Assistant Professor , Department of History, University of Pittsburgh
This talk explores ways in which the Baltic region enabled the rise and consolidation of the French colonial empire in the Americas. The Baltic, a supplier of masts, tar, hemp, iron, planks, and other naval stores, has long been viewed as central to early modern European expansion overseas. Nevertheless, its particular association with French empire building remains little studied. Drawing on data from the Danish Sound Toll Registers and French consular records, the talk delineates how French colonization began as an attempt to secure commercial independence from the Baltic, only to produce the opposite effect of binding the French colonial enterprise and the Baltic ever closer together.