Travel writing and narratives in European expansion

Year 2 HIS students reading narratives and print accounts of travel and exploration as part of the module: New Worlds – The European Expansion from Columbus to Abolition.

001The subject of this module is the study of European maritime expansion and the creation of colonial empires. Focusing on the narratives of those who explored and settled these new colonies, students analyse the reasons behind European expansion and their impressions of the ‘new worlds’ and peoples they discovered. Particular attention is dedicated to how Europeans’ impressions of other lands and people altered as colonies shifted from trading posts to permanent European settlements and how the movement of ideas, people and commodities between the colonies and Europe changed perceptions and lifestyles across the world.

005From Special Collections the students consulted Thomas Clarkson, The History of the rise, progress and accomplishment of the abolition of the African slave-trade (1808).

Relevant microfilmed collections included papers on the English slave trade which operated from Liverpool and exported slaves from Africa to the West Indies (Holt-Gregson Papers); and finely illustrated journals of the merchant ship ‘Lloyd’, by Nicholas Pocock, Master, 1767-1772. ‘Lloyd’ operated out of Bristol and journeyed to South Carolina and Dominica. (Pocock’s journal pictured here on microfilm).

DLiv1A later but significant item shown was an original letter of the missionary and explorer David Livingstone (1859).

A student’s comment:

Never considered that this would be useful but it has proven to be incredibly so. Great experience!

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