Privateering between the Company and the Nation: Commerce and Diplomacy in the Mid-18th Century Eastern Mediterranean

Basil C. Gounaris - Professor, Department of History and Archaeology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki



This paper argues that the legitimacy and the effectiveness of British privateering in the mid-18th century Mediterranean (1740-1763) were determined by politics beyond the indispensible war status between London and Paris. After a brief presentation of four distinctive privateering stories involving individuals of different background, follows an analysis of the Ottoman, the French and the British factors, which demonstrates the complicated issues that determined national and private interests in wartime Archipelago. As the Ottoman Empire was the major commercial partner and a potentially desirable ally for both the French and the British, privateers were trapped amidst the conflicting interests of the Levant Company, the ambiguous role of diplomats and their own perception of national fighting.



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