Trade across the Pacific will be one of the dominant forces in the economy of the next century. Is the economic importance of the Pacific Rim really a recent phenomenon? The origins of this "Pacific Century" date from as early as 1571 - the founding of the harbour of Manila, centre of a huge exchange of Spanish American silver for Chinese silk. Yet the study of the world's largest maritime trade route has been, until recently, neglected in favour of Atlantic history. This collection reflects the birth of Pacific Rim history. It addresses the development of the Pacific Rim over four centuries, combining broad historical syntheses with a range of essays on specific topics, from trade with Hong Kong to British overseas banking. It will form a major contribution to this rapidly expanding new field.