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Forging the Nation: 1681-1749

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Is there something a touch ambivalent about the subtitle of Linda Colley's famous book: "Britons: forging the nation"? What about shaping the nation? In fact, the nation had already been shaped, much, much earlier than 1707-1837.

In 1391, 1492, 1496, 1506, 1649, 1685, 1688

sea power


Some say that "Many historians now trace the origins of modern globalization to the eighteenth century, pointing to the global circulation of goods, labour, and information as its defining feature." Huh? C18th ? John Dee, who created the concept of the British Empire, died in 1608. The reason it was to be British was because he was the Welsh wizard serving Queen Bess, and she (as later Oliver Cromwell) was of Welsh origin.

incipient globalization 2000 BC

John Dee, 1527 - 1608

John Barrell, in LRB, 8/10/92, has pointed out that "forged" in the title of Colley's book is used "in the double sense of made up (for communities are imagined and imaginary things); and fashioned in the fire of battle. ... For Colley, such accounts of popular patriotism are the products of a massive retrospective condescension; they also fail to recognise that patriotism could be as much a force for political change as for conservatism." Does "forged" mean "counterfeited" ? Barrell also intimates that Colley is making "use of the past to interrogate the present".

That may well be. However, what is of more immediate interest to me are the consequences of the Jewish experience at the hands of the Roman Church and the Inquisition, in creating the seismic shift from a Spanish Empire to a British Empire. It was mentioned on a previous page that Colley apparently disregards at least three major shaping elements in her narrative: the Fleet, the Huguenots, the Jews. Strongly persuaded by Muller's highly convincing account of Shakespeare's antecedents, I have purloined bits of the timeline he has fashioned to argue his case, in order to support my own..

Timeline excerpted from Was Shakespeare a Jew ? by Ghislain Muller, 2011.

Between 1500 - 1530 the first British Monamy makes his appearance as a resident of Jersey.

The London Gazetteer, 9th February 1749

Anecdotes of Painting; by Horace Walpole, written 1762 - 71.

"Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, and, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer."
A. Pope: 1733.

Forging a Reputation

by poisoning the minds of posterity

here, here, here, here, here

mountains of drivel
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later page
earlier page

Pause for Thought: Britannia and Rawleigh
Raleigh, Rawleigh, Rawlegh, Ralegh, etc

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© Charles Harrison-Wallace 2015
all rights reserved



Selected chapters in From Strangers to Citizens, 1550-1750, edited by Vigne & Littleton, 2001
The Integration of Immigrant Communities

Pierre Boutin
Edgar Samuel
Gordon Weiner
Yitzchak Kerem
Eileen Barrett

Jean-Théophile Desaguliers: d'une intégration réussie à l'Europe des savoirs
London's Portuguese Jewish community, 1540-1753
Irish Jewry in the 17th and 18th centuries
Sephardic Settlement in the British colonies of the Americas: C17th & C18th
Huguenot integration in C17th and 18th London: records of the French church
Elites & assimilation: leadership in Dublin's Corps du Refuge, 1642-1740

From Strangers to Citizens was published by The Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland.