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5 - Entangled Empires

The Great Plague Scare in the Colonies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 November 2022

Cindy Ermus
Affiliation:
University of Texas, San Antonio
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Summary

Chapter 5 examines how the Great Plague Scare unfolded in the entangled colonial empires of France and Spain. Despite their intertwined histories in the early-eighteenth-century Atlantic, few works in the English language have focused on Franco-Spanish colonial relations. The chapter describes the orders coming from the metropoles for dealing with the threat of plague and analyzes how those on the ground ultimately responded. In the end, it answers the question, what was different in the colonies? It opens in Fort Royal, Martinique, where a major scandal unfolded when a French vessel arrived from the Languedocien port of Sète. What I call the “Sète affair” offers the opportunity to examine the “spirit of sedition” that endured in the French Antilles well before the Age of Revolution. The chapter then transitions to plague-time violence and Franco-Spanish relations in the Caribbean and demonstrates that the demands of the metropole were not always in line with the needs or wants of the people in the overseas colonies. On the surface, disaster centralism during the Plague of Provence seemed to extend from Europe to the colonies, but on the ground, local needs and economic concerns often outweighed the demands of a far-flung ruler.

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The Great Plague Scare of 1720
Disaster and Diplomacy in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World
, pp. 177 - 213
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • Entangled Empires
  • Cindy Ermus, University of Texas, San Antonio
  • Book: The Great Plague Scare of 1720
  • Online publication: 11 November 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108784733.006
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  • Entangled Empires
  • Cindy Ermus, University of Texas, San Antonio
  • Book: The Great Plague Scare of 1720
  • Online publication: 11 November 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108784733.006
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Entangled Empires
  • Cindy Ermus, University of Texas, San Antonio
  • Book: The Great Plague Scare of 1720
  • Online publication: 11 November 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108784733.006
Available formats
×