Cristian Constantin’s study, O istorie a companiilor de navigaţie străine de la Dunărea de Jos (A History of Foreign Shipping Companies on the Lower Danube), is not only a history of foreign shipping companies active on the Lower Danube; it is also an affirmation of the significance of the expansion of Romania’s overseas trade during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Political conditions were favorable as a result of the ending of the Ottoman trading monopoly (1829), and the recognition of Romania’s independence (1878), while the country’s ability to supply large quantities of cereals, oil, and timber in return for advanced technology created a powerful economic basis for close commercial ties with the powers of Central and Western Europe. The growth of overseas trade led to radical changes in Romania’s economic geography because a much greater value was now placed on access to the Lower Danube and the agricultural...

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