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date: 28 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the North Atlantic as a historical entity or domain, tracing specific themes from c. 1500 to the present day. Defined broadly by the area between western Norway and the eastern coast of Canada, it addresses a series of interlocking themes from the local to the regional. From a European or North American perspective, the area is typically regarded as marginal; yet it is precisely its liminal status that forces us to consider it on its own terms. Themes such as subsistence activities from farming to whaling are addressed alongside issues of trade, consumption, and modernity. Case studies draw on such themes in relation to groups such as the Inuit and Icelanders, alongside more general explanatory frameworks such as environmental history and capitalism. The chapter aims to introduce the breadth of work conducted in the region and key research issues, and to present some of its unique aspects.

Keywords: North Atlantic, capitalism, Inuit, Norse, whaling, fishing, Hanse, Norway, Greenland, Iceland, Shetlands, Faroes, Canada, post-Reformation, trade, environment

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