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New ports, pioneer ports (XIVth-XXIth centuries)

Ports nouveaux, ports pionners (XIVe-XXIe siècles)

Puertos nuevos, puertos pioneros (siglos XIV-XXI)

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Published on Wednesday, January 06, 2016


The Conference will address four topics: the creation of a port, the major enlargement of an existing port, the rapid transformation of a small port into a big harbour, or the temporary establishment of a port for economic or military reasons. The analysis includes commercial harbours and naval bases, as well as mixed ports. The concept of an “Atlantic port” refers to its location on the Atlantic Ocean or its extensions in the Channel, the North Sea and the Caribbean Sea. This includes the ports of the European, the African and American Atlantic littoral, as well as the metropolitan European and the African and American ports both as colonial ports and after their independence.


The fourth international meeting of the research network “The Governance of Atlantic Seaports (XIV-XXI Centuries)” will be held at the Université de Bretagne Sud at Lorient as part of the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the Lorient port to facilitate the French East India Company. The subject of the conference will be the creation of ports from the XIVth  to the XXIst  century. Lorient was a long-distance port trade with Asia, a coastal port trade with the Atlantic seashore, a high-tech naval base and an arsenal, as well as France’s second most important fisheries base. Home as well to pleasure craft and to large sailing ships, Lorient has undergone original trajectories and many changes over time, including its recovering from the devastation of World War II.


Two days of academic conference will be followed by a visit to the Lorient roadstead and to the citadel of Port Louis, whose origins date back to the XVIth century and which now houses the museums of the Navy and of the French East India Company.

Suggested topics

 I - The circumstances of the choice: creating a seaport

  • The responsibility and the correspondent political, economic and military context of the decision
  • The opening of major global maritime routes through European colonization
  • Changes in communications with the hinterland: river access facilities, channel building, improvement or building of new roads, the railway lines
  • The evolution of the commercial fleets, the techniques of transport and the handling of goods
  • The difficulties of estuarine ports and the creation of outer harbours
  • Illegal trade and piracy
  • The birth of a separate war navy and the need for arsenals
  • Ephemeral ports in landing operations
  • The sea and its connections with tourism and the emergence of a leisure economy: the proliferation of marinas, the evolution towards gigantic cruise ships.

II - The creators and their tools

  • The craftsmen in the creation of a port and its urban environment: carpenters, contractors, surveyors, architects and military engineers. Training, diversity, experience, geographical mobility, transfer of knowledge. Model of ports in a shared culture?
  • Naval requirements in site selection: good position towards the prevailing winds and currents, safe moorings for shelter from storms, limited reefs, deep water roadstead and risk of stranding on beach, sources for supplies , forest cover for easy access to the woods near high reliefs facilitating defence.
  • The land-sea connection in the implementation of seaports: the use of coastal indentation or the artificial projection at sea 
  • Building techniques, materials, industrialization processes, prefabrication.
  • Mobilization of labour: European contributions, indigenous mobilization, use of slavery, the slave trade and Asian migrations.
  • The availability of spaces and their legal and fiscal regimes.

 III - From the port to the city: societies and maritime landscapes of pioneering cities

  • Spontaneous port cities, planned port cities. Planning on preliminary plans or simple consequence of a shared mental framework.
  • The relationship between the naval qualities of a site and its availability to urban expansion: convergence or contradictions. Problems to solve.
  • Structuring elements in the emergence of a port city: handling facilities (from the beach to the docks), merchant buildings, fortifications, religious buildings, buildings of political power.
  • From the port precinct to the emergence of a city: a frontier-like transitional phase.
  • Policy problems in an emerging port city.
  • The wrong choices, the failures and the displacements of a port

Submission guidelines

They may be submitted in any one of the network languages: Spanish, French, Portuguese or English.

Only one proposal per participant will be accepted

March 15, 2016 is the deadline

for submission of the title, authors’ identification (position, institution, laboratory, email) and an abstract of 500 words.

Speakers who do not belong to the Governance Network are kindly asked to send their proposals with a brief CV of 200 words.

Paper proposals should be sent to: gobernanza@geo.uned.es

Proposals will be evaluated by the Scientific Committee.

Organizing committee

  • Sylviane Llinares, (UMR CERHIO, Université Bretagne Sud - Lorient)
  • Bernard Michon (EA CRHIA, Université de Nantes)
  • Marta García Garralon (Centro Asociado Madrid-UNED) 

Scientific committee

  • Sylviane Llinares (CERHIO, Lorient Bretagne Sud University, Director of GIS CNRS / INSHS History and Sciences of the Sea)
  • Guy Saupin (CRHIA, Université de Nantes)
  • Nicolás Morales (Casavde Velázquez) 
  • Cézar Teixeira Honorato (Universidade Federal Fluminense Brazil) cezarhonorato@gmail.com
  •  Michael Limberger (University of Ghent)
  • Bruno Marnot (CRHIA, University of La Rochelle, deputy director of GIS CNRS / INSHS History and Marine Sciences) 
  • Amelia Polónia (Universidade do Porto) 
  • Ofelia Rey Castelao (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela)
  • Ana Maria Rivera (UNED)
  • Mariana Zapatero (Universidad Católica Argentina)


  • Maison de la Recherche - Université Bretagne Sud - Faculté LLSHS 4, rue Jean Zay
    Lorient, France (56100)


  • Tuesday, March 15, 2016


  • port, mer, marine, atlantique, arsenal


  • Sylviane Llinares
    courriel : sylviane [dot] llinares [at] univ-ubs [dot] fr

Information source

  • Sylviane Llinares
    courriel : sylviane [dot] llinares [at] univ-ubs [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« New ports, pioneer ports (XIVth-XXIth centuries) », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, January 06, 2016, https://calenda.org/351757

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