Nations and Communities: A Comparative Perspective in Atlantic Europe, 1650-1830


This project consists of a comparative study of foreign merchant communities settled in various port cities in Europe between 1650 and 1830. Migration, as well as the settling and formation of different mercantile communities in main urban centres related to the international economic expansion are a historical phenomenon that affected the political, cultural and ideological evolution of Atlantic European societies throughout the early Modern Age and even up to contemporary times. Migration and the settlement of foreign mercantile communities played a primary role in the economic integration of regions within Europe and in its overseas dependencies. From a political and ideological point of view migration, foreign presence and international contacts had a marked effect on the formation and consolidation of Atlantic European countries. With the clear purpose of reinforcing the complex international historiographical debate on this theme, this project is directed at the study of the nature of foreign merchant communities in the European Atlantic world, of their internal historical processes and of several other aspects, some of which require a more detailed specific approach. Research will be performed from an international point of view, on a multidisciplinary and
comparative basis.

The aim of this program is to establish an analytical outline in order to define the study of the role played by the socio-economic agents, both at individual and collective levels, as actors and factors in the evolutionary process of the foreign merchant communities and their relations with the outside world, both at the regional and international level. Social-cultural and economic integration as well as the influences of the mercantile networks of the Modern Age in the ideological transition from the Ancient Regime to the Age of Liberalism will be dealt with. Several questions will be outlined, such as the possible relationship between the mercantile activity and the changes that took place in the economic structures of markets and regions. On the other hand, a sociological study of the different groups will be carried out, especially in questions related to local integration, national feeling and identity, as well as their ideological and political implications.


Six senior researchers of four different European countries, specialized in the history of European commercial networks, are involved in this project. They study foreign merchant communities in several European ports within the common theoretical framework of the project.

The participants in this project are
- dr. Maurits Ebben (University of Leiden)

- dr. Ana Crespo Solana (Instituto de Historia, Madrid)
- dr. María Paz Aguiló Alonso (Instituto de Historia, Madrid)
- dr. Arnaud Bartholomei (Université de Aix-Marselle I)
- dr. Klaus Weber (Universität Hamburg)
- dr. Vicente Montojo Montojo (Universidad de Murcia).

Last Modified: 28-10-2014