, Portugal created a transatlantic trading system that was more vigorous than what had existed before 1580. The long eighteenth century witnessed a precipitate decline of France as an Atlantic commercial power and a steady rise of England. Paradoxically, France's Atlantic trading burgeoned, at least at first. While Britain and France struggled for Atlantic control, the Netherlands flourished, albeit in slightly different channels than before. The increase in the efficiency of shipping, the dematerialisation of finance, and the spread of information were substantial results of a burgeoning Atlantic trade. They also forced changes in traders' and governments' ideas about how commerce should be managed.
Oscar Di Simplicio
This article addresses the question of whether economic change fostered witchcraft accusations and prosecutions. It provides (i) a hypothesis regarding the neuropsychological origins of witchcraft cognition, accounting for its persistence over long periods of time; (ii) a theoretical framework concerning the appearance of an new ‘socio-economic grammar’ in the early modern period and its relevance to human behaviour; (iii) a study of local and regional variations in witchcraft prosecutions to determine the extent to which they may have been affected by geographic and ecological factors; and (iv) a reappraisal of witchcraft cognition in light of the nature through nurture dynamic.