Postal History of the Italian Mail Steamers in the Mediterranean – 1840 – 1850 – Vol. II

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Postal History of the Italian Mail Steamers in the Mediterranean – 1840 – 1850 – Vol. II ***************** :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Storia della Navigazione a Vapore e dei Servizi Postali sul Mediterraneo, Vol. II — 1840- by Alessandro Arseni. Published 2016. Perfect bound 8 1/2” x 11 3/4”, card cover, 192 pages, in Italian; colour and black and white illustrations, maps and charts throughout. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> POSTAGE FOR BUYERS IN COUNTRIES OTHER THAN USA IS AS FOLLOWS: WHEN YOU RECEIVE THE INVOICE FOR YOUR PURCHASE THERE WILL BE $10 CHARGE FOR POSTAGE TO USA – FOR OTHER DESTINATIONS THE FOLLOWING COSTS MUST BE ADDED TO THE $10 INITIALLY CHARGED: TO CANADA & EUROPE $15 (+$10 of course) — TO CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA $25 (+10 of course) — TO THE REST OF THE WORLD $30 (+$10 of course) ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

In the first volume of this series, the author stressed that 1839 was a turning point in the history of Italian Mail Steamers. The importance of their service increased exponentially during the 1840s and 1850s, and French, British and Austrian competitors prompted the Italian operators to offer a reliable, flexible and timely conveyance of mail and passengers. These were the years when the world was rapidly getting smaller and the Mediterranean even more so.
The second volume of this impressive series on the history and postal history of the Italian Steam Packets operating in the Mediterranean deals with the history of steamships of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and of the Grand-Duchy of Tuscany during the decade from 1840 to 1850. Their role in the conveyance of mails of various States to destinations in the Mediterranean, including the islands of Corsica, Malta and Sicily is the focus of the volume.
During these years the steamship fleet of King Ferdinand II was enlarged, and privately owned steam navigation companies also strengthened their presence and capabilities. This scenario offered more reliability, choice and flexibility for the prompt conveyance of an increasing volume of mail that could be expedited like never before, thanks to the absence of many of the obstacles, borders and complexities typical of overland routes. Amongst other things we learn too of the growth and demise of Tuscan steamship navigation, as well as the story of the Valery Bros. Steam Packet Company which monopolized the sea route between Bastia and Livorno.
The era of uprisings era spanning the years 1848 and 1849 has been painstakingly examined by Arseni, thus providing reliable and detailed information about the steam packets utilized to convey mail between Naples and Sicily during the months of the Sicilian insurgency. There are many echoes of economic and political history in this book; one shining example is the Livorno-built steamship Il Lombardo which in 1860 transported many of Garibaldi’s “Thousand” to Sicily for the epic liberation of the South. The steamer ran aground at Marsala where it was welcomed by the cannon ballsof King Bomba’s army: the rest is history.
Arseni’s work relies on extensive research carried out on 21,500 letters, and includes 600 footnotes, plus a most impressive picture gallery of 85 scholarly described letters, as well as fundamental documentation such as Treaties, Postal Conventions, and Decrees that had a direct impact on the postal activities of steam packets. This unprecedented wealth of information benefits from hitherto unpublished documents and research; Volume II is definitely a substantial contribution to the history and postal history of Italian Steam Packet Mail in the Mediterranean. Both the specialist and the general collector of maritime mail will greatly profit from Arseni’s books.

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