Coming soon: The 18th Century Baltic: Seafaring, Technology and Interaction (23th November 2012 University of Helsinki)

Interdisciplinary meeting in maritime history and maritime archaeology at the University of Helsinki 23th November 2012. From 10 a.m. Porthania II

The 18th Century Baltic: Seafaring, Technology and Interaction

The founding of St Petersburg in 1703 was a major turning at the Baltic Region. The
narrow and notorious route through the Gulf of Finland to the rising capital of Russia became one of the most important passages in the world. The Dutch dominated the shipping to the mid18th century, but the British merchantmen were tracking and took the leading role towards the end of the century. The increase in tonnage meant increase in the amount of shipwrecks. Dutch merchantmen carrying their luxury cargoes to St Petersburg sailed in extremely difficult conditions. Disasters were common. On the other hand, to the coastal people wrecks were a gift from heaven and to the salvation companies (est.1734) lucrative venture.

Despite of the difficulties in shipping the Dutch and British naval innovations diffused in pace with seafaring. Dutch saw-mills, wind power and fishing technologies, not to forget the pioneering role of the Dutch as coastal mappers and the British as scientific ship designers, were introduced at the Baltic region, e.g. in Narva,  St Petersburg and Sveaborg.

The seminar will focus on the following themes:

  • Seafaring, accidents at sea and shipwrecks in the Gulf of Finland
  • The diffusion of innovations and mechanism of interaction in the Baltic
  • Maritime and coastal infrastructure (ships, passages, beacons, piloting, salvage companies and technologies) of the 18th century Finnish Gulf/Baltic
  • Ship as a social microcosm
  • Charts, pilot guides and coastal mapping
  • Shipwrecks as historical source material

More details soon…

Mikko Huhtamies

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