The Baltic and North Seas are great seafaring regions with rich and varied histories, intricately linked by maritime trade for centuries. Drawing on the enormous variety of maritime experience in the region, this book challenges the assertion that therewas a common maritime culture on the shores of these northern seas. In a region suffering tortuous extremes of climate, the rich and varied history is a consequence of the enormous adaptability of its peoples. Commencing with the end of the Ice Age, The Baltic and North Seas includes coverage of the power struggles of the region from the early traders and raiders, through the merchants, princes and pirates of the Middle Ages to the era of Great Power politics; trade and fishing; ships and shipbuilding; the art of navigation; maritime women and gender roles; and the power of seas and land reclamation. Here is the first comprehensive history of the mysterious northern seas.