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American BaroquePearls and the Nature of Empire, 1492-1700$
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Molly A. Warsh

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469638973

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469638973.001.0001

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The Global Early Americas

(p.1) Introduction
American Baroque

Molly A. Warsh

University of North Carolina Press

Pearls call to mind a simple, feminine beauty in the modern imagination, but this was not always the case. In the early modern period, they evoked the excitement and uncertainty of distant places and unfamiliar peoples. Pearls were one of the earliest sources of American wealth to be exploited by the Spanish and their associates in the wake of Columbus’s voyages; the Venezuelan pearl fisheries provided critical lessons in the meaning of maritime empire. The webs of free and unfree labor that produced this early Caribbean pearl bonanza embedded the Americas in global networks of migration and commerce.

Keywords:   Global Americas, Caribbean, Labor, Networks, Maritime empire

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