Maritime History as World History

Edited by Daniel Finamore

Foreword by James C. Bradford and Gene A. Smith, Series Editors
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From the foreword:
"In the 21st century the division between the maritime and terrestrial worlds has virtually disappeared. Events and issues that previously involved only maritime subjects need to be reexamined today from the perspective of those events and developments occurring simultaneously ashore. It is through this approach, as demonstrated by this fine collection of essays, that maritime history truly becomes a vehicle for understanding global history."

Maritime events today appear to be tied more closely to events ashore than ever before, and seafaring has been the primary catalyst of much of world history. These essays by many of the world’s leading scholars present an up-to-date assessment of the field of maritime history in the early 21st century. They offer fresh insights into the impact of seaborne exploration, warfare, and commerce on the course of history, from the independent traditions of ancient Japanese, Arab, and Mediterranean seafarers to the rapid European expansion around the globe from the 16th century onward.

The book is organized around the themes of the sea as a theater of exploration, a highway of commerce, an arena for conflict, and a muse for artistic inspiration. The authors utilize information from the earliest recorded voyages to the present to illuminate an era’s interesting and universal attributes and the successful explorers’ motivations--usually a combination of scientific, political, economic, and religious reasons. They also show that the competing principles of freedom of the seas versus exclusive governance by political entities are central to all discussions of the sea in history.

The book underscores how the myriad events that entwine humankind with the sea--both those of written record as well as those of oral tradition--form the substance of a history of worldwide significance. Its wide-ranging perspective will appeal to all readers who seek an engaging evaluation of the significance of the sea in human history.

Daniel Finamore is Russell W. Knight Curator at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.

Published jointly with the Peabody Essex Museum
New Perspectives on Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology

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"A collection that can be recommended for the way in which it informs and enlightens even as it provokes thought."
--International Journal of Maritime History

"A collection that can be recommended for the way in which it informs and enlightens even as it provokes thought."
--International Journal of Maritime History

"Succeeds in synthesizing a wealth of information generally classified as maritime history. As such, the book is a laudable introduction for neophytes."
--Journal of World History

"Offers fresh perspectives and cogent analysis of both maritime and world history."
--The Northern Mariner

"Attention to the world's oceans has never been more central to the concerns of resource economists, environmental scientists, or geographers, as well as students of international law. For maritime historians to speak to the concerns of these scholars is to secure a sizable and influential audience, even as they advance our collective knowledge of what does, after all, encompass by far the largest part of the planet we inhabit."
--The Historian

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