from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A thalassocracy (from ancient Greek θάλασσα thálassa "sea" and -kratie ) is a maritime-commercially oriented state or an association of states that has a superiority based on sea ​​power to secure its trade monopoly as well as an efficient economy and merchant fleet. The operational use of naval warfare to achieve naval supremacy requires central control. Thalassocracies were less interested in ruling the interior of the country.


The earliest historical evidence is Herodotus' assertion that Crete under Minos exercised the "thalassocracy" over the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean. Even Thucydides describes a thalassocracy of Minos. A Minoan thalassocracy was derived from this, but this is now doubted by most researchers.

In his work Chronikon, Eusebius of Caesarea names various peoples of the eastern Mediterranean who would have exercised such predominance at one point or another. Both Mycenaean (from about 1450 v. Chr.) And Phoenicians (from about 900 v. Chr.) And Carthaginians (from about 600 v. Chr.), Probably Etruscan built have on naval supremacy oriented trading empires. A thalassocracy of antiquity was Athens during the 1st and 2nd Delian League v from about 480th Chr.

middle Ages

In terms of thalassocracies, the maritime republics of Amalfi , Genoa , Pisa , Venice , Ancona (Italy) and the Republic of Ragusa (Dalmatia) in the Middle Ages, Manuel Portugal and the Union of Hanseatic Cities . In the case of the Vikings, there is no centralized state basis; it is more a question of organized piracy .

In the Southeast Asian region, the Buddhist-influenced Srivijaya (7th to 13th centuries) and the predominantly Hindu Majapahit (13th to 16th centuries) can be described as thalassocracies. Both ruled large parts of the Malay Archipelago and the surrounding sea routes. It is unclear whether they were a single empire or a loose alliance of smaller states (comparable to the Hanseatic League in the North and Baltic Sea region).

Modern times

The British Empire became in the 19th century (from the defeat of Napoleon) the greatest colonial power in history, the main means of power was the control of the sea routes. Its decline began after the First World War . The USA rose to become a world power in the 20th century . In 1914 the US Navy had, among other things, more than 30 battleships and had grown to become the third strongest navy in the world after the British Royal Navy and the German Imperial Navy.

Main articles: History of the United States Navy and United States Military History

When the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor hit hard at first, had the US Navy in World War II relevant in the Pacific share of the defeat of the Japanese Empire, in particular in the fighting

  1. Battle of the Coral Sea ,
  2. Battle for Midway ,
  3. Island hopping (German "island jumping"), especially Saipan , Chuuk and Eniwetok .

Towards the end of World War II, the US Navy was about five times the size of the British Royal Navy (Great Britain). The lead has grown continuously since then.

With 330,478 active soldiers and 108,576 reservists, the US Navy was the strongest and most powerful navy in the world in 2008 and comprised 287 ships and more than 3,700 aircraft and helicopters.

The People's Republic of China has been arming its People's Liberation Army for years . The Navy of the People's Republic of China is a branch of the People's Liberation Army. There are numerous territorial conflicts in the China Sea .

Different word usage

Apart from the aforementioned use of the term was - even in the spelling " Thalattokratie " - the on periods earth's applied for a "predominance of the Sea" was adopted, for the chalk actually, a very high world status of the sea in was.


  • A. Bernard Knapp: Thalassocracies in Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean trade. Making and breaking a myth . In: World Archeology. 24, 1993, H. 3, ISSN  0043-8243 , pp. 332-346.
  • NH Gale (Ed.): Bronze Age Trade in the Mediterranean. Papers presented at the Conference held at Rewley House, Oxford, in December 1989, Paul Åströms Forlag, Göteborg 1991, ISBN 91-7081-003-6 , ( Studies in Mediterranean Archeology 90).
  • Imanuel Geiss : History at hand . With the collaboration of Gabriele Intermann, Michael Sommer. 6 volumes. 3. Edition., Gütersloh et al. 2002, ISBN 3-577-14610-9 .
  • Robin Hägg, Nanno Marinatos (Ed.): The Minoan Thalassocracy. Myth and Reality . Proceedings of the Third international Symposium at the Swedish Institute in Athens, May 31 - June 5, 1982. Svenska Institutet i Athens, Stockholm 1984, ISBN 91-85086-78-9 . ( Skrifter utgivna av Svenska Institutet i Athens Ser. In 4 °: 32)
  • Hans Kopp: Thalassocracy. On the historical semantics and history of the impact of an auxiliary term. In: Ernst Baltrusch , Hans Kopp, Christian Wendt (eds.): Seemacht, Seeherrschaft und die Antike (= Historia individual writings. Volume 244). Franz Steiner, Stuttgart 2016, ISBN 978-3-515-11431-8 , pp. 27-45.
  • Halford Mackinder : Democratic Ideals and Reality . Norton, New York NY 1962, OCLC 394543 .
  • Alfred Thayer Mahan : The influence of sea power on history 1660–1812 . Published by Gustav A. Wolter. Koehler, Herford 1967, DNB 457486376 .
  • Elmar B. Potter, Chester W. Nimitz : Sea power. A history of naval warfare from antiquity to the present . Bernard & Graefe, Munich 1974, ISBN 3-7637-5112-2 .
  • PW Waider: On the Egyptian-Aegean trade relations between c. 1370 and 1200 BC Commercial goods and trade routes . In: Munster contributions to ancient trading history. 8, 1989, ISSN  0722-4532 , pp. 1-28.
  • M. Weiner: The Isles of Crete? The Minoan thalassocracy revisited . In: DA Hardy, C. Doumas , JA Sakellarakis, PM Warren (Eds.): Thera and the Aegean World III . Proceedings of the Third International Congress of Thera and the Aegean World on Santorini, Greece, September 3-9, 1989. Volume 1: Archeology . Thera Foundation, London 1990, ISBN 0-9506133-4-7 , pp. 128-161.

Individual evidence

  1. cf. Herodotus, Histories 1,171; Herodotus 3,122
  2. cf. Thucydides 1,4,1
  3. ^ A b A. Bernard Knapp: Thalassocracies in Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean Trade. Making and breaking a myth. In: World Archeology. 24/3, 1993, p. 332.
  4. according to August Strobel : The Late Bronze Age Sea Peoples Storm. Berlin, New York 1976, p. 117 around 1250 BC BC Minos; after the fall of Troy about 1182 BC Chr .; Lyder 1175 BC BC, Pelasger 1057 BC BC (967 BC; 963 BC), Thracian 1006 BC BC, Rhodians 916 BC Chr. Etc.
  5. ^ Donald B. Freeman: Straits of Malacca. Gateway or Gauntlet? McGill-Queen's University Press, 2003, pp. 82-83.
  6. Hermann Kulke : Srivijaja - A Great Empire or the Hanseatic League of the East? In: Stephan Conermann (ed.): The Indian Ocean in historical perspective. EB-Verlag, Hamburg 1998 (= Asia and Africa 1), pp. 57-89, ISBN 3-930826-44-5 .
  7. Source: Status of the Navy on the US Navy website . Status: September 3, 2008, viewed on October 2, 2008.
  8. Nele Noesselt: Alternative models of world order? VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2010, ISBN 978-3-531-17328-3 . (online at: )
  9. see also: Stronger Chinese Navy Worries Neighbors and US. on: , September 14, 2012.
  10. ^ Hans Murawski, Wilhelm Meyer: Geological dictionary . 11th edition. Elsevier / Spektrum, Heidelberg 2004, ISBN 3-8274-1445-8 , pp. 223 .