Commodity frontiers are transnational zones of ecological exploitation that have provided agricultural products and raw materials for international markets since the early modern era. As such, commodity frontiers have played a crucial role in the expansion and development of global capitalism by supplying items including cereals, meat, cotton, sugar, coal, iron, and oil. This article argues that rural Ireland was part of capitalism’s commodity frontiers from the sixteenth century and demonstrates how changing patterns of Irish livestock and grain production—as well as related local and national socioeconomic changes—were tied to global trends and influences. This article also suggests that the case study of the history of Irish agriculture within the context of the world economy’s commodity frontiers contributes to the debates surrounding the historiographical movement associated with the new history of capitalism.

You do not currently have access to this content.