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The Lemsteraak and the Freedom of the Seas.

by Han
(Brittany, France.)



The title-picture of my blog and the picture above show a Lemsteraak; one of the figureheads of the great number of Dutch round-bottom seaworthy fishermen. On top of that it was, till 1914, an often-seen ship on the Thames, because it traded Dutch eel to the Londoners from her priviliged berth next to London Bridge. The eel came from Heeg, a small Frisian village.

Because this is, for the time being, my last article in the series on the History of Sailing I'm making one exception on my rule never to name names, because it's a jurist's name: Hugo de Groot, or in latin Hugo Grotius, who wrote the Freedom of the Seas (Mare Liberum) in the early 17th. century. It is a treatise laying the foundation under international law regarding free trade at sea. Thanks to the author no nation can claim any monopoly on whatever part of the sea, apart from it's coastal waters; and so can we, free sailors, sail everywhere we want to.


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