The Influence of Spatial Change on Operational Strategies in Early Modern Dutch Shipping: A Case Study of Dutch Shipping in the Gulf of Finland and Archangel, 1703-1740

June 2011
International Journal of Maritime History;Jun2011, Vol. 23 Issue 1, p115
Academic Journal
A fundamental discrepancy between neo-classical and institutional research approaches lies at the core of contrasting results in historical studies about maritime shipping and trade. Nonetheless, both see maritime shipping as a spin-off of trade. Thus, the fact that maritime transport is an economic activity in its own right is ignored. In this essay I argue that in order to understand the influence of St. Petersburg on Dutch maritime shipping we need to apply an evolutionary theory and methodology to overcome the limitations of neoclassical and institutional biases. The goal of this case study is to understand how spatial changes affect maritime shipping. This serves a dual purpose. First, it makes an activity commonly seen as a spin-off effect of trade central to the analysis. Second, it makes the interaction between land and sea a core analytical issue. I conduct this study of the influence of spatial change on maritime shipping in a historical context, thus subscribing to Paul David’s claim that to use the past as “a museum of interesting cases” provides a solid empirical base.


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