Calypso’s Island

A Short History of the Apocalypse How does one survive an apocalypse, let alone remember it? Who writes the history of the end of the world? At the time of its destruction four thousand years ago, Ur was the largest city in the world. Indeed, up to that point, it was the largest city to […]

Origins of the Global Drug Trade

Portugal and Early Modern Globalization The slaves, merchants and mariners of the Portuguese imperial world played a key role in bringing tea to Britain, coffee to Brazil, and chili peppers to India. Indeed, early modern Portuguese were globalizers par excellence. Portuguese mariners and their African slaves can be spied shimmying up ship ropes and perched […]

Painting the New World

As lucklesse to many, as sinister to myselfe. Such was the Elizabethan colonist John White’s gloomy assessment of his tenure as the first governor of Britain’s fledgling colony on Roanoke Island, Virginia. As White lived out his final days on an Irish plantation in 1593, he struggled to come to terms with his ambivalent legacy […]