© 2015

Law, Labour and Empire

Comparative Perspectives on Seafarers, c. 1500–1800


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Overview. Trades, Ports and Ships: The Roots of Difference in Sailors’ Lives

  3. Seamen and Law

  4. Seamen and Labour

  5. Seamen and Empire

About this book


Seafarers were the first workers to inhabit a truly international labour market, a sector of industry which, throughout the early modern period, drove European economic and imperial expansion, technological and scientific development, and cultural and material exchanges around the world. This volume adopts a comparative perspective, presenting current research about maritime labourers across three centuries, in the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, to understand how seafarers contributed to legal and economic transformation within Europe and across the world. Focusing on the three related themes of legal systems, labouring conditions, and imperial power, these essays explore the dynamic and reciprocal relationship between seafarers' individual and collective agency, and the social and economic frameworks which structured their lives.


Law labour seafarers maritime law development early modern period empire Europe law mediterranean migration seventeenth century

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of ExeterUK
  2. 2.University of OxfordUK

About the authors

Richard W. Unger, University of British Columbia, Canada Andrea Addobbati, Università di Pisa, Italy Joan Abela, University of Malta, Malta Magnus Ressel, Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main, Germany Jelle van Lottum, University of Birmingham, UK Catherine Sumnall Aske Brock, University of Kent, UK Tim Beattie, University of Exeter, UK Olivier Lopez, Aix-Marseille University, France and the University of the Humanities, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia Amélia Polónia, Universidade do Porto, Portugal Carla Rahn Phillips, retired from University of Minnesota, USA Danilo Pedemonte, Università di Genova, Italy Matthias van Rossum, Universiteit Leiden, Netherlands Yóu bó q?ng, Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Bibliographic information