This study offers an exploration of the role of merchants throughout maritime history through the analysis of maritime trade networks. It attempts to fill in the gaps in the historiography to determine the range of activities that maritime merchants undertook. It is comprised of nine chapters: one introductory, and eight exploring aspects of merchant history across Europe during the period 1640 to 1940. Several major themes recur throughout these studies: the necessity of port networks; the extension of trade networks through merchant migration and in-migration; the assimilation of merchants into port communities; and the impact of urban governance and trade associations on merchant activity. It concludes by claiming merchants across Europe had a more common with one another when approaching risk management than has previously been assumed, and that the at the core of the merchant’s risk management strategy the question of who they could trust with their trade is a universally unifying factor. It suggests that further research on the demographics of ports is the necessary next step in merchant historiography.