Rebuilding the Maritime Culture of the Islands of Macaronesia: The Mythical and Historical Perception of Island Societies

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While traditional historiography does establish that history cannot bypass islands, these spaces have in fact been regarded as anecdotes amidst the great historical processes and it has hardly been reflected upon the origin of its maritime culture. This research paper addresses a supranational territory, Macaronesia, and questions the origin of its island identity in order to understand what these islanders' perception of their plural maritime culture has been and how this identity was formed through myths and stories.

Methodologically, this research draws from a critique of transatlantic historiographic approaches while systematizing the main contributions of island historians. The study is underpinned by the analysis of accounts wherein chroniclers and historians allude to the origin of Macaronesic identity and culture. The islands are tackled on their own terms and the sociocultural perspective is emphasized with the aim of applying the fundamentals of nesology to historical knowledge. This research addresses the history, myth and historicality of the myth in order to understand the foundation of a contemporary aquapelagic and transnational society, whose early beginnings were marked by the complementarity between islands and the ability to transfer cultural traces between borders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-48
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Marine and Island Cultures
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Maritime Culture
  • mythical perception
  • historical consciousness
  • conceptualisation of space
  • island societies


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