Proposal preview

Seafaring Lives in Transition. Mediterranean Maritime Labour and Shipping during Globalization, 1850s-1920s.

Seafaring Lives in Transition is an ERC Starting Grant funded project which explores the transition from sail to steam navigation and its effects on seafaring populations in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea between the 1850s and the 1920s. In the core of the project lie the effects of technological innovation on seafaring people and societies, whose lives were drastically altered by the advent of steam. The project addresses the changes through the actors, seafarers, shipowners, and their families, focusing on the adjustment of seafaring lives to the new reality of steam shipping and navigation. It also investigates the attributes of the new maritime labour market, the evolving relations among shipowner, captain, crew, and their local societies, life on board and ashore, as well as the development of new business strategies, trade routes and navigation patterns. The project examines case studies from the Ionian, Aegean, Black, Tyrrhenian, and Adriatic Seas, Spain and southern France. The research team composed of 20 researchers, senior academics, Post-doc researchers and PhD students from Greece, Italy, Spain, France and Ukraine, who study unpublished sources such as ship logbooks, crew lists, and private and business correspondence.

Organizer(s)

  • Apostolos Delis Institute for Mediterranean Studies/FORTH apostolosdelis@ims.forth.gr Greece

Session members

  • Anna Sydorenko, Institute for Mediterranean Studies/FORTH
  • Jordi Ibarz Gelabert, University of Barcelona
  • Enric Garcia Domingo, University of Barcelona
  • Katerina Galani, Institute for Mediterranean Studies/FORTH
  • Apostolos Delis, Institute for Mediterranean Studies/FORTH

Discussant(s)

  • Gelina Harlaftis Institute for Mediterranean Studies/FORTH gelinaharla@gmail.com

Papers

Panel abstract

Seafaring Lives in Transition is an ERC Starting Grant funded project which explores the transition from sail to steam navigation and its effects on seafaring populations in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea between the 1850s and the 1920s. In the core of the project lie the effects of technological innovation on seafaring people and societies, whose lives were drastically altered by the advent of steam. The project addresses the changes through seafarers, shipowners, and their families, focusing on the adjustment of seafaring lives to the new reality of steam shipping and navigation. It also investigates the new maritime labour market, the evolving relations among shipowner, captain, crew, and their local societies, life on board and ashore, as well as the development of new business strategies, trade routes and navigation patterns. The project examines case studies from the Ionian, Aegean, Black, Tyrrhenian, and Adriatic Seas, Spain and southern France.

1st half

A new challenge on Mediterranean Maritime history: Labour and Communities in transition fron sail to steam

Apostolos Delis, Institute for Mediterranean Studies/FORTH

Seafaring Lives in Transition is an ERC Starting Grant funded project which explores the transition from sail to steam navigation and its effects on seafaring populations in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea between the 1850s and the 1920s. In the core of the project lie the effects of technological innovation on seafaring people and societies, whose lives were drastically altered by the advent of steam. The project addresses the changes through seafarers, shipowners, and their families, focusing on the adjustment of seafaring lives to the new reality of steam shipping and navigation. It also investigates the new maritime labour market, the evolving relations among shipowner, captain, crew, and their local societies, life on board and ashore, as well as the development of new business strategies, trade routes and navigation patterns. The project examines case studies from the Ionian, Aegean, Black, Tyrrhenian, and Adriatic Seas, Spain and southern France.

Seafaring Lives in Transition is an ERC Starting Grant funded project which explores the transition from sail to steam navigation and its effects on seafaring populations in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea between the 1850s and the 1920s. In the core of the project lie the effects of technological innovation on seafaring people and societies, whose lives were drastically altered by the advent of steam. The project addresses the changes through seafarers, shipowners, and their families, focusing on the adjustment of seafaring lives to the new reality of steam shipping and navigation. It also investigates the new maritime labour market, the evolving relations among shipowner, captain, crew, and their local societies, life on board and ashore, as well as the development of new business strategies, trade routes and navigation patterns. The project examines case studies from the Ionian, Aegean, Black, Tyrrhenian, and Adriatic Seas, Spain and southern France.

2nd half

Trips, Routes and Working Conditions. The Pattern of Day-By-Day in the Spanish Mediterranean Navigation During the Transition from Sail to Steam (1850’s-1920’s)

Jordi Ibarz, Universitat de Barcelona; Enric Garcia, Universitat de Barcelona

The process of transition from sail to steam experimented by Spanish merchant marine between 1850’s and 1920’s was slow and not always clear, without dissonance. This process caused deep changes in the lives and in the jobs of Spanish seamen. We don’t have too many sources to understand these transformations, but a book called rol de navegación (muster-roll) can be a good way to illustrate these changes. The muster-roll of navigation is a type of document that all the Spanish ships had to carry on board obligatory. In this document we can find information about the technical characteristics of the ship, the crew and its working conditions, the arrivals and departures of the ships to different ports, cargoes, and so on. Some samples of this source can be used to reconstruct the conditions of navigation, the characteristics of the trips and definitely the pattern of day-by-day mercantile navigation during the...

The process of transition from sail to steam experimented by Spanish merchant marine between 1850’s and 1920’s was slow and not always clear, without dissonance. This process caused deep changes in the lives and in the jobs of Spanish seamen. We don’t have too many sources to understand these transformations, but a book called rol de navegación (muster-roll) can be a good way to illustrate these changes. The muster-roll of navigation is a type of document that all the Spanish ships had to carry on board obligatory. In this document we can find information about the technical characteristics of the ship, the crew and its working conditions, the arrivals and departures of the ships to different ports, cargoes, and so on. Some samples of this source can be used to reconstruct the conditions of navigation, the characteristics of the trips and definitely the pattern of day-by-day mercantile navigation during the process of transition from sail to steam. In our research we will work with a representative sample selected among a collection of about 700 unpublished muster-rolls from the port of Valencia, preserved in the Naval Archive of Cartagena. These documents will show us life on board both sailing vessels and steamers, in coastal navigation or in high seas trade: a combination of the old and the new from a micro-historical approach. Beside this main source, we will also use other complementary sources to put this information in context so day-by-day live could be interpreted.

Transition to steam in the Russian North Black Sea coast: the case of The Russian Steam Navigation and Trade Company

Αnna Sydorenko, Institute for Mediterranean Studies/FORTH

The transition from sail to steam in the Russian Empire and specifically in the northern Black Sea coast began gradually after the Crimean War (1853-1856). The latter followed the example of European countries by creating state-subsidized liner companies such as the Russian Steam Navigation and Trade Company (known in Russian as ROPIT) formed in 1856. Although bulk tramp shipping carrying mainly grain cargoes was in the hands of foreigners, like Greeks, English, Austrians, etc., from the last third of the 19th century, ROPIT was able to develop and take an important share of the liner Black Sea trade and hence change the organization of the Black Sea maritime trade. The Russian shipping company was able to gradually take over an 80% of the passenger traffic to and from the ports of the northern and eastern Black Sea coasts, by establishing regular services to the ports of the Mediterranean and Northern...

The transition from sail to steam in the Russian Empire and specifically in the northern Black Sea coast began gradually after the Crimean War (1853-1856). The latter followed the example of European countries by creating state-subsidized liner companies such as the Russian Steam Navigation and Trade Company (known in Russian as ROPIT) formed in 1856. Although bulk tramp shipping carrying mainly grain cargoes was in the hands of foreigners, like Greeks, English, Austrians, etc., from the last third of the 19th century, ROPIT was able to develop and take an important share of the liner Black Sea trade and hence change the organization of the Black Sea maritime trade. The Russian shipping company was able to gradually take over an 80% of the passenger traffic to and from the ports of the northern and eastern Black Sea coasts, by establishing regular services to the ports of the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. The Russian flag was thus able to dynamically enter liner shipping from the Black Sea ports to the Mediterranean, Northern Europe.