Dynasties of the Sea is the first book to examine one of the most powerful forces in global trade and economic development: world shipping and the magnates who drive the industry. Operating from Monaco to Hong Kong, London to Athens, Singapore to Oslo, shipowners and their financiers have changed the world in every way. From transporting agricultural products from Brazil to Africa and the Middle East, to delivering Australian iron ore to China, to carrying Middle East crude oil to Asia and the Americas, to carrying almost every article of clothing you are wearing and every electronic device in the world, ship-owners have enabled global economic development and helped raise the global standard of living. While ocean shipping remains one of the most important businesses in the world, it is also one of the most volatile. Affected by such imponderables as weather and political upheaval, ship-owning cultures have maintained their commitment to an industry that has endured for centuries - and will continue to endure for centuries to come.