Constantin Ardeleanu, Fishing in Politically Troubled Waters: the Fishermen of Vylkove, Romanian Nation-Making and an International Organization in the Danube Delta in late 1850s and early 1860s

TOME LV 2017
p. 325-338
Online publication date: 
Danube Delta, Vylkove, fishermen, border studies, international organizations

Based on various archival sources, this paper looks at how the production of borders and its negative effects on the fishermen community of Vylkove (Vâlcov) were instrumentalized by different agents interested in strengthening their position in the Danube Delta in the post-Crimean War context. Following the Paris Peace Treaty (30 March 1856) and an additional agreement in 1857, borders changed in the area of the Maritime Danube, and the burgh of Vylkove became part of Moldavia. It was thus doubly disconnected from its fishing grounds (taken over by the Ottomans), and from its main markets – Bessarabia and the Ukrainian provinces of the Russian Empire. As the economic condition of the community worsened, the Moldavian authorities tried to support its new subjects and turned their situation into a question of Prince Cuza’s relations with the Sublime Porte. The European Powers accepted to analyze these issues in the European Commission of the Danube, an international organization that aimed to clarify its own attributions in the Lower Danubian area.