Date of Award

Spring 2011

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies


Dr. Claire Strom


This paper examines the events that precipitated transoceanic plant transportation and British imperial expansion during the second half of the eighteenth century. Combined circumstances forced the British to explore transoceanic plant transportation to make colonies, especially those in the British West Indies, more self-sufficient. Hurricanes in the Caribbean destroyed ground crops vital for slaves and plantation operations, and fallout from a volcanic eruption in Iceland poisoned soil in Britain and northern Europe for years. Wars with France and America inhibited oceanic trade and trade routes. These circumstances fostered the British desire to control its own food supply and resulted in the introduction of breadfruit into the British West Indies. Expansion of the British Empire in the Pacific arena facilitated this endeavor.