Introduction: Flotsam and Jetsam in the Historiography of Maritime Trade and Conflict

Louis Sicking, Alain Wijffels

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Abstract

Medieval and early-modern long-distance trade was fraught with risks. Maritime long-distance trade entailed specific risks. Adverse human and natural factors could easily result in a commercial venture’s partial or total loss. Such risks, especially when they materialized, often created conflicts of interests, which, in turn, could affect how the partially or entirely failed venture could be dealt with, but also how the various actors involved in the conflict of interest would deal with each other in future business ventures. Not surprisingly, historians have shown great interest in the various ways those actors have tried to manage and solve the ensuing disputes. Through the study of conflict management and resolution, much information can also be gained on the business practices themselves, and the different social groups who played, directly or indirectly, a part in their preparation, in carrying them out, and eventually in dealing with the anticipated or unanticipated effects of such enterprises. These social actors were manifold: apart from the merchants themselves, they include (and could at times be the same as the merchants) sailors, investors, holders of public offices, privateers, pirates…
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConflict Management in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, 1000-1800
Subtitle of host publicationActors, Institutions and Strategies of Dispute Settlement
EditorsLouis Sicking, Alain Wijffels
Place of PublicationLeiden and Boston
PublisherBrill | Nijhoff
Pages1-18
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9789004407992
ISBN (Print)9789004380639
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

Publication series

NameStudies in the History of International Law
Volume15

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