A Shared Sea: The Axes of French and British Imperialism in the Mediterranean, 1798–1914

  • John Perry
Part of the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series book series (CIPCSS)


The major axes of France’s and Britain’s empires crossed in the Mediterranean—the French on a north-south axis from Marseille to Algeria and the British on an east-west axis from Gibraltar to Egypt and India. Both powers sought to expand their influence in the Mediterranean and make it a strategic asset in their respective empires. After France’s conquest of Algiers in 1830, French administrators and Saint-Simonian economists referred to the Mediterranean as a “French lake” that would challenge British naval supremacy and link France’s imperial present with Roman antiquity. Despite the Mediterranean being a site of Anglo-French rivalry, both imperial powers shared the sea through collaborative, interconnected, and transnational elements that included steamship networks, coaling stations, and diplomatic agreements. By the turn of the twentieth century, the two sides became mutually dependent and mutually threatening in this shared maritime space, neither willing to risk losing vital sea lanes.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Perry
    • 1
  1. 1.The Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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