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The construction of early modern global Cities and oceanic networks in the Atlantic: An approach via OceaN’s Cultural HeritAge

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CONCHA (The construction of early modern global Cities and oceanic networks in the Atlantic: An approach via OceaN’s Cultural HeritAge)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2019-12-31

CONCHA’s main goal is to explain the different ways port cities developed around the Atlantic rim from the late 15th and early 16th century in relation to differing global, regional, and local ecological and economic environments. This analysis will be framed around a distinction between two separate navigational systems that existed in the Atlantic during the age of sail (1400-1800): the equatorial passage and the North Atlantic passage. Speaking to different literatures on port cities in the Atlantic, and environmental history, CONCHA aims to produce an Atlantic history of seaports in which the ocean – its ecosystems and species – is included as a dynamic player. CONCHA analyses the history of seaports using historical data as well as geomorphological, environmental, and archaeological studies. As case studies, CONCHA uses different locations in Northern Europe, North America, Iberia, the Atlantic archipelagos, Brazil and Colombia, which were central nodes in the circulation of people, resources, and knowledge in the early modern Atlantic world. Academically, one purpose of CONCHA is to provide, through academic exchange and participation in research missions, highly specialized training to senior and junior scholars and technicians from the different institutions and countries involved in the project. Another importante objective of CONCHA is to develop historical knowledge for heritage purposes. Besides organizing academic workshops and publications, therefore, CONCHA aims to educate by involving the public in historical research by offering lecture series and exhibitions, and by assisting public institutions in the development of heritage conservation and tourism.
Specific objectives of CONCHA are:
1. To address the political concerns and economic motivations driving oceanic expansion in medieval and early modern Europe.
2. To conceptualise the growth of Atlantic port cities in the early modern period, by analysing early settlements, seaport structures, natural environments, economic activities, marine resource availability from a comparative geographic perspective.
3. To analyse connections and nodes of contact between different Atlantic spaces, especially the circulation of people, products and knowledge, by comparing the North and South Atlantic experiences.
4. To understand the creation of local Atlantic identities and cultures (by Europeans as well as Africans and Amerindians) and their material and immaterial heritage.
5. To expand our understanding of the rise of global capitalism in its early form (“colonial mercantilism”), by using coastal and underwater archaeological context analyses.
6. To identify and discuss the multiple maritime cultures forged through the process of construction of Atlantic Ocean cultural landscapes, including their intangible memories and heritage.
7. To contribute to the current historiography of an integrated Atlantic History and the early development of its cultural maritime heritage.
8. To gather scientific knowledge, as well as methods and techniques of research, to inform locally and to teach globally, and to create networks of scholars and stakeholders to develop and disseminate Atlantic History and its Heritage at a global scale allowing to develop career opportunities.
9. To apply digital humanities tools to data analysis and dissemination of information, and to create new digital routes of the early modern Atlantic heritage to be used by the different stakeholders.
During the first and second years of the CONCHA project, all main objectives were achieved with just minor changes and, scientifically, most goals were achieved. Activities conducted during the secondments included field missions, archives, libraries and museums visits, workshops and science production and dissemination, training and education, as well as outreach. Expected milestones and deliverables were accomplished, according to what is by now submitted on the portal.
In this reporting period 14 secondments were initiated and 52 were concluded, involving a total of 36 researchers.
So far, a total of 6 papers were submitted and made available under publications.
The preparation of other scientific outputs is underway, and we expect to publish:
1- a book on the Atlantic Islands written in Portuguese, by Juan Marchena and Nayibe Gutierrez, published in Portugal by 2020;
2 - a book on the history of human and marine aanimals in the early modern Atlantic, by Cristina Brito (Amsterdam University Press, 2020 or 2021)
2- a book in an internationally recognized publisher (e.g. Routledge) “Atlantic Island Settlements 1400-1600”, co-edited by Cristina Brito, Poul Holm, Juan Marchena Fernandes and João Paulo Oliveira e Costa (2020/2021).
3- an international book dedicated to the underwater archaeology research and results by the end of the project.
The preparation of several new manuscripts is also underway, and we expect to submit two or there joint papers (with collaboration from the different partners) to a Special Issue on the international open access journal HUMANITIES (seascapes, shores and environmental history of the Atlantic). Globally, several papers will be submitted and published in the next couple of years.