- Early modern history
- Maritime history
- Swedish trade in the Mediterranean
During the eighteenth century Swedish trade turned its focus towards the Mediterranean, and in particular the lucrative carrying trade. Thanks to the country’s neutrality in major wars and its peace treaties with the Barbary States of North Africa, Swedish ships were safer than those of belligerent states. Thus, Sweden gained a position of relative advantage in the carrying trade, and towards the end of the century Sweden became one of the most important players in this trade.
Interest in Swedish trade in the Mediterranean and in the safety of Swedish ships and crews has grown in the past fifteen years. There is, however, still no modern study that focuses on the public authority responsible for the safety of Swedish shipping; the Convoy Office (Konvojkommissariatet). This public authority is the focus of my research. The Convoy Office was founded in 1724 and remained active in one form or another until 1867, long after the Mediterranean had lost its importance for Swedish trade and navigation. In my research I study how the Convoy Office protected Swedish shipping. In a broad sense the study will lead to new knowledge about how the Swedish state and its representatives made the Swedish trade policy work in practice. I focus on three important sides of the Convoy Office’s work (economic, military and diplomatic) and combine this with three different time periods (early, middle and late). This combination of different perspectives and time periods will make it possible to present a more complete and critical picture of the Convoy Office than is available today.