PATRICK KARL O’BRIEN
Impulses, Processes, and Outcomes
My chapter has been designed to introduce readers to reconfigured metanarratives concerned with connections between European expansion overseas and the long-run economic development of Western European economies between 1415 and 1825. I first consider traditional histories because the chapter did not provide students with critical survey of literatures that deal with three major and familiar themes in international economic and imperial history, namely, the economic origins of impulses promoting intercontinental commerce and colonization; the processes and inputs included in the success of European expansion; and the impact that connections with Europeans had upon the populations and development of economies located on the continents of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. This field of European history is dominated by a vast bibliography of books and articles that addresses three meta-themes or questions of, for example, (a) why Europeans became so actively engaged in commerce and colonization overseas; (b) how Europeans managed to dominate that protracted and violent geopolitical and economic endeavor; and (c) what the outcomes were for the indigenous societies ruled and/or connected to Europe through trade, capital flows, labor migration, and the diffusion of technology.