Eighth seminar meeting on “Maritime communities in the era of economic internationalization. The case of the island of Spetses, 1830-1870” by Alexandra Papadopoulou

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 

The eighth seminar meeting will be presented on Monday, May 17, 4 p.m. (GMT+2), by Alexandra Papadopoulou, post-doctoral researcher at IMS-FORTH, on the topic of "Maritime communities in the era of economic internationalization. The case of the island of Spetses, 1830-1870".

The maritime communities and especially those of the Ionian and Aegean Seas have evolved into an important unit of analysis of the modern Greek historiography. The last decades, many valuable studies have enriched our understanding of this intra-local web of economic relations and functions between the islands that developed and transformed in the 18th and 19th centuries. In this context, this presentation is focusing mainly in the maritime communities that have evolved into centers/hubs of maritime and commercial activities, within the emerging international commercial-capitalist system. This is a first attempt to pose some questions related to the historical development of the maritime communities within the major developments during the 19th century, through the case of the island of Spetses. Spetses had been one of the first maritime and trading loci with international presence, in the Aegean Sea since the last part of the 18th century.


During the 19th century, a series of structural changes, internationally due to the gradual internationalization of the Mediterranean and Black Seas' trade, as well as peripherally, especially due to the Greek Revolution and the territorial “division” of the Aegean into two sovereignties. In this environment, the “traditional” commercial fleet of the island evolved into a pole of a specialised maritime trade, in parallel to the rise of a new type and more complex maritime centers, as the one of Hermoupolis. My aim is to contribute, through the case of Spetses, in the understanding of the role of these communities in the “dispersed city” of the Aegean. This research goal involves the analysis of the internal architecture and dynamics of the local society, of the economic structure and hierarchical relations and dependence that developed since the last quarter of the 18th century between the shiponwers and social majority. A social and economic reality that interacted with the institutional and technological changes of the international trade and shipping till the late 19th century.