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Mediterranean historical migrations

Migration A–Z


  1. Julia Clancy-Smith

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm356

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Clancy-Smith, J. 2013. Mediterranean historical migrations. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


Population movements constitute the bedrock of deep Mediterranean history and have assumed a wide range of guises: epic wanderings, pilgrimage, pastoral nomadism, transhumance, voluntary relocation, forced expatriation, trade diaspora, travel, tourism, and labor movements of many kinds, notably slavery. In taxonomies of motion, the critical elements are the relative presence or absence of force, the motivations and objectives of those favoring departure over staying put, the duration and patterns of expatriation, and whether the place of exile became over time a space of belonging. To these considerations must be added variables, such as gender, age and generation, social class, family structure, religion, and race, that determined how individuals or groups perceived their subjective situation and embraced the idea of temporary or permanent expatriation, however alluring or frightening. Of course, until (and even after) 19th-century abolition in Europe and the Ottoman empire, countless people crossed the sea against their own will. These diverse manifestations of trans- Mediterranean mobilities were not necessarily distinct; yet no matter how or why they departed, the people in motion brought wide-ranging social changes to new lands or host societies as well as to those left behind (Gabaccia 2000; Hoerder 2002; Abulafia 2003).


  • archaeology;
  • empire;
  • colonialism;
  • war;
  • cultural diversity;
  • cross-cultural;
  • rights