Mediterranean Maritime Supremacy, 1500-1700 (HIH2111A)

StaffProfessor Maria Fusaro - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

You will need effective communication and analytical skills, oral and written, to complete many of your modules and in a job after you graduate.  This module aims to help you develop your skills in researching, interpreting, and analysing both primary and secondary material, and in reporting on your work.  It provides you with an opportunity to explore an area of history in more depth, and helps you to develop the depth of understanding you will require to study more specialised areas of history.  It will also give you an opportunity to work in a team on a group presentation.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Evaluate the role of maritime trade – both long-distance and regional – during the early modern period in Europe.
  • 2. Make a close evaluation of the key developments and debates on the interconnection between maritime, economic and political supremacy, and the reasons behind the economic decline of southern Europe and the ascendancy of northern European countries.
  • 3. Evaluate how the maritime expansion of some European states influenced not only the structure of Mediterranean trade but the future developments of European and world history.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Analyse the key developments of European socio-economic history between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries.
  • 5. Collate data from a range of sources, both primary and secondary.
  • 6. Interpret primary sources.
  • 7. Trace long-term as well as short-term historical developments.
  • 8. Recognise and deploy historical terminology correctly.
  • 9. Assess different approaches to historical writing in areas of controversy.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 10. Work both independently and in a group, including participating in oral seminar discussions.
  • 11. Identify a topic, select, comprehend, and organise primary and secondary materials on that topic with little guidance.
  • 12. Produce to a deadline and in examination conditions a coherent argument.

Syllabus plan

The lectures will cover: the medieval background; the Italian maritime supremacy; Genoa and Venice; the impact of the geographical ‘discoveries’; the arrival of the ‘Flemish’; the arrival of the English; Anglo-Spanish conflict and the impact of privateering; galleys and galleons; Muslim and Christian corsairing; the Barbary States; the war of Candia; the beginnings of Greek shipping; the maritime ascendancy of France; Ottoman maritime and naval policy; the Mediterranean in global perspective. 
Seminars will focus on the analysis of the integration and competition between commercial sea-routes and land-routes in European trade; the role of the ‘northerners’ in intra-European maritime trade; piracy and coastal economies; the interconnection of maritime trade and naval warfare; the financial infrastructure of Mediterranean trade; the development of legal institutions.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22 hoursLectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22 hoursSeminars; these will be led by the tutor. You will need to prepare for each seminar and present on a given topic in groups which shall be organised at the beginning of the course.
Guided independent study 22 hoursWeb-based activities located on ELE – preparation for seminars and presentations
Guided independent study 234 hoursReading and preparation for seminars and presentations

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan x 1500 words1-12Verbal and written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay303000 words1-12Verbal and written
Group Presentation2025 minutes1-11Written
Exam502 questions in 2 hours1-12Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay3000 words1-12Referral/deferral period
Group PresentationScript as for individual presentation, equivalent to 10 minutes1-11Referral/deferral period
Exam2 questions in 2 hours1-12Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:


F. Braudel, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, 2 vols., Berkeley, 1995;

M. Greene, ‘Beyond the Northern Invasion: The Mediterranean in the Seventeenth Century’, Past and Present, 2002

M. Fusaro, C.J Heywood and M.–S. Omri eds, Trade and Cultural Exchange in the Early Modern Mediterranean: Braudel’s Maritime Legacy, London, 2010

D. Abulafia, The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean, London, 2011

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?