Informations and abstract
Keywords: Global history, digital history, history of navigation, transoceanic commerce, East English India Company, globalization
This essay aims to illustrate the epistemological and historiographical originality of Global Sea Routes (GSR), a historical relational geodatabase for the collection, processing and visualization of data related to European transoceanic commercial navigation in the modern and contemporary ages. The general aim of GSR is to understand the global interconnectedness through sailing and steam navigation along the trade routes between European ports and transoceanic destinations between the 16th and the 20th century. This presentation focuses on the particular case of the English East India Company navigation toward Asia during the 17th and the 18th century, which GSR studies through the extensive use of a primary, under-exploited source – the logbooks – which provides the nautical data that enable georeferenced, dynamic and realistic route plotting in the GSR’s digital environment. Moreover, through the logbooks annotations, GSR discloses and presents unexpected insights into the everyday experience of transoceanic shipping that allow to shed light on the complexity of this phenomenon.