An Aqueous Territory: Sailor Geographies and New Granada's Transimperial Greater Caribbean World
Turning South before Swinging East
This chapter brings together the geopolitical visions of Jamaican planters and merchants, British loyalists defeated in the American Revolution, and a sector of New Granada’s colonial authorities to argue that, in the aftermath of the American Revolution, their disparate interests converged around the idea of keeping the British Empire Atlantic centered. Through a study of their economic and political schemes, the chapter inserts northern South America into a growing literature that is reconsidering fundamental aspects of long-standing narratives of British imperial history, in particular the so-called swing to the east and the characterization of British relations with Latin America as constituting what has been called an “informal empire.” The analysis is divided into five sections. The first summarizes the literature on the British Empire’s swing to the east and the establishment of British informal empire in Latin America. The second presents the proposals of Jamaican planters and merchants to overcome the economic crisis produced by the American Revolution. The third turns to the analysis of alleged and real threats of British invasion of Caribbean New Granada. The fourth examines the promotion of cotton cultivation as a way to stimulate economic development in northern New Granada. And the concluding section ties all the interests together to assess the degree of success of all designs and plans to keep the British Empire Atlantic centered.