In the early modern era, an increasingly integrated and cohesive Atlantic world began to emerge. The Atlantic was the first ocean in the history of the world to be regularly crossed, and the lands that bordered it came to have a common history. Over time, a variety of links, bonds and connections drew the territories around the Atlantic - that vast 'inland sea' - more closely together. People, goods and ideas circulated in ever wider and deeper flows between the pan-Atlantic continents. Changes in one corner of the Atlantic world had repercussions in others; even seemingly local and provincial developments invariably had Atlantic dimensions. Diverse and heterogeneous, this Atlantic world became one - a unitary whole, a single system.1