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The English Conquest of Jamaica


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About the Author

Carla Gardina Pestana is Professor of History and Joyce Appleby Endowed Chair of America in the World at the University of California, Los Angeles. A Guggenheim Fellow, she is author of The English Conquest of Jamaica: Oliver Cromwell’s Bid for Empire and The English Atlantic in an Age of Revolution, 1640–1661.


The English Conquest of Jamaica vividly demonstrates the huge investment of money, men and ships that went into Cromwell’s plan to enlarge and rationalize the English presence in America. This field-transforming book shows that the Western Design actually set the stage for the Restoration government’s aspirations to build and control the empire.
*Karen Ordahl Kupperman, author of The Jamestown Project*

In a bold and well-argued book, Pestana contends that Cromwell’s Western Design was a major shift in English imperial thinking, with much greater consequences than have hitherto been realized. Jamaica’s rather inglorious first five years as an English colony are thus not an irrelevant oddity in Atlantic history but signal the beginning of a new phase in British American empire. This engaging book is greatly to be welcomed.
*Trevor Burnard, author of Planters, Merchants, and Slaves*

Meticulously researched and convincingly argued, Pestana’s book contains a trove of information on the Cromwellian empire, the growing professionalism of the English army and navy, and England’s relations with other European powers. It is a must-read for historians of Britain and its seventeenth-century empire.
*Eliga H. Gould, author of Among the Powers of the Earth*

Compared with his role in winning the civil wars of the 1640s, subduing Ireland and ruling England as a republic, Cromwell’s Western Design is barely remembered. But his plan to expand England’s presence in the Americas by dismantling the Spanish empire did much to shape the course of British imperial history. Pestana’s richly detailed narrative takes this little-known story to another level.
*Financial Times*

With much colorful detail and intelligent analysis, reinforced by informative footnotes, this book illuminates a significant event too often overlooked in historiographical studies of Britain and its empire.
*Washington Times*

[A] thorough, revelatory reassessment of the Western Design and its ultimate purpose.
*Times Literary Supplement*

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