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Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2013

Cheryl A. Fury
Affiliation:
University of New Brunswick
Cheryl A. Fury
Affiliation:
Associate professor of history at the University of New Brunswick
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Summary

The Tudor-Stuart era was formative and turbulent for its seamen. The stresses of cycles of war and peace and the push for European ‘out thrust’ had an impact of all forms of maritime employment.

English, and later, British, maritime expansion has been analysed by gener-ations of historians but until relatively recently, the focus has been placed on events and participants ‘at the top’. The adventures of the famous and infamous captains like Drake and Frobisher are only a small part of the story: we must understand the experiences of all the men on those ships if we hope to grasp the ‘big picture’.

Historians such as K.R. Andrews and G.V. Scammell did much to establish and advance the field. In his seminal article, ‘The Elizabethan Seaman’ (1982), Andrews gave credit to Scammell's pioneering work, ‘Manning the English Merchant Service in the Sixteenth Century’ (1970) for laying the groundwork for this field of study. Andrews claimed the subject ‘cried out’ for a large-scale study. Over the past two decades a number of scholars have taken up the torch and the research has not been limited to the Elizabethan period. The endeavour has been assisted by the popularity of ‘history from below’.

Once there was a will to rescue these men from the dim past, scholars had to be creative in findings ways to do it. Official records of the time make little mention of the men who crewed the vessels which opened the global market-place to England and allowed for fledgling colonies – the fragile beginnings of Britain's great empire.

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Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2012

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  • Introduction
  • Edited by Cheryl A. Fury, Associate professor of history at the University of New Brunswick
  • Book: The Social History of English Seamen, 1485-1649
  • Online publication: 05 September 2013
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  • Introduction
  • Edited by Cheryl A. Fury, Associate professor of history at the University of New Brunswick
  • Book: The Social History of English Seamen, 1485-1649
  • Online publication: 05 September 2013
Available formats
×

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.

  • Introduction
  • Edited by Cheryl A. Fury, Associate professor of history at the University of New Brunswick
  • Book: The Social History of English Seamen, 1485-1649
  • Online publication: 05 September 2013
Available formats
×