It should be noted that the Mediterranean was once much, much larger: Known as the Tethys Ocean, it separated large chunks of Asia and Europe (usually submerged at the time) from Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. In a process taking hundreds of millions of years, the gap began to close and the Mediterranean Sea was formed. Plate tectonics and the formation of new climate zones will also destroy the sea eventually, but it’s a long time away.
Not too long ago, the Mediterranean was an essential means of trading between nations, with the Strait of Gibraltar providing a route to the rest of the world. In the Renaissance world, maritime kingdoms that thrived on trade sprang up on the Italian Peninsula, such as Florence, Venice, Genoa, Pisa, Ragusa and Amalfi. The Mediterranean became even more important when the Suez Canal was built in the 19th Century, allowing the various European powers a quicker route to East African and Asian colonies.
An entire war, the Suez Crisis, started when Egypt nationalised the canal in a diplomatic standoff between Great Britain and France, the most powerful colonial empires of the time, as well as Israel. Since then, the Canal has been largely peaceful, but as trade traveling through the Mediterranean is decreasing over time, many are wondering what will happen to the Mediterranean in a hundred, or even 50 years, especially the ecological impact of centuries of global warming and pollution.
Species replacement and extinction, rapid changes in population numbers, such as an explosion of jellyfish numbers, changes in water current patterns, acidification, human-made pollutants and hazards such as plastic objects, aluminium cans, oil spills and illegal waste dumps are all threatening the future prosperity of many people and animals that rely on the Mediterranean for their livelihoods. Taking rapid, drastic action on these factors may be able to save us from the worst effects, but progress isn’t being made fast enough and the Mediterranean may no long be the azure paradise it is today.
If you’re looking for a yacht charter based in the South of France with access to ports around the western Caribbean and the Mediterranean, You Charter Direct provides several cruising locations in the Mediterranean and Caribbean so you can see some of these regions for yourself.