Seas and Waterways of the World
An Encyclopedia of History, Uses, and Issues
by John Zumerchik and Steven L. Danver, Editors
November 2009, 731pp, 7x10
2 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-85109-711-1
$182, £135, 152€, A260
eBook Available: 978-1-85109-716-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Today, our use of the Earth’s seas and waterways is more widespread and efficient than ever, yet the basic technology has changed little over time. Many types of equipment still in use would be recognized by ancient seamen. Even though water is no longer the quickest and easiest way to move people and goods, it is still an essential component to all life.

This is the first comprehensive encyclopedia on the history of the vast and varied ways human beings have used the world's waterways for business, protection, and recreation.

Seas and Waterways of the World: An Encyclopedia of History, Uses, and Issues offers a comprehensive introduction to humanity’s historical reliance on the world’s seas and waterways and how that reliance continues to evolve.

Over the course of two volumes, this extraordinary resource describes the world’s major nautical features, the wide variety of uses for those waterways, and a number of essential issues arising from water-borne commerce. The encyclopedia marks the emergence of the aquarium, cruise, energy, fishing, insurance, mining, trade, transportation, recreation, and sport industries, and includes entries on harbors, ports, and coastal development that play a part in the economics of commercial water use. Also included is coverage of a number of significant themes such as the rise and fall of the Erie Canal as the gateway to the Midwest, and the declining popularity of the Panama Canal.


  • 134 entries, organized alphabetically within 3 sections
  • Approximately 50 contributors—experts in the study and practice of water-based commerce
  • A chronology of important events in nautical history
  • A rich selection of photographs, illustrations, and maps
John Zumerchik is director of planning for Mi-Jack Products, Inc., Hazel Crest, IL. His published works include Macmillan Encyclopedia of Energy and Encyclopedia of Sports Science.

Steven L. Danver, PhD, is instructor in history at National University, La Jolla, CA, and managing editor of Journal of the West. He is cofounder of Mesa Verde Publishing.


"Written at the level of high school and up, this two-volume reference offers an introduction to the use of the world's seas and waterways in history and during modern times, emphasizing the importance of seas and waterways to civilization. The reference's 134 entries are grouped in three sections. The section on the history of the world's seas and waterways contains entries on specific bodies of water around the world. The section on uses of the world's seas and waterways describes areas such as agriculture, coastal tourism, diving, oil and natural gas, sailing, surfing, passenger shipping, wave energy, and wind energy. The last section looks at issues pertaining to seas and waterways, such as cartography, dredging, lighthouses, laws and treaties, port operations, research vessels, and trade and transportation. Many entries contain b&w photos and maps. A chronology and a glossary are included."—Reference & Research Book News, February 1, 2010

"Well written . . . this set provides a good overview of the importance of the world’s waterways in shaping history up to the present day . . . a worthwhile addition to academic and large public libraries given the unique nature of the topics covered."—Booklist, April 1, 2010

"Recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates and general readers."—Choice, May 1, 2010

"[P]erfect for college-level nautical history libraries."—Midwest Book Review, June 1, 2010

"[T]he general reader will find this book a useful introduction to a wide variety of subjects and the bibliographies provide guidance on where to undertake further research."—International Journal of Maritime History, June 1, 2010

"This encyclopedia does contain a great deal of useful information on many important subjects."—Reference Reviews, September 1, 2010

"[T]his is a rather unique reference source . . . Recommended for high school, public, and college and university libraries."—Reference & User Services Quarterly, September 1, 2010
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