MMHN started when several historians working on Mediterranean maritime history met at the Third International Congress of Maritime History in Esbjerg, Denmark, in August 2000, and decided on a number of measures to try to bring scholars working in this area of study closer together.
The first meeting of the MMHN in Malta (2002) also called for the preparation of a Directory of Mediterranean Maritime Historians setting out the name, contact details and research interests of those working in this field of endeavor, to facilitate exchanges between scholars.
The present Directory is available at the address
Prof. Carmel Vassallo (University of Malta) served as coordinator of MMHN between 2002 and 2014 and Dr Enric Garcia (Maritime Museum of Barcelona) is the current coordinator.
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The principal aim of the MMHN is to act as a clearinghouse for the exchange of information concerning research currently underway relating to Mediterranean maritime history topics.
The MMHN centers on the period from the thirteenth century to the twentieth century and subscribes to a wide concept of maritime history to include the following categories:
- The use of the resources of the sea and what lies beneath it, including fishing and related activities, and the economic and social life of the communities dependent upon them.
- The sea as a means of communication, namely the carriage of people, goods and ideas, and the structures associated with this phenomenon, such as ports and the communities within which these are lodged. This category is the broadest in maritime history and includes: sea-borne trade; shipping in all its facets, as well as ancillary institutions such as insurance, finance and registers; navigation; sea-related labor; island and port communities; and so on.
- The sea as a medium for the projection of power. This means naval power, strategy and technology; government policies relating to the control of the sea and its resources; as well as commerce-raiding, corsairing and piracy.
- The use of the sea for scientific purposes via oceanography, climatology and so on, as well as government policies regarding marine science and technology in a historical perspective.
- The sea as a space for leisure. This refers, first and foremost, to the Mediterranean's premier economic activity, namely tourism. The sea and the coast conceived as a regenerative environment and a focus for recreation in general and the practice of aquatic sports in particular.
- Last but not least, the sea as a source of inspiration in culture and ideology: this includes, for example, the role of the sea in art and literature, as well as the sea in a nation’s self-image.