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In Greece, a small peripheral European economy, the service sector and shipping in particular played a highly important role in nineteenth-century economic development. Despite its importance, however, the difficulty of calculating the ‘invisible earnings’ from the shipping industry’s engagement in international activities has led to its underestimation in most analyses of the country’s economic growth. This article presents the first estimation of Greek shipping income in the nineteenth century. In addition, it examines the shipping industry within the context of Greek development as a whole, highlighting its significant role in the fully marketized and integrated area of the country’s economy in the context of a wider world economy.