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Overseas Shipping When The World Was Flat

Aug 5, 2008
Overseas shipping is the transport of manufactured goods or agricultural products over a sea or ocean to a destination which is usually located in another country. Today it is a multi-billion dollar industry than spans the globe. In ancient times it was a dangerous profession in a world that was virtually unknown. The common belief was that the world was flat and that if you went too far out onto an ocean you would fall off the edge.

The early nautical adventurers of Egypt and Greece sailed a sea that was fairly small and the boundaries were discovered early on. Overseas shipping in the Mediterranean was the cause of the rise and fall of many of the early kingdoms and empires in human history. The pharaohs used overseas shipping and their position on the Nile River to gain an advantage over weaker kingdoms that could not move troops and supplies great distances without traversing arduous land routes that often included deserts and jungle terrain that were as formidable as Pharaoh's armies.

Eventually, the strategic location of Egypt made it a target for conquerors with superior forces and greater naval strength. Alexander, with the help of the massive fleet that had been built by the city-states of Greece, absorbed Egypt in his march to empire and built a city at the mouth of the Nile that still bears his name today. He used this base as an overseas shipping port to supply his armies.

After the death of Alexander the Mediterranean became a war zone once again. Factions vying for the pieces of his empire turned the waters red with blood and overseas shipping became a game of cat and mouse between the merchants and the warships that hunted them for their cargoes. This continued until a small tribe called the Etruscans took over a country known as Italy and everything changed.

The Etruscans were the founders of Rome. There are many legends surrounding this and other tribes are believed to have merged with them to give them the strength they needed to become who they did, but there is no question that they quickly became the dominating force in the Mediterranean. Within a few centuries after the founding of the city of Rome, the empire of Rome became a reality and they controlled all overseas shipping in the Middle East and southern Europe.

The Romans were eventually defeated and the kingdoms of Europe began to take over the lead in overseas shipping. As the world became smaller and trade routes more crowded, European adventurers began to venture further and further into the Atlantic Ocean and down the coast of Africa. Most still believed that the world was flat at this point but rumors began to spread that perhaps it was a globe that could be crossed by going in the opposite direction. This was the theory of Columbus that led to the discovery of America. He thought that by going west he could reach the lands of Asia that were at that time only accessible by overland routes going east. He was right, and overseas shipping hasn't been the same since.
About the Author
Nir Dotan is a writer and promoter of
International Shipping
services, and
Auto Shipping
Local as well as International Moving
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