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The Boundless Sea: A Human History of the Oceans

David Abulafia

$69.99  $64.99

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Allen Lane
19 November 2019
History; General & world history; Social & cultural history; Maritime history; Historical geography
David Abulafia begins with the earliest of seafaring societies - the Polynesians of the Pacific, the possessors of intuitive navigational skills, long before the invention of the compass, who by the first century were trading between their far-flung islands. By the seventh century, trading routes stretched from the coasts of Arabia and Africa to southern China and Japan, bringing together the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific, linking together half the world through the international spice trade. In the Atlantic, centuries before the little kingdom of Portugal carved out its powerful, seaborne colonial empire, many peoples sought new lands across the sea - the Bretons, the Frisians and, most notably, the Vikings, now known to be the first Europeans to reach North America. As Portuguese supremacy dwindled in the late sixteenth century, the Spanish, the Dutch and then the British each successively ruled the waves.

Following merchants, explorers, pirates, cartographers and travellers in their quests for spices, gold, ivory, slaves, lands for settlement and knowledge of what lay beyond, David Abulafia has created an extraordinary narrative of humanity and the oceans. Besides its grand narratives, The Boundless Sea explores the lesser known maritime enterprises of Denmark, Sweden, Oman, Sri Vijaya and many others. And today, as plastic refuse covers thousands of square miles of the waters, and once exotic trading cities and outposts are replaced by vast, mechanized container ports, he asks - what next for our oceans and our world?
By:   David Abulafia
Imprint:   Allen Lane
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 240mm,  Width: 162mm,  Spine: 50mm
Weight:   1.414kg
ISBN:   9781846145087
ISBN 10:   1846145082
Pages:   1040
Publication Date:   19 November 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

David Abulafia is Emeritus Professor of Mediterranean History at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College and a former Chairman of the Cambridge History Faculty. His previous books include Frederick II, The Western Mediterranean Kingdoms and The Great Sea, which has been translated into a dozen languages. He is a member of the Academia Europaea, and in 2003 was made Commendatore dell'Ordine della Stella della Solidariet Italiana in recognition of his work on Italian and Mediterranean history.

Reviews for The Boundless Sea: A Human History of the Oceans

In its mixture of supreme storytelling, beautifully drawn characters, fearless scope and rigorous scholarship, it ranks with the very best of world histories. ... From Morocco to Hawaii, Australia to the Persian Gulf, he delivers an intense and thrilling tour de force, filled with pirates, kings, scholars, monsters, conquerors, sailors, merchants, adventurers, slavers and slaves, taking us from the age of triremes and longships, hulks and cogs, dhows and junks, galleons and dreadnoughts, all the way up to the container ship. -- Simon Seabag Montefiore * The Daily Telegraph *


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