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The articles collected together in this volume allow the reader to look at how plans for overseas settlement, conceived at council tables in Europe, actually took place on the ground overseas. The differing models and spatial distribution patterns of European colonies in the various parts of the New World, Africa and Asia were the result of a complex interplay of numerous conditioning forces. The social structure of particular Western European states, their differing institutional approaches to overseas colonization, their discrete political and economic strategies within any given region, the modifications imposed upon those strategies by the indigenous populations which they encountered, by other commercial competitors, by the realities of the physical environment and the actual economic opportunities it offered all came to play in shaping how, where and under what conditions Europeans settled themselves overseas.
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