‘Advanced’ agriculture must be advanced relative to something and by some criteria. There is no consensus on what those criteria are, though certainly high yields per acre, and perhaps per labor hour, would be likely choices. Meanwhile, attempts to change or remove supposedly ‘backward’ farmers have recurred over the last few centuries, sometimes causing catastrophes. This article distinguishes between ‘advanced organic agriculture’ which was commercialized, often specialized, intensive in its use of labor and/or capital, and relatively high-yielding per acre but was not a big user of machinery or products of modern chemical industries and ‘energy-intensive agriculture’ which appeared in a few places in the 1800s, but reached most of the world only after 1945.
Peter M. Jones
The agricultural history of the Ancien Régime is inseparable from the socio-economic history of France between 1660 and 1789 if only for the reason that husbandry remained the principal wealth-generating activity and by far the largest sector of the economy. Even after 1789 this situation would not alter radically. Notwithstanding the collapse of Bourbon absolutism, the broad thrust of change in the countryside proceeded without major interruption. The agrarian history of western Europe in the early modern period provides scant evidence of climactic moments, and researchers are in general agreement that its rhythms can only be discerned over a time span of many decades. In France specifically there were no agricultural breakthroughs in the eighteenth century—whether in land-use, tenurial practice, agronomic technique, or institutional reform.
John A. Mears
When striving to delineate the contours of the human experience, world historians must highlight the major turning points in the existence of our species. Among the momentous watersheds through which human beings have passed since their appearance over 100,000 years ago, none has been more profound in its consequences than the shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture, a form of subsistence usually defined as different combinations of systematic crop cultivation and livestock raising. This article explains agricultural origins, recurring agricultural patterns in the post-classic world, and the industrialization of modern agriculture.
Archaeology provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study of slavery that combines analyses of archaeological findings with careful readings of traditional primary sources of historiography. Excavations of sites where enslaved people once lived and worked yield residue of things produced, consumed, and discarded by the former occupants of these sites. This article discusses plantation spatial organization and the built environment of slavery; slave consumption, production, and exchange; religious expressions; slave resistance; and future directions in the archaeology of slavery.
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.
There would have been no Atlantic world without trade. Throughout this period, the consumption of American-produced sugar, tobacco, and coffee, as well as the use of American gold and silver for money, was common throughout Europe. At the same time, the settlement of colonial emigrants and transported slave populations continued to grow and to transform the agriculture and environment of the Americas and western Africa. By the mid-eighteenth century the characteristic trading patterns of the Atlantic world were well established. The main exports at the beginning of the period from the New World were gold and silver from the mines of Mexico and Peru, as well as sugar and tobacco grown in Brazil, the Caribbean, and the Chesapeake, together with furs and cod from Canada and forest products from New England. We should not forget that people were also traded; European traders purchased an ever-increasing number of slaves in Africa for export to the Americas. Britain emerged as the dominant trading, military, and investment force by the nineteenth century.
J. R. McNeill
One important way in which people have altered environments, and thereby altered their own ecological contexts and their own history, is through biological exchange. Biological exchange can refer to any number of things. In this article, it means above all else the long-distance transfers of crops, domesticated animals, and disease-causing microbes, or pathogens. This choice is intended to emphasize biological exchanges that carried the greatest and most direct historical significance. The article aims to explore the role of the most important biological exchanges for human history. Biological exchange was sometimes carried out intentionally and sometimes accidentally. Faster and more frequent transport and travel continue to promote biological exchange. The long-term process of biological globalization continues, and will inevitably continue. In biological history, four or five centuries is the merest flash. In the long run, strange and unforeseen things will happen.
Daniel Thomas Cook
The academic study of children as consumers took root in the 1960s and did not begin in earnest until the 1970s, when the paradigm of ‘consumer socialization’ took hold among psychologically oriented business scholars. In the 1980s, some discussion of the history of children's consumption and popular culture began to appear in edited volumes and journal articles, with full treatments of some aspects of that history coming into view in the 1990s. Even as children's consumer culture takes centre stage in contemporary media reports, political punditry, and academic scholarship, the history of children's consumption remains largely unrecognized in, or otherwise marginal to, both histories of childhood and histories of consumption. Children's consumer lives or the popular culture of childhood most often occupy a side or subsidiary position in the overall historiography of childhood as in, for instance, recent works by Steven Mintz and Hugh Cunningham. It appears that, in a time of severe economic depression, both parents and commercial actors looked to childhood and the ‘child’ as promising bearers of hope for the future.
Already in the early modern period, urban elites defined the city as a place of civilization and cultural progress in stark opposition to the brute nature and barbarism associated with the countryside. To what extent is it possible to generalize about the differences in material surroundings and daily life between city and country? Are these differences, where they exist, the result of different attitudes and behaviour with regard to consumption? These questions raise the issue of the relationship between home consumption and the degree to which households were integrated into the market, but they point also to the consumption choices and consumer preferences that can be seen in the probate inventories of material goods owned by urban and rural populations. In the contemporary imagination, crowded cities are opposed to a spacious countryside. In reality, dwelling was more complex in early modern Europe. This article compares home, possessions, and diet in city and country in Western Europe between 1600 and 1800, and considers urban and rural dress as well as food consumption in town and country.
Lewis H. Siegelbaum and Sasu Siegelbaum
The history of sport can be considered an arena in which struggles over ways of doing things have worked themselves out, sometimes to the advantage of one class but occasionally to the benefit—or detriment—of more than one class. Sport has its antitheses—amateur versus professional, competitive versus noncompetitive, the individual versus the team—each of which contains class dimensions. In this chapter, players, fans, owners, governing bodies, and the media are treated as representatives, projections, or embodiments of classes and class fractions, struggling amongst themselves and occasionally against each other. The chapter emphasizes the formative influence of Great Britain and its class structure from the Industrial Revolution onward on the emergence of specific sports, the codification of rules, leagues, and fan bases. It analyzes the complex and sometimes contradictory nature of players as workers, their representation, and the particular dynamics between class and fan affinities.