Honor and the British Navy

An excellent glimpse in the hallowed tradition of the British Navy.

[quote]Honor and the British Navy
by Victor Davis Hanson, Los Angeles Times

The British Seaborne Empire by Jeremy Black (Yale University Press: 420 pp.)

To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World by Arthur Herman (HarperCollins: 648 pp.)

At first glance, the British maritime empire made little sense. Unlike Spain or France, England had no Mediterranean ports and was without a venerable seafaring heritage of the old galley states. It was distant from the ancestral Roman locus of power, and its population was religiously divided, torn by ethnic strife, smaller than France’s and without the natural resources of larger European continental states. Indeed, there was not much of any British naval history before the 15th century. Far earlier, Viking longboats had freely raided the English coast and gone on to discover the New World; Portuguese and Spanish, not British, galleons would first chart the sea routes to Asia and the Americas.

Yet by the late 16th century, England had launched the most technologically advanced, nautically skilled and professionally led fleet in the world. And by 1630 no combination of French or Spanish ships could stop its 100-ship mastery of the seas, which by the mid-18th century had resulted in a worldwide empire protected by 300 capital ships. How did it all come to pass, and what effect did the nearly 500-year reign of British naval mastery have on the world at large?"i[/i]