Project summary

Contributing to the growing field of spatial history, MedIns enquires into the correlations between insular space and the development of economic structures in early modern Cyprus and Crete. In doing so, it collects, processes and analyses data revealing the patterns of agricultural production of two quintessential 'miniature continents' of the eastern Mediterranean in the seventeenth century.

A recently-invigorated interest in the Mediterranean has contributed towards a better conceptualisation of the 'middle sea' as a social, economic and cultural realm both for the purposes of scientific inquiry, and a deeper understanding of the historical trajectory of contemporary phenomena. In this context, the study of insularity is an important analytical tool in Mediterranean studies. One of the emerging issues is the need to differentiate the meanings of insularity with reference to space and the size of islands as factors affecting their productive capacities and economic structures. Utilising the Braudelian concept of 'miniature continents' as its starting point, the project focuses on Cyprus and Crete in an initial attempt to articulate a typology of insular space.

In reconstructing the agricultural landscape and cultivation in the two islands, the project is based on the analysis of taxation and land registers from the Ottoman period. The data is then processed with the use of cartographic databases and digital mapping tools (G.I.S) in order to visually represent and analyse the movement, contraction, or proliferation of different crops at different points in time.