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Almanack

On-line version ISSN 2236-4633

Abstract

HART, Emma. ATLANTIC AND LOCAL: SCALES OF INTERDEPENDENCE IN EIGHTEENTH CENTURY CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA. Almanack [online]. 2020, n.24, ed00319.  Epub Apr 30, 2020. ISSN 2236-4633.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/2236-463324ed00319.

Using Charleston, South Carolina, USA, as a case-study, this article argues that this interplay of scales and, more specifically unequal scales, was just as important to fostering the growth of globally-connected cities in the early modern Atlantic. In the course of the eighteenth century, Charleston grew from a few thousand inhabitants to one of the largest cities in the North Atlantic with a population of roughly 15,000 at the first United States Census in 1790. Historians have customarily attributed this growth to the simultaneous expansion of the plantation economy, which produced mainly rice and indigo. Nevertheless, there were a host of complex local processes at play that also contributed to Charleston’s importance, which have until recently been almost completely overlooked by scholars. Delving into the relationship between the local and the global is essential to fully understanding both the reason’s for Charleston’s growth and its critical role in connecting the region to the Atlantic economy.

Keywords : Charleston; South Carolina; local/global; interplay of scales; merchant-planter elites; African slaves; immigrant workforce..

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