William and Mary

Casey Schmitt

ABD History

Email :
Current Research : Transimperial slave law and Caribbean slavery



PhD Student, History, College of William and Mary

Major Field: American Colonial History


M.A., History, University of Utah

Major Field: Comparative Colonialism and Imperialism

Thesis: “Contraband Economy in the Early Modern Americas: The British Asiento, Illicit Trade,

and the Limits of Empire in the Eighteenth Century Caribbean”


Grants, Fellowships, and Awards:

•2010 University of Utah History Department Research Travel Grant

•2011 Best Political/Military Paper at the Phi Alpha Theta Regional Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah

•2012 Kenneth Calloway King Jr., Memorial Fellowship


Conference Presentations:

•Schmitt, Casey. (2011, April). A Tale of Two Port Cities: Contraband Trade, the Asiento Contract, and Conflict in the Early Modern Caribbean. Paper presented at the Phi Alpha Theta Regional Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

•Schmitt, Casey. (2011, September). Business as Usual: Contraband Traditions in the Early Modern Caribbean. Paper presented at the Rocky Mountain Interdisciplinary History Conference, Boulder, Colorado.

•Schmitt, Casey. (2012, February). Filling the Void: Privateers, Smugglers, and the Shaping of Empire in the Age of the Bourbon Reforms. Paper presented at the NYU Atlantic History Conference, New York City, New York.

•Schmitt, Casey. (2012, March). An Atlantic Paradox: Interlopers, Viceroys, and Wheat on the Periphery of Empire. Paper presented at the HGSA Conference at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

•Schmitt, Casey. (2012, April). Smuggling Identity: Contraband Wheat and the Maintenance of Culture on the Periphery of Empire. Presented at the “Borders, Boundaries, and Beyond” Graduate Conference at Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.



Contraband trade in the eighteenth-century Caribbean occupied the time and energy of imperial planners in London and Madrid as Spain sought to maintain its commercial monopoly and Britain attempted to tap Spanish America’s lucrative markets. Despite the attention paid to illicit trade by contemporaries, historians have viewed it as peripheral both to imperial political economy and European diplomacy. By exploring British and Spanish primary sources, however, I explore how contraband trade can be seen as a tool of empire in which the illegal actions of colonial actors accomplished the wider goals of imperial planners.