SOLIDARITY TO OUR COLLEGUES IN UKRAINE. The Black Sea project is a project of communication, academic dialogue and scientific exchange, to bring
scholars together beyond borders: Ukrainians, Russians, Greeks, Turks, Georgians, Bulgarians, Romanians, Moldavians.
There is no East and West. There is ONE WORLD. Let the War END
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The aim of the project was the identification, analysis and synthesis of the economic and social develοpment of 24 port-cities of the Black Sea that formed an integrated market that became the largest grain-exporting area in the world in the second half of the 19th century until the beginning of the 20th century. By placing in the center of the analysis the sea and its ports, the analysis will penetrate in the economic activities of the port-cities, the coastal area and the hinterland, the integration of markets and their interlinkages with the global economy, beyond political boundaries and divisions. The linkages with the global economy triggered development and convergence of regional markets in the global economy.

From the late 18th century to the early 20th century the Black Sea coastal line had been transformed to an international market with linkages with the Mediterranean sea, the northern European seas, the Atlantic and the Indian ocean. Despite the existence of old port-cities in the southern Black Sea coast, like Trebizond, during the period under examination, more than 20 port-cities were created and developed on the rivers and the coastline of the western, northern and eastern Black Sea (today’s Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia and Turkey). These port-cities became centers of attraction for economic immigration from the whole region of Central and South-eastern Europe, while main agents of economic integration proved to be the mobile groups of the so-called people of the classic diaspora like the Greeks, Jews and Armenians, as well as those of other central European groups. It was these mobile entrepreneurial groups that undertook the control of external trade and shipping and those of the linkages with the global economy.

The different political entities, the different languages and the dominance of the Soviet Union in the Black Sea region during the twentieth century meant that until recently access to the region’s archives was not only difficult but almost impossible. This project indicated the unity of markets during the period before the Russian revolution and their integration in the global economy at the beginning of the 20th century. It will also review briefly the re-incorporation of the area in the world transport system.


The  project contributed to the development of research in the following ways:
1)First, by introducing in the historical studies of southeastern Europe, the History of the Sea and/or Maritime Economic History, which during the last ten years has taken off internationally along with Global History and Global Economic History. The history of the Black Sea at the center of the study is explored in an interdisciplinary way by combining economic and social history with social sciences, architecture, transport, geography and oceanography. We focus on the port cities of the Black sea region that emerged as grain export gateways and were linked to the expanding European metropoles of the industrial revolution.
2)Second, by providing a rich and multi-faceted data base for the port cities of the Black sea region in which documentation from local archives and different ethnic languages is combined and translated in a common language. Comparisons in this way can be drawn from archival material from Eastern Europe with that of Western Europe and the United States.
3)Third, we consider that one of the most important contributions of the project is the formation of a solid basis of interaction and networking among Greek universities and research centers, and their counterparts in the countries of Eastern Europe that embrace the Black sea. This project encourages the extrovert orientation of Greek academic institutions by rendering them centers for the study of the economy and society of the Black sea area. The organizational structure of the project which consists of an internal network (11 universities and research institutes in Greece) with an external network (20 corresponding institutions from Bulgaria, Rumania, the Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and Georgia) guarantees the successful achievement of its aims and opens the way to more permanent forms of academic cooperation.


A. Conferences/Workshops

The participants of the project presented 114 papers in international conferences and seminars of the Black Sea project but also in other international conferences. The Black Sea project organized 3 international conferences, in Odessa, Ukraine,  (September 2013), Constantza, Romania and Varna, Bulgaria (May/June 2014) and in Istanbul, Turkey (September 2014). An internal workshop took place to present the project to the external evaluator C.Knick Harley in Athens (April 2015), and a workshop in Rostov-on-Don, Russia  (June 2015).

B. Books  

Thirteen volumes, e-books, are the outcome of the project with the title Black Sea Working Papers, in which the studies of 80 authors are included which of a total size of more than  4,000 pages.  All the e-books will be ready for publication in the project's website  by the end of 2016. The books are the following:

  1. Constantin Ardeleanu and Andreas Lyberatos (eds), Port-Cities of the western Black Sea coast and the Danube: Economic and Social Development in the long nineteenth century, Black Sea Working Papers, volume 1, published 2016,
  2. Evrydiki Sifneos, Oksana Iurkova and Valentina Shandra (eds), Port-Cities of the northern shore of the Black Sea: Institutional, Economic and Social Development,  18th – early 20th Centuries, Black Sea Working Papers, volume 2, under publication,, under publication
  3. Gelina Harlaftis, Victoria Konstantinova, Igor Lyman, Anna Sydorenko and Eka Tchkoidze (eds), Between grain and oil from the Azov to the Caucasus: the port-cities of the eastern coast of the Black Sea, late 18th – early 20th century,  Black Sea History Working Papers, volume 3, published 2020,
  4. Mikhail Davidov, Gelina Harlaftis, Vladimir Kulikov and Vladimir Morozan, The Economic Development of the Port–Cities of the Northern and Southern Black Sea Coast, 19th – Beginning of the 20th century. Transport, Industry and Finance, Black Sea Working Papers, volume 4,  under publication,
  5. Edhem Eldem, Sophia Laiou, Vangelis Kechriotis (eds), The Economic and Social Development of the Port–Cities of the Southern Black Sea Coast and Hinterland, Late 18th – Beginning of the 20th century, Black Sea Working Papers, volume 5, published 2017,
  6. Vassilis Colonas, Alexandra Yerolympos and Athina Vitopoulou, Architecture and City planning in the Black Sea port-cities, Black Sea Working Papers, volume 6, under publication,
  7. Maria Christina Chatziioannou (ed.), Linkages of the Black Sea with the West. Trade and immigration, Black Sea Working Papers, volume 7, under publication,
  8. Socratis Petmezas, George Kostelenos and Alexandra Papadopoulou (eds), with the collaboration of Marios Emmanouil, The development of 24 Black Sea port-cities. A statistical approach, Black Sea Working Papers, volume 8, under publication,
  9. Athanasios A. Pallis, Ioannis N. Theotokas, Maria Lekakou (eds), Black Sea Ports, Shipping and Cities in Modern Times. From Central Planning to Reintegration in the Global Economy, Black Sea Working Papers, volume 9, under publication,
  10. Evrydiki Sifneos, Imperial Odessa: Peoples, Spaces, Identities, Black Sea Working Papers, volume 10, under publication in Brill publications, Leiden, 2017
  11. Alexandra Papadopoulou, The intregration of the Black Sea markets to the Global Economy, 19th century, Black Sea Working Papers, volume 11, under publication,, 2016
  12. Anna Sydorenko, The economic development of the crimean port-cities, second half of the 19th, beginning of the 20th century. Evpatoria, Sevastopol, Theodosia, Black Sea History Project Working Papers, volume 12, under publication,, 2016
  13. Iannis Carras and Eugene Chernukhin, The Balkan Merchants of Nezhin 17th-19th centuries, Black Sea Working Papers, volume 13, under publication,, 2016

C. Databases "Black Sea"

The Black Sea databases include processed data from a combination of archives for all port-cities and the collection of statistics from Russian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Ottoman, French and British archival sources. The aim was a) to provide rich and multi-faceted databases for the port cities of the Black sea region in which documentation from local archives and different ethnic languages is combined and translated in a common language and b) the formation of processed homogeneous statistical series of imports and exports in value and quantity, shipping arrivals and departures from each port-city from a combination of available contemporary statistics. To that end the Black Sea Databases contain six databases: 1) Black Sea Historical Statistics, 1813-1914, 2) Jason database, 1810s-1910s 3) Argo database, 1835-1918 4) Golden Fleece database, 1830s-1910s 5) Argonauts database, 1793-1920 6) Medea database, 1889-1930. The names of the last five databases have derived their names from the ancient Greek myth of the Black Sea, the Argonauts, where the main hero Jason on his ship Argo sailed in the Black Sea in search of the Golden fleece; in the Black Sea lands he married a woman called Medea whom he brought back to Greece.

  1.  Black Sea Historical Statistics

The creation of the Black Sea Historical Statistics, contains statistics on shipping and trade for the Black Sea port-cities under examination. More  specifically, a) the shipping statistics contain for each port-city  arrivals and departures of total number ships, tonnage, flag, type of ship and number of crew b)  the trade statistics, that is, exports and imports in value and grain exports in value and quantity according to the type of grain for every port-city, for every country, and export destination. The statistical data has been derived from primary sources from Russian, Romanian, Bulgarian archival sources as well as from British and French Consular archives. These statistics are published in the entry "Statistics"  in the  Black Sea Port Cities - Interactive history, 1780s-1910s, The statistical series are in Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.


  1. The database Jason, contains 2,200 entries with names of merchants, shipowners and bankers that were active in the Black Sea port-cities from the beginning of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. Every entry has the surname, the name, the date of birth, the nationality, the profession, the guild, the size of imports and exports, the ships owned, the archive where the information comes from. Both Jason and Argo are interrelated and they are published in


  1. The database Argo contains 1,900 entries of ships registered in the Black Sea port cities. Every entry has the name of the ship, the type, the tonnage, the flag, place of built, date of built, the captain, the owner, the place of registration, the archive where the information comes from. This database is interrelated with the database Jason. Both Jason and Argo are interrelated and they are published in


  1. The database Golden Fleece contains 23,679 entries, voyages of ships from the beginning of the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century. It concerns arrivals and departures from Odessa and Constantinople, and arrivals to the ports of Marseille from the Black Sea ports. Every entry includes the date of arrival/departure, the name of the ship, the flag, the tonnage, the type, the port of origin, the type and quantity of cargo, the merchant to whom it is addressed and the archival source from which the information is derived. The database is in Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.


  1. The database Argonauts contains 22,106 entries of baptisms, marriages and deaths of the Greeks from Odessa from the beginning of the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century. Every entry contains the date of the event, the surname, name, nationality, age, gender, name of parents, their profession and nationality, the name of the godparents/best men or women, their nationality and the cause of death. The database is in Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.


  1. The database Medea, contains 6,060 entries of immigrants from Odessa to Buenos Aires. Every entry contains the name of the immigrant from Odessa to Buenos Aires. Every entry contains the name and surname of the immigrant, the nationality, the place of origin, the age, gender, and the ship with which he/she sailed. The database is in Microsoft Excel spreadshee

D. Website- The website consists of 8 pages: 1. Ηome, 2. Port Cities - Interactive History, 3. Conferences, 4. Books  5. Database 6. Black Sea project 7. Research team, 8. Bibliography

 In the second page, The Black Sea Port Cities - Interactive history, 1780s-1910s is an interactive history of 24 port-cities (Varna, Burgas, Constantza, Braila, Galatz, Nikolayev, Odessa, Kherson, Eupatoria, Sebastopol, Theodosia, Kerch, Berdyansk, Mariupol, Taganrog, Rostov-on-Don, Novorossiysk, Batoum, Trabzon, Giresun, Samsun, Sinop, Istanbul – and Nezhyn as a "land port") written  by more than 40 historians from Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Turkey Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, specialists of the port-cities. It contains more than 1,500 templates – in a form of encyclopedic entries – of more than 2,500 pages for all port-cities, hundreds of photographs of peoples and places. A large number of the templates are based on primarily archival research and each template contains bibliography and archival sources. The aim of Port Cities - Interactive History is informative, that is, to make various aspects of the historical evolution of the port-cities known to a wider public and bring out the local and national bibliography and archival wealth. The goal is to have all templates in three languages, English, Russian and Greek. For each port-city there are templates in the following five categories: 1. Administration, 2. Urban landscape and Geography, 3. Culture and Community, 4. Economy and Infrastructure, 5. Statistics. 

In the 8th page is the annotated bibliography.


Deliverables are in three languages and are designed to be used by scholars, students and everybody else that is interested. Special care is taken to have various aspects of the research along with the database, statistical series and the website in English to be available to all scholars worldwide. The database with data of all kinds, from demographic data to town planning, business histories, micro- and macro- statistical series, geographical, environmental and port information etc. is available to be used for comparative approaches. Scholars, students and government officials from the area and internationally, will be able to draw information from a very difficult region, data to draw comparisons and put in perspective trends in global economic history, social history, urban and port development and economics, geography, marine environment etc.