Fortunes de mer, trésors de terre. Les naufrages le long des côtes roussillonnaises (1740-1790). Histoire et environnement

Abstract : Through the lens of a risk, shipwrecks, this geohistoric approach brings one to think about the space of coastal societies through the example of the French region, Roussillon, in the 18th century. At a time when the wind remains the only driving energy, shipwrecks represent true risks for sailors. The fear, which generates a real risk culture, is passed on through oral stories and the experiences of the men of the sea. However, while the risk of sinking is a fear, it is also a kind of opportunity for the coastal communities at the 18th century. Witnesses of the shipwrecks, the people living on the shore are then called to pick up and store the debris and the shipment of sunken boats. These operations can last weeks and mobilize the communities thus creating a money income lasting a difficult winter season. The members of the communities on the coastline then participate to auctions for the debris and shipments, as buyers or spectators, which generates profits for many actors. From the sinking risk, a sort of economy of the wreck arises. Nonetheless, as all economies do, this economy has a hidden side. Debris and shipment stealing, which seem to be frequent during shipwrecks, help to highlight the links between and among coastal communities. Shipwrecks thus help to understand the importance of the coastal environment, as well as the risks it implies, in the very structure of the coastal societies.
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Master Thesis
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Léa Tavenne. Fortunes de mer, trésors de terre. Les naufrages le long des côtes roussillonnaises (1740-1790). Histoire et environnement. Histoire. 2017. ⟨dumas-02104075⟩

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