This Special Issue reflects on the role of the Mediterranean in the new world economy between the 17th and 19th centuries, in line with certain interpretations that consider trade in luxury goods as one of the driving forces behind the process of economic growth in the modern age, and with an interpretation that identifies maritime spaces as the scenario in which world interconnections developed. A historiography that has settled over time, and too often passed on without the right critical sensitivity, has adopted the thesis of the “marginalisation” of the Mediterranean and its fleets along the oceanic routes created as a result of voyages of exploration and the construction of colonial empires outside Europe. In fact, the societies of the Inland Sea participated in the incipient globalisation of the modern age through the reception – among others – of Atlantic goods that modified their dietary habits and sociality. Progressively, over the centuries under examination, there was a boom in the consumption of American colonial goods (sugar, tobacco, cocoa, coffee, etc.), which arrived in the major ports and from there were distributed on the urban market or re-exported thanks to branched mercantile networks within variable geographical radii.
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