Fifth seminar meeting on “The seas of the Indian Ocean: Thalassology and Global History of the pre-modern”

The Department of Mediterranean and Global Economic and Social History and the Centre of Maritime History of the IMS/FORTH will organise, during the present academic year 2020/21, a series of seminar meetings on the «Global Economic Ηistory and the History of the Seas», using the zoom platform. During this first year, we intend to re-examine the spatial and temporal framework of our collective research, in a way that can provide an optimal operational context for the adoption and use of the analytical concepts and interpretative patterns inspired by recent developments in Global History and Thalassology. Our ultimate goal is to create an academic environment with a common understanding of research priorities, fields of study and focal points that will contribute to the renovation and enlargement of the scope of Greek economic history and fully integrated it into the current debates of the international community of global economic historians.

Researchers and collaborating faculty members of the IMS/FORTH took the initiative of organizing this series of seminars but our meetings are open to all, under the constraints imposed by modern telecommunication technology. We are planning to meet once or twice monthly, usually every Monday at 16:00 (Greek time). The conferences will be given in Greek or English, according to the composition of the audience. Updated information and any additional material for our projected meetings will be freely provided by the relevant web-page of the Department of Mediterranean and Global Economic and Social History of the IMS/FORTH. We are hoping that even after the end of the present Covid pandemic, our meetings will be ‘live’ but held in such a way as to optimally respond to the rigid spatial distribution of our FORTH research community, thinly spread in different localities.

You can register in advance to our seminar meetings using the following link here.

The fifth seminar meeting will be presented by IMS Assistant Researcher, Apostolos Delis, on the topic of The establishment of steamship and the role of the state in Britain and the Mediterranean in the 19th century. Aims and forms of state support of a transport sector under evolution.

The steamship has been considered by the nation-states since the 1830s as an ideal means of serving strategic purposes, such as the control, connection and communication of national territory and / or overseas possessions. Despite the fact that the steamer was under constant technical improvement in the 19th century, it already had two main advantages over the sailing ship that made it a reliable means of transportation: speed and regularity. However, the financial viability of a steamship company was very difficult without the support of the state, due to the high fixed and operating costs. Therefore, the state, either in Britain or in other Mediterranean countries, supported the formation and development of steamship in its first steps, but also during the whole of the 19th century, since the viability of the passenger steamship industry was based largely upon  the state aid. This support in various forms (postal contracts, privileges, annual funding) ensured on the one hand the viability of the steamship companies, served the needs of the state in times of peace and war, but at the same time was a brake on the development of an industry that was trapped in the necessities of the state.