‘The Continuity of Man’ highlights the following themes to a greater or lesser extend:
The impact of mass tourism and urbanisation on the natural landscape
Due to the interference of land and sea, coastal areas are unique natural and cultural environments. However, pressure on the natural beauty of the Mediterranean area is rapidly increasing. One of the main causes of the environmental decay is mass tourism, which turned up in Spain, Greece and Croatia in the sixties. Today the Med is the most popular tourist destination in the world. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), 25,000 km out of 46,000 km of coastline has been urbanised.
The origin of three major religions: The sea as a crossroads of cultures
Sailors are sensitive to superstition and symbolism. The Eastern basin of the Med is the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity. The Arabs introduced islam in the seventh century. Navigation, for the use of trade, conquests or war, effected an efficient exchange of manners and customs, and the dispersion of the three big monotheist religions.
Migration: The sea as a barrier
Migrations are of all times. Without migration, cross-pollination of civilisations around the Mediterranean Sea would not have been possible. In the current globalised world, psychological distances have grown shorter and easier to bridge. Due to migration, trade and tourism international contacts have increased.
Conflict and territorium
Many grim and legendary battles have been fought in the Mediterranean region throughout history. Wars often had imperialistic and strategic causes, such as the preservation of colonies or the control upon trade routes. The crusaders introduced the ideological-religious war in the 11th century. More recent conflicts, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Turkish invasion of North-Cyprus, the civil wars in Lebanon and the Balkans still have repercussions today. New wars in Libya and Syria emerged while working on this project.
Economy and navigation
The history of the Med is inextricably linked to navigation. The Phoenicians, the Romans, the Greeks, the Venetians could only become powerfull thanks to their acces to the sea, their maritime capacities and the size of their fleet. Although only 0,7% of the world’s sea surface, the Mediterranean Sea stands for 30% of worldwide maritime trading transport. It is one of the busiest transit zones for oil and containertransport in the world, and of particular strategic importance for both the US and the EU.