The View from Havana
The introduction sketches the contours of the British six-week invasion and eleven-month occupation of Havana in 1762–1763, a major event in the history of the Atlantic world. It describes the framework of the book, “an event history” that relies on multiple, overlapping temporal and spatial frames in order to tie together many different strands of history, historical actors, perspectives, and scales. In giving a long-term history of the causes, central dynamics, and enduring consequences of this event, the book focuses on the crucial role of the slave trade and people of African descent. The actions of people of African descent and imperial rivalry over the slave trade shaped both the invasion and occupation of Havana in ways yet to be fully understood. The rest of the book explores the painful irony that black soldiers’ brave service in Havana during the British siege helped lead to new Spanish policies that endorsed and expanded slavery and the slave trade.
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