By the eighteenth century, the Atlantic Ocean had become a busy highway of ships crisscrossing its waters.
What do we know about the ships that made these transatlantic voyages and connected the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world through trade, people, and information?
Phillip Reid, a historian of the Atlantic World and maritime technology and author of The Merchant Ship in the British Atlantic, joins us to explore the eighteenth-century British merchant ship and the business of transatlantic shipping.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Phillip Reid, author of The Merchant Ship in the British Atlantic, is an expert in the history of the British Atlantic World and maritime technology. He joins us to explore the technology of the eighteenth-century British merchant ship and the business of transatlantic shipping.
During our exploration, Phillip reveals details about the eighteenth-century British merchant ship and its technological development; Information about ship building and what ship buyers looked for when purchasing a new vessel; And, how and why shipowners undertook the important work of risk mitigation when it came to conducting their transatlantic business.
What You’ll Discover
- 18th-century British merchant ship
- The Dutch Empire and merchant ship technology in the 17th century
- Anglo-Dutch Rivalry
- English innovations on Dutch sailing technology
- Mercantilism & Trade
- Ship technology as shared technology
- Building a British merchant ship in the 18th century
- Dry docks and royal shipyards
- How British merchant ships compare with British East Indiamen
- Shipbuilding and local economies
- Options in purchasing a merchant vessel
- How to extend or decrease the life expectancy of a merchant ship
- Economics of shipbuilding and ship ownership in the 18th century
- 18th-century insurance policies for ships & cargoes
- Ship crews and crew pay
- Sailor tolerance for risk on the 18th-century Atlantic
- Ship navigation
- 18th-century ship cargoes
- Importance of 18th-century British merchant ships to early American history
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Phillip Reid
- The Merchant Ship in the British Atlantic
- John McCusker, The Economy of British-America, 1607-1789
- Daniel Vickers, Farmers & Fishermen: Two Centuries of Work in Essex County, Massachusetts, 1630-1850
- David Hancock, Ocean of Wine: Madeira and the Emergence of American Trade & Taste
- Omohundro Institute
- Robert Parkinson’s Thirteen Clocks: How Race United the Colonies and Made the Declaration of Independence
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- Episode 008: Gregory O’Malley, Final Passages: The Intercolonial Slave Trade of British America, 1619-1807
- Episode 012: Dane Morrison, The South Seas & the Discovery of American Identity
- Episode 015: Joyce Chaplin, Circumnavigation from Magellan to Orbit
- Episode 099: Mark Hanna, Pirates & Pirate Nests in the British Atlantic World
- Episode 140: Tamara Thornton, Nathaniel Bowditch: 19th-Century Man of Business, Science, and the Sea
Time Warp Question
In your opinion, how might the history of the Atlantic World and the British American colonies have been different if the 18th-century merchant ship had never been invented?
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