The history and culture of Europe has been decisively shaped by the exploration and use of the seas surrounding Europe. This catalogue book reflects the significance of the sea as a space of rule and trade for Europeans, as bridge and border, as resource and a site of desire. The book also reviews the changing perception of the sea in the arts.
Europe is a maritime continent: measured by the length of its coasts and its total size, none of the five continental masses on the planet has more points of cont act with the seas than Europe. The importance of the sea for the development of European civilisation is illustrated by the themes of myths, shipbuilding and seafaring, rule of the seas, European coastal trade, expansion, the slave trade, migration, the ma ritime global economy, resources, oceanography, tourism, and the artistic perception of the sea. Thirteen themes, each linked to a port city, range from Antiquity to the present day and demonstrate that the domination of the seas was a central component of European power politics for centuries.