Sea Travel, Trade, and Warfare in Early Modern Europe

Exploring the economic and political impacts of maritime enterprises of Europe in the Early Modern world. By McLain SidmoreJunior History MajorCarleton College Introduction The Hanseatic League (or Hansa) was a mercantile organization founded by traders and merchants from Northern Europe in the thirteenth century. It dominated trade in the region between the Netherlands and Poland[…]

Ships and Sailing in the Medieval World

The period saw a shift from the steering oar or side rudder to the stern rudder and development from single-masted to multi-masted ships. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction The ships of Medieval Europe were powered by sail, oar, or both. There was a large variety, mostly based on much older, conservative designs. Although[…]

From River to Sea: Evidence for Ancient Egyptian Seafaring Ships

Exploring archaeological evidence for Egyptian seafaring vessels before 1450 BCE. By Dr. Cheryl WardAssociate Professor and Marine ArchaeologistDirector, Center for Archaeology and AnthropologyCoastal Carolina University Introduction Questions over when and how the ancient Egyptians went to sea continue to engage scholars in debate. Recent excavations of ship timbers at a pharaonic harbor on the Red[…]

Oceans, Seas, and Rivers: Maritime Travel and Exploration in the Ancient World

The first true ocean-going boats were invented by the Austronesian peoples. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction Maritime history dates back thousands of years. In ancient maritime history,[1] evidence of maritime trade between civilizations dates back at least two millennia.[2] The first prehistoric boats are presumed to have been dugout canoes which were developed independently by various stone age populations.[…]

Depictions of Ships on Ancient Greek Vases

Potters began to enrich vases in the Geometric Period with depictions of people, animals, ships, and more. Center for Hellenic Studies The Dipylon Vase Following the heroic age of the Myceneans is the silence of the Greek Dark Ages. In the proto-Geometric period (c1150–c950 BCE), the pre-Greek tribes make war, then consolidate and start forming[…]

The Persian Wars and the Maritime Supremacy of Ancient Athens

Figure 1: Greek Colonization of western Asia Minor / Image by Alexikoua, Wikimedia Commons The development of naval supremacy and of democracy became interdependent. In the period of about 600–480 BCE, Ionian colonists emigrated from Attica to the Aegean coast of Asia Minor, which is modern Turkey [1]. There they inhabited a narrow coastal strip from[…]

Navigation in the Ancient Mediterranean and Beyond

A 16th century chart of Europe and North Africa. Luis Texieira, Portolan Chart, Lisbon, ca. 1600 via Wikimedia Commons Navigation using celestial objects is a skill that was practised long before humans roamed the Earth; animals used it, too. By Dr. Markus Nielbock Scientific Staff Max Planck Institute for Astronomy Figure 1: The Iberian Peninsula[…]

Seafaring Material Culture in 18th-Century Ship Logs

‘Scene at Bideford Bridge’, by Mark Myers, showing the crowded waters of the Torridge during the heyday of colonial trade. / Burton Art Gallery and Museum, Wikimedia Commons Attention to the material cultures of the eighteenth-century log-book and journal reveal that media of navigation, through which to imagine distant, and not proximal, relations, might not be[…]

U.S. Naval Development, 1775-1815

Painting depicting the first victory at sea by USS Constitution over HMS Guerriere, by Anton Otto Fischer / Department of the Navy, Wikimedia Commons The early development of the U.S. Navy must be considered within the context of the interaction between domestic politics and public diplomacy.  By Lt. Col. Ronald J. Martin The Revolution As today’s foremost[…]