April 13, 2012

Mapping 18th century shipping patterns

Filed under: Africa, Americas, Asia, Economics, Europe, History, Science — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 09:06

An interesting post at the Guardian on tracing historical shipping patterns:

(Larger version at the original URL)

James Cheshire, of Spatial Analysis, has taken historical records of shipping routes between 1750 and 1800 and plotted them using modern mapping tools.

The first map, above, shows journeys made by British ships. Cross-Atlantic shipping lanes were among the busiest, but the number of vessels traveling to what was than called the East Indies — now India and South-East Asia — also stands out when compared to Dutch and Spanish records.

I was surprised to see how many trading voyages there were to and from the Hudson Strait — fur trade traffic, I assume.

(Larger version at the original URL)

This second map shows the same data for Dutch boats. The routes are closely matched to the British ones, although the number of journeys is noticeably smaller.

You can also see the scattering of journeys made by Dutch ships to Svalbard, off the North coast of the Norwegian mainland

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