Further, faster and cheaper. Steamships changed the traditional seafaring routes and colonies across the high seas were made possible.
During the 19th century seafaring was crucial for communication. When the steam engine was applied to sea transport, steamships gradually replaced sailing ships and the ports became key hubs for commerce and travel between the European and Arab and Ottoman shores. Seafaring in general demanded scientific and technical skills and knowledge including navigating with the help of maps and compasses; steamship handling required specialised technical knowledge in the fields of communication and mechanical engineering. Political, economic and social factors marked the modernisation of seafaring. A modern port, a steamship or a modern fleet represented the competition between different powers for control of sea routes. Under colonialism seafaring was tailored to the needs of the motherland.