The best books to understand the Atlantic world in the early-modern period

Matteo Binasco Author Of Making, Breaking and Remaking the Irish Missionary Network: Ireland, Rome and the West Indies in the Seventeenth Century
By Matteo Binasco

Who am I?

This is and will remain the example of historical research made by one of the leading authorities in the field of Atlantic history. Elliott’s book set the agenda by investigating and assessing the complex array of causes and consequences which brought England and Spain to have an ever-lasting cultural, economic, political, and religious influence on the history of North America and Latin America.  


I wrote...

Making, Breaking and Remaking the Irish Missionary Network: Ireland, Rome and the West Indies in the Seventeenth Century

By Matteo Binasco,

Book cover of Making, Breaking and Remaking the Irish Missionary Network: Ireland, Rome and the West Indies in the Seventeenth Century

What is my book about?

This book is the first to document the links which were developed between the Irish clerical community in Rome, Ireland, and the Irish migrants in the West Indies. Binasco vividly reconstructs the key figures, the perils, the efforts, and the pitfalls to connect the epicenter of global Catholicism with the far and troubled Ireland and West Indies of the seventeenth century. 

The books I picked & why

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England and the Discovery of America, 1481-1620

By David B. Quinn,

Book cover of England and the Discovery of America, 1481-1620

Why this book?

This remains so far, the best documented investigation of the earlier contacts between England and the North Atlantic world from the late fifteenth century to the early seventeenth century. Superbly researched and written, it permits to unveil the complexity and the mystery behind the “new world” with which England entered contact. 


The Coldest Harbour in the Land: Simon Stock and Lord Baltimore's Colony in Newfoundland, 1621-1649

By Luca Codignola,

Book cover of The Coldest Harbour in the Land: Simon Stock and Lord Baltimore's Colony in Newfoundland, 1621-1649

Why this book?

This is a fine example of superb historical research. Codignola’s book provides a wealth of details to chart the triangular connection which weaved tormented England, the desolate colony of Newfoundland, and the authorities of the Holy See during the seventeenth century. Thirty-four years after its publication it is still a must-read. 


If the Irish Ran the World: Montserrat, 1630-1730

By Donald Harman Akenson,

Book cover of If the Irish Ran the World: Montserrat, 1630-1730

Why this book?

This book tells the story of the Irish migrants who settled on the island of Montserrat from the early seventeenth century to the mid-eighteenth century. Through a masterful combination of different sources, Akenson reconstructs the colonial world of the Irish, and their ambitions to become rulers and no longer ruled within the lucrative and unruly context of the Caribbean.


Making Ireland British, 1580-1650

By Nicholas Canny,

Book cover of Making Ireland British, 1580-1650

Why this book?

This book is the best analysis written by the forerunner of Atlantic history in Ireland. Based on an astonishing amount of literary and historical sources, it is an outstanding insight into the complex and lengthy process of English colonization of Ireland set within the broader Atlantic and European context. 


Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America 1492-1830

By J.H. Elliott,

Book cover of Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America 1492-1830

Why this book?

This is and will remain the example of historical research made by one of the leading authorities in the field of Atlantic history. Elliott’s book set the agenda by investigating and assessing the complex array of causes and consequences which brought England and Spain to have an ever-lasting cultural, economic, political, and religious influence on the history of North America and Latin America. 


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