THE BRITONIAN WEBSITE
The “Britonian” website was created as part of the Action “Supporting Postdoctoral Researchers» of the Operational Program "Education and Lifelong Learning" (Action’s Beneficiary: General Secretariat for Research and Technology), and is co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Greek State. The website, under the supervision of post-doctoral researcher and lecturer Panayiotis (Panos) Kapetanakis focuses on the British and Ionian Maritime presence in the Eastern Mediterranean Seas, the Black Sea and the Danube River during the period from the 18th to the early 20th century.
THE BRITONIAN RESEARCH PROJECT: historical context
Our website is actually based on our new research project under the title: British and their Ionian Subjects in the Port-Cities and Grain Markets of the Black Sea and the Danube: penetration, settlement, integration (late 18th – mid-19th centuries).
Our Britonian research project aims at shedding light on the British and Ionian maritime presence on the seas of the Eastern Mediterranean and especially on the Black Sea. To be more specific, the Russian Black Sea and the Danube River emerged as the most important granary of the European Continent during the 19th century. This development was due to the outbreak of the industrial revolution, resulting in a rising of the urban population and consequently in an increase of the need for cereals for these populations.
Within the above context Britain commenced, since the early 18th century, to direct her maritime and commercial interest towards the granary of the Black Sea and the Danube. However, the Black Sea remained for the British a blocked “Ottoman lake” until 1802.
On the contrary, the penetration of the British subjects of the Ionian Islands into the Black Sea dates back to 1774. According to recent historical research findings the Ionians, long before the British conquest, took advantage of the Black Sea opening to merchant vessels flying Russian flag. As a result, the Ionians started trading in the Black Sea and the Danube, and became a vivid commercial diaspora in this broad geographic region.
THE BRITONIAN RESEARCH PROJECT: research and methodology
Based on the above, three are the main objectives – purposes of our research project:
a) to study the terms of the British commercial presence and interest in the Black Sea region during the period from mid-18th to mid-19th century;
b) to probe the autonomous maritime and commercial penetration and settlement of the British subjects of the Ionian Islands in the main port-cities and grain markets of New Russia and the Lower Danube during the aforementioned period;
c) to examine whether one of the principal reasons for Britain to conquer the Ionian Islands in 1809/1814 was her wish to utilize the Ionian maritime and commercial networks in order to strengthen her own commercial presence in the Black Sea/Danube region.
Our research adopts a quantitative and qualitative approach based on a combination of unpublished and published archival. The collected archival material is being processed through several electronic databases, functioning independently, as well as jointly. Moreover, in order to search for, collect, study, and process the archival material we created a small research team, in order to complement the work of the postdoctoral researcher. Finally, for a multi-disciplinary view, tools and methodology are drawn from a number of historiographical fields, ranging from financial, business, imperial and colonial history, to diaspora, social history, and economic geography.