The shipowner and politician William Schaw Lindsay (1816-77) combined a wealth of personal experience with a meticulous approach to research. Originally published in 1874-6, this is his authoritative four-volume history of the world of ships and maritime trade. Its coverage ranges from the legend of Noah's Ark, through ancient commerce and the colonising expeditions of the middle ages, to the progress brought about by the introduction of steam to the shipping of Lindsay's own day. Details on construction and performance sit alongside explanations of the customs and superstitions of seamen, complemented by full accounts of many important nautical events. Volume 1 encompasses shipping in the ancient world, the foundation of a royal and commercial navy in England, and tales of the Norman invasion and the Crusades to the Holy Land, ending with Christopher Columbus' voyages of discovery. Evident throughout the work are Lindsay's practical knowledge and enthusiasm for his subject.