British commercial interests on the French Atlantic coast, c.1560–1713


  • This article was developed during a postdoctoral research fellowship funded by the Economic History Society at the Institute of Historical Research, 2010–11. It was subsequently awarded the Pollard Prize for 2011. The author would like to thank Anne Murphy (University of Hertfordshire) as well as all who attended the ‘Economic and social history of the pre-modern world’ seminar at the I.H.R. in Dec. 2010, for their questions and comments. Thanks also go to this journal's two anonymous reviewers for their helpful observations and suggestions.


This article explores British commercial interests on the French Atlantic coast in the long seventeenth century. This is a period characterized by conflict, when trade between Britain and France was at times prohibited due to war or restricted because of political or economic policy. Despite prohibitions, however, commercial agents continued to facilitate exchanges along these routes, in some cases with the assistance of authorities. Here, specific Franco-Scottish trading links are explored and the experiences of Scottish commercial agents in the French Atlantic coast ports are compared with those of English and Irish, particularly during the Nine Years' War (1688–97) and the War of the Spanish Succession (1702–13).