The header for this blog reflects my view of history. It reflects a world where people communicated and travelled beyond their national borders. I am attracted to the perspectives offered by ‘transnational history’ which challenges the traditional nationalist histories of the past. Historians who take a transnational view understand that people, ideas and goods travelled extensively beyond national borders. These transnational connections were already extensive by the time we noticed them in the late twentieth century and started talking about globalisation. People have always been curious about what lay beyond their home and sought to understand the ideas and exchange the goods of others.
The Silk Road is a good example of interaction between peoples. The European empires that emerged after the travels of Columbus are another obvious example albeit in the case of many indigenous peoples, an exchange forced upon them with devastating consequences. The lives of the people in the header of my blog were significantly affected by people who lived beyond Britain’s shores.
The first person that I would like you to meet is John Cornelius Woolward. You can only see the bottom part of this silhouette in the header (at the top above the ‘s’ and ‘t’ at the end of the blog title). In 1798 he fought in the Battle of the Nile at Aboukir Bay, a significant battle where Nelson routed the French fleet. John Cornelius suffered a significant hearing loss from this battle. He then became the harbourmaster at Ramsgate, England. He served in this position for 26 years. His interaction with the world outside Britain was through conflict. As far as I am aware, opportunities for him to interact with people from other parts of the world outside battle were very limited.
The next person was the wife of the son of John Cornelius, Matilda (nee Barrett). She married in 1845 on the island of Guernsey. Her husband worked for the coastguard and I assume had been transferred from Kent to Guernsey as part of the service’s policy of transferring their employees in a bid to prevent collusion with smugglers. Continue reading