This book considers the phenomenon of European migration during the three centuries following the first Columbus voyage to America. A survey of the medieval background shows that Europeans were adept at long-distance travel in search of employment and opportunity, well before the encounter with America, and that some of these medieval adventurers had long been pressing beyond the perimeter of Europe. The ensuing essays reveal that established patterns of migration persisted well into the early modern period, and that the 'Discoveries' had merely added new and more exotic destinations to those already open to people in Europe who were forced to leave home to make careers for themselves. Though these studies focus on a range of countries, they collectively point to the fact that migration previous to the mid-eighteenth century more frequently led to an early death than to a quick fortune.
The conclusions that are drawn from the experiences of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, as well as from the Netherlands and Germany, demonstrate that the Spanish concentration upon America as the land of opportunity was exceptional. France, too, is shown to be exceptional because of the small number of emigrants it produced.
This is a wide-ranging and original exploration of early modern migration, which offers a useful summary of existing knowledge and makes an important contribution to the subject.
`the book provides excellent, up-to-date surveys of the early history of long-distance migration'
The Irish Times
`The subject is of the greatest importance but has only in recent years begun to attract the attention it merits. This book makes handsome amends. ... this is an excellent book, full of new information and insights and the starting point for any further investigations into that outcome of European expansion whose consquences are still so manifestly with us.'
`The value of this collection lies principally in its comprehensiveness. Drawing upon a rich outpouring of recent scholarship, reflected in its bibliographies, this impressive collection is by far the best available summary of the field and makes a valuable contribution to migration studies generally.'
Economic History Review
`This informative collection of essays, most derived from a 1990 conference at the Royal Irish Academy, describes the current understanding of early modern migration from Europe...Europeans on the Move is an excellent interim report, offering some new answers and many new questions that will be of interest to early modern historians.'
The International History Review
`The substantive essays are among the most difficult a historian has to write, synthesizing into a progress report existing secondary literature without slipping into waffle or historiography ... the authors have succeeded in their tasks admirably ... All have been aided by their own research in the primary sources ... this is an important and stimulating book, which ought to lead to lecture revisions across the continent.'
J.M. Bumsted, University of Manitoba, The Journal of American History, December 1995
`this is a very valuable collection that considerably advances the subject'
Jeremy Black, University of Exeter, EHR Feb. 97