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Istituto per i Beni Culturali Emilia-Romagna

Memoria e Ricerca

The Port of Marseille in the 19 th and 20 th Centuries. Rise and Fall of a Pattern of Development

di Samuel Fettah
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 11 (2002), p. 63

The 19 th century represented the ‘golden age’ of the port of Marseille, that expanded its range of action from the Mediterranean Sea to the Oceans thus becoming one of the highest ranking harbours of the world. Over that time span Marseille developed a very successful economic system, whose peak was attained on the eve of World War I, based on seaborne trade and port-related industrial activities, stimulated by the presence of a dynamic entrepreneurial and merchant class This article deeply reviews the distinctive features of the city’s pattern of development, with specific reference to the economic behaviour of its business community; to the upgrading of the port’s commercial facilities and to the functional and spatial relationship between the port and the urban context. The 20 th century marked the decline of the port system of Marseille: after the severe recession occurred in the 1970 s, large-scale projects for redefining its economic prospects became necessary.