The Baltic: A History

The Baltic: A History


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In this overview of the Baltic region from the Vikings to the European Union, Michael North presents the sea and the lands that surround it as a Nordic Mediterranean, a maritime zone of shared influence, with its own distinct patterns of trade, cultural exchange, and conflict. Covering over a thousand years in a part of the world where seas have been much more connective than land, The Baltic: A History transforms the way we think about a body of water too often ignored in studies of the world’s major waterways.

The Baltic lands have been populated since prehistory by diverse linguistic groups: Balts, Slavs, Germans, and Finns. North traces how the various tribes, peoples, and states of the region have lived in peace and at war, as both global powers and pawns of foreign regimes, and as exceptionally creative interpreters of cultural movements from Christianity to Romanticism and Modernism. He examines the golden age of the Vikings, the Hanseatic League, Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, and Peter the Great, and looks at the hard choices people had to make in the twentieth century as fascists, communists, and liberal democrats played out their ambitions on the region’s doorstep.

With its vigorous trade in furs, fish, timber, amber, and grain and its strategic position as a thruway for oil and natural gas, the Baltic has been—and remains—one of the great economic and cultural crossroads of the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674970830
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 10/17/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 556,776
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Michael North is Professor and Chair of Modern History at the University of Greifswald, Germany.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction: Trade and Cultures 1

1 Vikings, Slavs, and Baits 9

2 The Christian Mission and the Settlement of the Land 28

3 The Hanseatic League and the Monarchies 52

4 The Reformation and the Nordic Renaissance 87

5 Swedish Dominance 117

6 The Rise of Russia 145

7 Nordic Romanticism 183

8 Revolutions and New States 222

9 Sovietization versus Welfare States 262

10 Transformation and EU Integration 301

Conclusion 326

Place Name Concordance 331

Notes 337

References 355

Acknowledgments 397

Illustration Credits 399

Index 401

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