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Maritime history is the study of human activity at sea. It covers a broad thematic element of history that often uses a global approach, although national and regional histories remain predominant. As an academic subject, it often crosses the boundaries of standard disciplines, focusing on understanding humankind's various relationships to the oceans, seas, and major waterways of the globe. Nautical history records and interprets past events involving ships, shipping, navigation, and seafarers. Maritime history is the broad overarching subject that includes fishing, whaling, international maritime law, naval history, the history of ships, ship design, shipbuilding, the history of navigation, the history of the various maritime-related sciences (oceanography, cartography, hydrography, etc.), sea exploration, maritime economics and trade, shipping, yachting, seaside resorts, the history of lighthouses and aids to navigation, maritime themes in literature, maritime themes in art, the social history of sailors and passengers and sea-related communities.
Many historians in many lands have published monographs, popular and scholarly articles, and collections of archival resources. A leading journal is International Journal of Maritime History, a fully refereed scholarly journal published twice a year by the International Maritime Economic History Association. Based in Canada with an international editorial board, it explores the maritime dimensions of economic, social, cultural, and environmental history. For a broad overview, see the four-volume encyclopedia edited by John B. Hattendorf, Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History (Oxford, 2007). It contains over 900 articles by 400 scholars and runs 2900 pages. Other major reference resources are Spencer Tucker, ed., Naval Warfare: An International Encyclopedia (3 vol. ABC-CLIO, 2002) with 1500 articles in 1231, pages, and I. C. B. Dear and Peter Kemp, eds., Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea (2nd ed. 2005) with 2600 articles in 688 pages.
Typically, studies of merchant shipping and of defensive navies are seen as separate fields. Similarly studies of inland waterways are seldom included within 'maritime history.'
A dominant approach to maritime history writing has been nicknamed 'rivet counting' because of a focus on the minutiae of the vessel. But revisionist scholars are creating new turns in the study of maritime history. This includes a post-1980s turn towards the study of human users of ships (which involves sociology, cultural geography, gender studies and narrative studies); and post-2000 turn towards seeing sea travel as part of the wider history of transport and mobilities. This move is sometimes associated with Marcus Rediker and Black Atlantic studies, but most recently has emerged from the International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobilities (T2M)
See also 
- American Neptune, a scholarly journal
- Atlantic history, historiography of the Atlantic region
- Frank C. Munson Institute of American Maritime History
- International Commission for Maritime History
- North American Society for Oceanic History
Ancient times 
Throughout history sailing has been instrumental in the development of civilization, affording humanity greater mobility than travel over land, whether for trade, transport or warfare, and the capacity for fishing. The earliest representation of a ship under sail appears on a painted disc found in Kuwait dating to the late 5th millennium BC.
In ancient maritime history, the first boats are presumed to have been dugout canoes, developed independently by various stone age populations, and used for coastal fishing and travel. The Indigenous of the Pacific Northwest are very skilled at crafting wood. Best known for totem poles up to 80 feet (24 m) tall, they also construct dugout canoes over 60 feet (18 m) long for everyday use and ceremonial purposes.
The earliest seaworthy boats may have been developed as early as 45,000 years ago, according to one hypothesis explaining the habitation of Australia.
The earliest known reference to an organization devoted to ships in ancient India is to the Mauryan Empire from the 4th century BC. It is believed that the navigation as a science originated on the river Indus some 5000 years ago.
The Ancient Egyptians had knowledge of sail construction. This is governed by the science of aerodynamics. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, Necho II sent out an expedition of Phoenicians, which in three years sailed from the Red Sea around Africa to the mouth of the Nile. Some current historians believe Herodotus on this point, even though Herodotus himself was in disbelief that the Phoenicians had accomplished the act.
Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact is the hypothesised interactions between the Native populations of the Americas and peoples of other continents before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492. Many such events have been proposed at various times, based on historical reports, archaeological finds, and cultural comparisons.
In early modern India and Arabia the lateen-sail ship known as the dhow was used on the waters of the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Persian Gulf. There were also Southeast Asian Seafarers and Polynesians, and the Northern European Vikings, developed oceangoing vessels and depended heavily upon them for travel and population movements prior to 1000 AD. China's ships in the medieval period were particularly massive; multi-mast sailing junks were carrying over 200 people as early as 200 AD. The Astrolabe was the chief tool of Celestial navigation in early maritime history. It was invented in ancient Greece and developed by Islamic astronomers. In ancient China, the engineer Ma Jun (c. 200-265 AD) invented the South Pointing Chariot, a wheeled device employing a differential gear that allowed a fixed figurine to always point in the southern cardinal direction.
The magnetic needle compass for navigation was not written of until the Dream Pool Essays of 1088 AD by the author Shen Kuo (1031–1095), who was also the first to discover the concept of true north (to discern against a compass' magnetic declination towards the North Pole). By at least 1117 AD, the Chinese used a magnetic needle that was submersed in a bowl of water, and would point in the southern cardinal direction. The first use of a magnetized needle for seafaring navigation in Europe was written of by Alexander Neckham, circa 1190 AD. Around 1300 AD, the pivot-needle dry-box compass was invented in Europe, its cardinal direction pointed north, similar to the modern-day mariners compass. There was also the addition of the compass-card in Europe, which was later adopted by the Chinese through contact with Japanese pirates in the 16th century.
Ships and vessels 
Various ships were in use during the Middle Ages. The longship was a type of ship that was developed over a period of centuries and perfected by its most famous user, the Vikings, in approximately the 9th century. The ships were clinker-built, utilizing overlapping wooden strakes. The knaar, a relative of the longship, was a type of cargo vessel. It differed from the longship in that it was larger and relied solely on its square rigged sail for propulsion. The cog was a design which is believed to have evolved from (or at least been influenced by) the longship, and was in wide use by the 12th century. It too used the clinker method of construction. The caravel was a ship invented in Islamic Iberia and used in the Mediterranean from the 13th century. Unlike the longship and cog, it used a carvel method of construction. It could be either square rigged (Caravela Redonda) or lateen rigged (Caravela Latina). The carrack was another type of ship invented in the Mediterranean in the 15th century. It was a larger vessel than the caravel. Columbus’s ship, the Santa María was a famous example of a carrack.
Arab age of discovery 
The Arab Empire maintained and expanded a wide trade network across parts of Asia, Africa and Europe. This helped establish the Arab Empire (including the Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid and Fatimid caliphates) as the world's leading extensive economic power throughout the 7th-13th centuries.
Apart from the Nile, Tigris and Euphrates, navigable rivers in the Islamic regions were uncommon, so transport by sea was very important. Islamic geography and navigational sciences were highly developed, making use of a magnetic compass and a rudimentary instrument known as a kamal, used for celestial navigation and for measuring the altitudes and latitudes of the stars. When combined with detailed maps of the period, sailors were able to sail across oceans rather than skirt along the coast. According to the political scientist Hobson, the origins of the caravel ship, used for long-distance travel by the Spanish and Portuguese since the 15th century, date back to the qarib used by Andalusian explorers by the 13th century.
Hanseatic League 
The Hanseatic League was an alliance of trading guilds that established and maintained a trade monopoly over the Baltic Sea, to a certain extent the North Sea, and most of Northern Europe for a time in the Late Middle Ages and the early modern period, between the 13th and 17th centuries. Historians generally trace the origins of the League to the foundation of the Northern German town of Lübeck, established in 1158/1159 after the capture of the area from the Count of Schauenburg and Holstein by Henry the Lion, the Duke of Saxony. Exploratory trading adventures, raids and piracy had occurred earlier throughout the Baltic (see Vikings) — the sailors of Gotland sailed up rivers as far away as Novgorod, for example — but the scale of international economy in the Baltic area remained insignificant before the growth of the Hanseatic League. German cities achieved domination of trade in the Baltic with striking speed over the next century, and Lübeck became a central node in all the seaborne trade that linked the areas around the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.
The 15th century saw the climax of Lübeck's hegemony. (Visby, one of the midwives of the Hanseatic league in 1358, declined to become a member. Visby dominated trade in the Baltic before the Hanseatic league, and with its monopolistic ideology, suppressed the Gotlandic free-trade competition.) By the late 16th century, the League imploded and could no longer deal with its own internal struggles, the social and political changes that accompanied the Reformation, the rise of Dutch and English merchants, and the incursion of the Ottoman Turks upon its trade routes and upon the Holy Roman Empire itself. Only nine members attended the last formal meeting in 1669 and only three (Lübeck, Hamburg and Bremen) remained as members until its final demise in 1862.
Somali maritime enterprise 
During the Age of the Ajuuraan, the Somali sultanates and republics of Merca, Mogadishu, Barawa, Hobyo and their respective ports flourished. They had a lucrative foreign commerce with ships sailing to and coming from Arabia, India, Venetia, Persia, Egypt, Portugal and as far away as China. In the 16th century, Duarte Barbosa noted that many ships from the Kingdom of Cambaya in what is modern-day India sailed to Mogadishu with cloths and spices, for which they in return received gold, wax and ivory. Barbosa also highlighted the abundance of meat, wheat, barley, horses, and fruit on the coastal markets, which generated enormous wealth for the merchants.
In the early modern period, successor states of the Adal and Ajuuraan empires began to flourish in Somalia who continued the seaborne trade established by previous Somali empires. The rise of the 19th century Gobroon Dynasty in particular saw a rebirth in Somali maritime enterprise. During this period, the Somali agricultural output to Arabian markets was so great that the coast of Somalia came to be known as the Grain Coast of Yemen and Oman.
Age of Discovery 
The Age of Discovery was a period from the early 15th century and continuing into the early 17th century, during which European ships traveled around the world to search for new trading routes and partners to feed burgeoning capitalism in Europe. Historians often refer to the 'Age of Discovery' as the pioneer Portuguese and later Spanish long-distance maritime travels in search of alternative trade routes to "the East Indies", moved by the trade of gold, silver and spices. In the process, Europeans encountered peoples and mapped lands previously unknown to them.
Christopher Columbus was a navigator and maritime explorer who is one of several historical figures credited as the discoverer of the Americas. It is generally believed that he was born in Genoa, although other theories and possibilities exist. Columbus' voyages across the Atlantic Ocean began a European effort at exploration and colonization of the Western Hemisphere. While history places great significance on his first voyage of 1492, he did not actually reach the mainland until his third voyage in 1498. Likewise, he was not the earliest European explorer to reach the Americas, as there are accounts of European transatlantic contact prior to 1492. Nevertheless, Columbus's voyage came at a critical time of growing national imperialism and economic competition between developing nation states seeking wealth from the establishment of trade routes and colonies. Therefore, the period before 1492 is known as Pre-Columbian.
John Cabot was a Genoese navigator and explorer commonly credited as one of the first early modern Europeans to land on the North American mainland aboard the Matthew in 1497. Sebastian Cabot was an Italian explorer and may have sailed with his father John Cabot in May 1497. John Cabot and perhaps Sebastian, sailing from Bristol, took their small fleet along the coasts of a "New Found Land". There is much controversy over where exactly Cabot landed, but two likely locations that are often suggested are Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Cabot and his crew (including perhaps Sebastian) mistook this place for China, without finding the passage to the east they were looking for. Some scholars maintain that the name America comes from Richard Amerik, a Bristol merchant and customs officer, who is claimed on very slender evidence to have helped finance the Cabot voyages.
Jacques Cartier was a French navigator who first explored and described the Gulf of St-Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, which he named Canada. Juan Fernández was a Spanish explorer and navigator. Probably between 1563 and 1574 he discovered the Juan Fernández Islands west of Valparaíso, Chile. He also discovered the Pacific islands of San Félix and San Ambrosio (1574). Among the other famous explorers of the period were Vasco da Gama, Pedro Álvares Cabral, Yermak, Juan Ponce de León, Francisco Coronado, Juan Sebastián Elcano, Bartolomeu Dias, Ferdinand Magellan, Willem Barentsz, Abel Tasman, Jean Alfonse, Samuel de Champlain, Willem Jansz, Captain James Cook, Henry Hudson, and Giovanni da Verrazzano.
Peter Martyr d'Anghiera was an Italian-born historian of Spain and of the discoveries of her representatives during the Age of Exploration. He wrote the first accounts of explorations in Central and South America in a series of letters and reports, grouped in the original Latin publications of 1511-1530 into sets of ten chapters called "decades." His Decades are thus of great value in the history of geography and discovery. His De Orbe Novo (published 1530; "On the New World") describes the first contacts of Europeans and native Americans and contains, for example, the first European reference to India rubber.
Richard Hakluyt was an English writer, and is principally remembered for his efforts in promoting and supporting the settlement of North America by the English through his works, notably Divers Voyages Touching the Discoverie of America (1582) and The Principal Navigations, Voiages, Traffiques and Discoueries of the English Nation (1598–1600).
European expansion 
Although Europe is the world's second-smallest continent in terms of area, it has a very long coastline, and has arguably been influenced more by its maritime history than any other continent. Europe is uniquely situated between several navigable seas and intersected by navigable rivers running into them in a way which greatly facilitated the influence of maritime traffic and commerce.
When the carrack and then the caravel were developed by Portuguese that European thoughts returned to the fabled East. These explorations have a number of causes. Monetarists believe the main reason the Age of Exploration began was because of a severe shortage of bullion in Europe. The European economy was dependent on gold and silver currency, but low domestic supplies had plunged much of Europe into a recession. Another factor was the centuries long conflict between the Iberians and the Muslims to the south. The eastern trade routes were controlled by the Ottoman Empire after the Turks took control of Constantinople in 1453, and they barred Europeans from those trade routes. The ability to outflank the Muslim states of North Africa was seen as crucial to their survival. At the same time, the Iberians learnt much from their Arab neighbours. The carrack and caravel both incorporated the Mediterranean lateen sail that made ships far more manoeuvrable. It was also through the Arabs that Ancient Greek geography was rediscovered, for the first time giving European sailors some idea of the shape of Africa and Asia.
European colonization 
In 1492, Christopher Columbus reached the Americas, after which European exploration and colonization rapidly expanding. The post-1492 era is known as the Columbian Exchange period. The first conquests were made by the Spanish, who quickly conquered most of South and Central America and large parts of North America. The Portuguese took Brazil. The British, French and Dutch conquered islands in the Caribbean Sea, many of which had already been conquered by the Spanish or depopulated by disease. Early European colonies in North America included Spanish Florida, the British settlements in Virginia and New England, French settlements in Quebec and Louisiana, and Dutch settlements in New Netherlands. Denmark-Norway revived its former colonies in Greenland from the 18th until the 20th century, and also colonised a few of the Virgin Islands.
From its very outset, Western colonialism was operated as a joint public-private venture. Columbus' voyages to the Americas were partially funded by Italian investors, but whereas the Spanish state maintained a tight reign on trade with its colonies (by law, the colonies could only trade with one designated port in the mother country and treasure was brought back in special convoys), the English, French and Dutch granted what were effectively trade monopolies to joint-stock companies such as the East India Companies and the Hudson's Bay Company.
In the exploration of Africa, there was the proliferation of conflicting European claims to African territory. By the 15th century, Europeans explored the African coast in search of a water route to India. These expeditions were mostly conducted by the Portuguese, who had been given papal authority to exploit all non-Christian lands of the Eastern Hemisphere. The Europeans set up coastal colonies to prosecute the slave trade, but the interior of the continent remained unexplored until the 19th century. This was a cumulative period that resulted in European colonial rule in Africa and altered the future of the African continent.
Imperialism in Asia traces its roots back to the late 15th century with a series of voyages that sought a sea passage to India in the hope of establishing direct trade between Europe and Asia in spices. Before 1500 European economies were largely self-sufficient, only supplemented by minor trade with Asia and Africa. Within the next century, however, European and Asian economies were slowly becoming integrated through the rise of new global trade routes; and the early thrust of European political power, commerce, and culture in Asia gave rise to a growing trade in lucrative commodities—a key development in the rise of today's modern world capitalist economy. European colonies in India were set up by several European nations beginning at the beginning of the 16th century. Rivalry between reigning European powers saw the entry of the Dutch, British and French among others.
Clipper route 
During this time, the clipper route was established by clipper ships between Europe and the Far East, Australia and New Zealand. The route ran from west to east through the Southern Ocean, in order to make use of the strong westerly winds of the Roaring Forties. Many ships and sailors were lost in the heavy conditions along the route, particularly at Cape Horn, which the clippers had to round on their return to Europe. In September 1578, Sir Francis Drake, in the course of his circumnavigation of the world, discovered Cape Horn. This discovery went unused for some time, as ships continued to use the known passage through the Strait of Magellan. By the early 17th century, the Dutch merchant Jacob le Maire, together with navigator Willem Schouten, set off to investigate Drake's suggestion of a route to the south of Tierra del Fuego. At the time it was discovered, the Horn was believed to be the southernmost point of Tierra del Fuego; the unpredictable violence of weather and sea conditions in the Drake Passage made exploration difficult, and it was only in 1624 that the Horn was discovered to be an island. It is an interesting testament to the difficulty of conditions there that Antarctica, only 650 kilometres (400 mi) away across the Drake Passage, was discovered as recently as 1820, despite the passage having been used as a major shipping route for 200 years. The clipper route fell into commercial disuse with the introduction of steam ships, and the opening of the Suez and Panama Canals.
End of exploration 
The age of exploration is generally said to have ended in the early 17th century. By this time European vessels were well enough built and their navigators competent enough to travel to virtually anywhere on the planet. Exploration, of course, continued. The Arctic and Antarctic seas were not explored until the 19th century.
Age of Sail 
The Age of Sail originates from ancient seafaring exploration, during the rise of ancient civilizations. Including Mesopotamia, the Far East and the Cradle of Civilization, the Arabian Sea has been an important marine trade route since the era of the coastal sailing vessels from possibly as early as the 3rd millennium BCE, certainly the late 2nd millennium BCE up to and including the later days of Age of Sail. By the time of Julius Caesar, several well-established combined land-sea trade routes depended upon water transport through the Sea around the rough inland terrain features to its north. These routes usually began in the Far East with transshipment via historic Bharuch (Bharakuccha), traversed past the inhospitable coast of today's Iran then split around Hadhramaut into two streams north into the Gulf of Aden and thence into the Levant, or south into Alexandria via Red Sea ports such as Axum. Each major route involved transhipping to pack animal caravans, travel through desert country and risk of bandits and extortionate tolls by local potentiates. Southern coastal route past the rough country in the southern Arabian peninsula (Yemen and Oman today) was significant, and the Egyptian Pharaohs built several shallow canals to service the trade, one more or less along the route of today's Suez canal, and another from the Red Sea to the Nile River, both shallow works that were swallowed up by huge sand storms in antiquity.
In the modern western countries, the European "Age of Sail" is the period in which international trade and naval warfare were both dominated by sailing ships. The age of sail mostly coincided with the age of discovery, from the 15th to the 18th century. After the 17th century, English naval maps stopped using the term of British Sea for the English Channel. From 15th to the 18th centuries, the period saw square rigged sailing ships carry European settlers to many parts of the world in one of the most important human migrations in recorded history. This period was marked by extensive exploration and colonization efforts on the part of European kingdoms. The sextant, developed in the 18th century, made more accurate charting of nautical position possible.
Notable individuals 
Juan of Austria was a military leader whose most famous victory was in the naval Battle of Lepanto in 1571. Philip had appointed Juan to command the naval forces of the Holy League which was pitted against the Ottoman Empire. Juan, by dint of leadership ability and charisma, was able to unite this disparate coalition and inflict a historic defeat upon the Ottomans and their corsair allies in the Battle of Lepanto. His role in the battle is commemorated in the poem "Lepanto" by G. K. Chesterton.
Maarten Tromp was an officer and later admiral in the Dutch navy. In 1639, during the Dutch struggle for independence from Spain, Tromp defeated a large Spanish fleet bound for Flanders at the Battle of the Downs, marking the end of Spanish naval power. In a preliminary battle, the Action of 18 September 1639, Tromp was the first fleet commander known to deliberately use line of battle tactics. His flagship in this period was the Aemilia. In the First Anglo-Dutch War of 1652–1653 Tromp commanded the Dutch fleet in the battles of Dungeness, Portland, the Gabbard and Scheveningen. In the last of these, he was killed by a sharpshooter in the rigging of William Penn's ship. His acting flag captain, Egbert Bartholomeusz Kortenaer, on the Brederode kept up fleet morale by not lowering Tromp's standard, pretending Tromp was still alive.
Cornelis Tromp was a Commander in chief of the Dutch and Danish navy. In 1656 he participated in the relief of Gdańsk (Danzig). In 1658 it was discovered he had used his ships to trade in luxury goods; as a result he was fined and not allowed to have an active command until 1662. Just before the Second Anglo-Dutch War he was promoted to Vice-Admiral on 29 January 1665; at the Battle of Lowestoft he prevented total catastrophe by taking over fleet command to allow the escape of the larger part of the fleet. In 1676 he became Admiral-General of the Danish navy and Knight in the Order of the Elephant. He defeated the Swedish navy in the Battle of Öland, his only victory as a fleet commander.
Charles Hardy was a British naval officer and colonial governor. He was appointed governor and commander-in-chief of the British colony of Newfoundland in 1744. In 1758, he and James Wolfe attacked French posts around the mouth of the St. Lawrence River and destroyed all of the French fishing stations along the northern shores of what is now New Brunswick and along the Gaspé peninsula.
Augustus Keppel, 1st Viscount Keppel was a British admiral who held sea commands during the Seven Years' War and the War of American Independence. During the final years of the latter conflict he served as First Lord of the Admiralty. During the Seven Years' War he saw constant service. He was in North America in 1755, on the coast of France in 1756, was detached on a cruise to reduce the French settlements on the west coast of Africa in 1758, and his ship the Torbay (74) was the first to get into action in the Battle of Quiberon Bay in 1759. In 1757 he had formed part of the court martial which had condemned Admiral Byng, but was active among those who endeavoured to secure a pardon for him; but neither he nor those who had acted with him could produce any serious reason why the sentence should not be carried out. When Spain joined France in 1762 he was sent as second in command with Sir George Pocock in the expedition which took Havana. His health suffered from the fever which carried off an immense proportion of the soldiers and sailors, but the £25,000 of prize money which he received freed him from the unpleasant position of younger son of a family ruined by the extravagance of his father.
Edward Hawke, 1st Baron Hawke was a naval officer of the Royal Navy. During the War of the Austrian Succession he was promoted to Rear Admiral. In the Seven Years' War, Hawke replaced Admiral John Byng as commander in the Mediterranean in 1756.
Richard Howe, 1st Earl Howe was a British admiral. During the rebellion in North America, Howe was known to be sympathetic to the colonists - he had in prior years sought the acquaintance of Benjamin Franklin, who was a friend of Howe's sister, a popular lady in London society. During his career, Howe displayed a tactical uncommon originality. His performance was unexcelled even by Nelson, who, like Howe's other successors, was served by more highly trained squadrons and benefitted from Howe's example.
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson was a British admiral famous for his participation in the Napoleonic Wars, most notably in the Battle of Trafalgar, a decisive British victory in the war, where he lost his life. Nelson was noted for his considerable ability to inspire and bring out the best in his men, to the point that it gained a name: "The Nelson Touch". His actions during these wars meant that before and after his death he was revered like few military figures have been throughout British history. Alexander Davison was a contemporary and close friend of Horatio Nelson. Davison is responsible for several acts that glorified Nelson's public image. These included the creation of a medal commemorating the victory at the Battle of the Nile and the creation of the Nelson Memorial at his estate at Swarland, Northumberland. As a close friend of the Admiral he acted as an intermediary when Nelson's marriage to his wife, Frances Nelson fell apart due in large part to his affair with Emma Hamilton.
Hyde Parker in 1778 was engaged in the Savannah expedition, and in the following year his ship was wrecked on the hostile Cuban coast. His men, however, entrenched themselves, and were in the end brought off safely. Parker was with his father at the Dogger Bank, and with Richard Howe in the two actions in the Straits of Gibraltar. In 1793, having just become Rear Admiral, he served under Samuel Hood at Toulon and in Corsica, and two years later, now a Vice Admiral, he took part, under The Lord Hotham, in the indecisive fleet actions on 1795-03-13 and the 1795-07-13. From 1796 to 1800 he was in command at Jamaica and ably conducted the operations in the West Indies.
Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth was a British naval officer who fought during the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary, and the Napoleonic Wars. Pellew is remembered as an officer and a gentleman of great courage and leadership, earning his land and titles through courage, leadership and skill - serving as a paradigm of the versatility and determination of Naval Officers during the Napoleonic Wars.
Antoine de Sartine, a French statesman, was the Secretary of State for the Navy under King Louis XVI. Sartine inherited a strong French Navy, resurrected by Choiseul after the disasters of the Seven Years' War when France lost Canada, Louisiana, and India, and which would later defeat the British Navy in the War of American Independence.
James Saumarez, 1st Baron de Saumarez was an admiral of the British Royal Navy, notable for his victory at the Battle of Algeciras. In 1801 he was raised to the rank of Rear Admiral of the Blue, was created a baronet, and received the command of a small squadron which was destined to watch the movements of the Spanish fleet at Cadiz. Between 6 and 12 July he performed a brilliant piece of service, in which after a first repulse at Algeciras he routed a much superior combined force of French and Spanish ships at the Battle of Algeciras. For his services Saumarez received the order of the Bath and the freedom of the City of London.
David Porter during the First Barbary War (1801–07) was 1st lieutenant of Enterprise, New York and Philadelphia and was taken prisoner when Philadelphia ran aground in Tripoli harbor 31 October 1803. After his release 3 June 1805 he remained in the Mediterranean as acting captain of Constitution and later captain of Enterprise. He was in charge of the naval forces at New Orleans 1808–10. As commander of USS Essex in the War of 1812, Captain Porter achieved fame by capturing the first British warship of the conflict, Alert, 13 August 1812 as well as several merchantmen. In 1813 he sailed Essex around Cape Horn and cruised in the Pacific warring on British whalers. On 28 March 1814 Porter was forced to surrender off Valparaiso after an unequal contest with the frigates HMS Phoebe and Cherub and only when his ship was too disabled to offer any resistance.
Spanish and English Armadas 
The Spanish Armada was the Spanish fleet that sailed against England under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidona in 1588. The Spanish Armada was sent by King Philip II of Spain, who had been king consort of England until the death of his wife Mary I of England thirty years earlier. The purpose of the expedition was to escort the Duke of Parma's army of tercios from the Spanish Netherlands across the North Sea for a landing in south-east England. Once the army had suppressed English support for the United Provinces — part of the Spanish Netherlands — it was intended to cut off attacks against Spanish possessions in the New World and the Atlantic treasure fleets. It was also hoped to reverse the Protestant revolution in England, and to this end the expedition was supported by Pope Sixtus V, with the promise of a subsidy should it make land. The command of the fleet was originally entrusted to Alvaro de Bazan, a highly experienced naval commander who died a few months before the fleet sailed from Lisbon in May 1588.
The Spanish Armada consisted of about 130 warships and converted merchant ships. After forcing its way up the English Channel, it was attacked by a fleet of 200 English ships, assisted by the Dutch navy, in the North Sea at Gravelines off the coastal border between France and the Spanish Netherlands. A fire-ship attack drove the Armada ships from their safe anchorage, and in the ensuing battle the Spanish abandoned their rendezvous with Parma's army.
The Spanish Armada was blown north up the east coast of England and in a hasty strategic move, attempted a return to Spain by sailing around Scotland and out into the Atlantic, past Ireland. But very severe weather destroyed a portion of the fleet, and more than 24 vessels were wrecked on the north and western coasts of Ireland, with the survivors having to seek refuge in Scotland. Of the Spanish Armada's initial complement of vessels, about 50 did not return to Spain. However, the loss to Philip's Royal Navy was comparatively small: only seven ships failed to return, and of these only three were lost to enemy action.
The English Armada was a fleet of warships sent to the Iberian coast by Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1589, during the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604). It was led by Sir Francis Drake as admiral and Sir John Norreys as general, and failed in its attempt to drive home the advantage England had won upon the defeat and dispersal of the Spanish Armada in the previous year. With the opportunity to strike a decisive blow against the weakened Spanish lost, the failure of the expedition further depleted the crown treasury that had been so carefully restored during the long reign of Elizabeth I. The Anglo-Spanish war was very costly to both sides, and Spain itself, also fighting France and the United Provinces, had to default on its debt repayments in 1596, following another raid on Cadiz. But the failure of the English Armada was a turning point, and the fortunes of the various parties to this complicated conflict fluctuated until the Treaty of London in 1604, when a peace was agreed.
Spain's rebuilt navy had quickly recovered and exceeded its pre-Armada dominance of the sea, until defeats by the Dutch fifty years later marked the beginning of its decline. With the peace, the English were able to consolidate their hold on Ireland and make a concerted effort to establish colonies in North America.
North American maritime 
The maritime history of the United States starts in the modern sense with the first successful English colony established in 1607, on the James River at Jamestown. It languished for decades until a new wave of settlers arrived in the late 17th century and set up commercial agriculture based on tobacco. The connection between the American colonies and Europe, with shipping as its cornerstone, would continue to grow unhindered for almost two hundred years.
The Continental Navy was formed during the American Revolution in 1774-1775. Through the efforts of the Continental Navy's apparent patron, John Adams and vigorous congressional support in the face of stiff opposition, the fleet cumulatively became relatively substantial when considering the limitations imposed upon the Patriot supply poole. The "Six original United States frigates'" were the first United States frigates of the United States Navy, first authorized by the Congress with the Naval Act of 1794 on March 27, 1794 at a cost of $688,888.82.
John Paul Jones was America's first well-known naval hero in the American Revolutionary War. John Paul adopted the alias John Jones when he fled to his brother's home in Fredericksburg, Virginia in 1773 in order to avoid the hangman's noose in Tobago after an incident when he was accused of murdering a sailor under his command. He began using the name John Paul Jones as his brother suggested during the start of the American Revolution. Though his naval career never rose above the rank of Captain in the Continental Navy after his victory over the Serapis with the frigate Bonhomme Richard, John Paul Jones remains the first genuine American Naval hero, and a highly regarded battle commander.
Jonathan Haraden was a privateer during the American Revolution, being the First Lieutenant of the sloop-of-war Tyrannicide, fourteen guns. On board for two years, he captured many prizes, becoming her commander in 1777.
George H. Preble was an American naval officer and writer, notable for his history of the flag of the United States and for taking the first photograph of the Fort McHenry flag that inspired The Star-Spangled Banner. George entered the Navy as a midshipman on 10 December 1835, serving on the United States until 1838.
Edward Preble was a U.S. naval officer. Following his Revolutionary War service, he was appointed 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. In January 1799, he assumed command of the 14 gun brig Pickering and took her to the West Indies to protect American commerce during the Quasi-War with France. Commissioned Captain 7 June 1799, he took command of Essex in December and sailed in January 1800 for the Pacific to provide similar protective services for Americans engaged in the East Indies trade. Given command of the 3rd Squadron, with Constitution as his flagship, in 1803, he sailed for the Barbary coast and by October had promoted a treaty with Morocco and established a blockade off Tripoli in the First Barbary War.
War of 1812 
Stephen Decatur was an American naval officer notable for his heroism in the First Barbary War and the Second Barbary War and in the War of 1812. He was the youngest man to reach the rank of captain in the history of the U.S. Navy, and the first American celebrated as a national military hero who had not played a role in the American Revolution.
James Lawrence was an American naval hero. During the War of 1812, he commanded the USS Chesapeake in a single-ship action against the HMS Shannon (commanded by Philip Broke). He is probably best known today for his dying command "Don't give up the ship!", which is still a popular naval battle cry.
John H. Aulick was an officer in the United States Navy whose service extended from the War of 1812 to the end of the antebellum era. During the War of 1812, he served in Enterprise and took part in her battle with HMS Boxer on 4 September 1813. After that engagement ended in an American victory, Aulick served as prize master of the prize.
Thomas Macdonough was an early 19th century American naval officer, most notably as commander of American naval forces on Lake Champlain during the War of 1812. One of the leading members of "Preble's Boys", a small group of naval officers who served during the First Barbary War, Macdonough's actions during the decisive Battle of Lake Champlain are often cited as a model of tactical preparation and execution.
Challenger expedition 
The HMS Challenger, built in 1858, undertook the first global marine research expedition called the Challenger expedition in 1872. To enable her to probe the depths, all but two of the Challenger's guns had been removed and her spars reduced to make more space available. Laboratories, extra cabins and a special dredging platform were installed. She was loaded with specimen jars, alcohol for preservation of samples, microscopes and chemical apparatus, trawls and dredges, thermometers and water sampling bottles, sounding leads and devices to collect sediment from the sea bed and great lengths of rope with which to suspend the equipment into the ocean depths. In all she was supplied with 181 miles (291 km) of Italian hemp for sounding, trawling and dredging. As the first true oceanographic cruise, the Challenger expedition laid the groundwork for an entire academic and research discipline.
End of the sail 
Like most periodic eras the definition is inexact and close enough to serve as a general description. The age of sail runs roughly from the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, the last significant engagement in which oar-propelled galleys played a major role, to the Battle of Hampton Roads in 1862, in which the steam-powered CSS Virginia destroyed the sailing ships USS Cumberland and USS Congress, finally culminating with the advance of steam power, rendering sail power obsolete.
The history of submarines covers the historical chronology and facts related to submarines, the ships and boats which operate underwater. The modern underwater boat proposal was made by the Englishman William Bourne who designed a prototype submarine in 1578. Unfortunately for him these ideas never got beyond the planning stage. The first submersible proper to be actually built in modern times was built in 1620 by Cornelius Jacobszoon Drebbel, a Dutchman in the service of James I: it was based on Bourne's design. It was propelled by means of oars. The precise nature of the submarine type is a matter of some controversy; some claim that it was merely a bell towed by a boat. Two improved types were tested in the Thames between 1620 and 1624.
Age of Steam 
Steam was first applied to boats in the 1770s. With the advent of economical steam engines, efficient external combustion heat engines that makes use of the heat energy that exists in steam and converting it to mechanical work, the prime mover was steam for ships. The technology only became relevant to trans-oceanic travel after 1815, the year Pierre Andriel crossed the English Channel aboard the steam ship Élise.
Rise of the steam vessels 
A steamboat, sometimes called a steamer, became the primary method of propulsion is the age of steam power, typically driving a propeller or paddlewheel. Small and large steamboats and riverboats worked on lakes and rivers. Steamships gradually replaced sailing ships for commercial shipping through the 19th century. From 1815 on, steamships increased significantly in speed and size.
Ironclads are steam-propelled warships of the later 19th century, protected by iron or steel armor plates. The ironclad was developed as a result of the vulnerability of wooden warships to explosive or incendiary shells. The first ironclad battleship, La Gloire, was launched by the French Navy in 1859; she prompted the British Royal Navy to start building ironclads. After the first clashes of ironclads took place during the American Civil War, it became clear that the ironclad had replaced the unarmored line-of-battle ship as the most powerful warship afloat.
Greek War of Independence 
Greek War of Independence was a successful war waged by the Greeks to win independence for Greece from the Ottoman Empire. Success at sea was vital for the Greeks. If they failed to counter the Ottoman Navy, it would be able to resupply the isolated Ottoman garrisons and land reinforcements from the Ottoman Empire's Asian provinces at will, crushing the rebellion. The Greeks decided to use fireships and found an effective weapon against the Ottoman vessels. Conventional naval actions were also fought, at which naval commanders like Andreas Miaoulis, Nikolis Apostolis, Iakovos Tombazis and Antonios Kriezis distinguished themselves. The early successes of the Greek fleet in direct confrontations with the Ottomans at Patras and Spetsai gave the crews confidence, and contributed greatly to the survival and success of the uprising in the Peloponnese. Despite victories at Samos and Gerontas, the Revolution was threatened with collapse until the intervention of the Great Powers in the Battle of Navarino in 1827. The Ottoman fleet was decisively defeated by the combined fleets of the Britain, France and the Russian Empire, effectively securing the independence of Greece.
1850 to the End of the Century 
Most warships used steam propulsion until the advent of the gas turbine. Steamships were superseded by diesel-driven ships in the second half of the 20th century.
The Confederate States Navy (CSN) was the naval branch of the Confederate States armed forces established by an act of the Confederate Congress on February 21, 1861. It was responsible for Confederate naval operations during the American Civil War. The two major tasks of the Confederate Navy during the whole of its existence were the protection of Southern harbors and coastlines from outside invasion, and making the war costly for the North by attacking merchant ships and breaking the Union Blockade.
David Farragut was the first senior officer of the U.S. Navy during the American Civil War. He was the first rear admiral, vice admiral, and full admiral of the Navy. He is remembered in popular culture for his possibly apocryphal order at the Battle of Mobile Bay, usually paraphrased: "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!".
Franklin Buchanan was an officer in the United States Navy who became an admiral in the Confederate Navy during the American Civil War, and commanded the ironclad CSS Virginia. He was the captain of the ironclad CSS Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimack) during the Battle of Hampton Roads in Virginia. He climbed to the top deck of the Virginia and began furiously firing toward shore with a carbine as the USS Congress was shelled. He soon was brought down by a sharpshooter's minie ball to the thigh. He would eventually recover from his leg wound. He never did get to command the Virginia against the USS Monitor. That honor went to Catesby ap Roger Jones. But Buchanan had handed the US Navy the worst defeat it would take until Pearl Harbor.
Raphael Semmes was an officer in the United States Navy from 1826 to 1860 and the Confederate States Navy from 1860 to 1865. During the American Civil War he was captain of the famous commerce raider CSS Alabama, taking a record fifty-five prizes. Late in the war he was promoted to admiral and also served briefly as a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army.
In Italy, Carlo Pellion di Persano was an Italian admiral and commander of the Regia Marina fleet at the Battle of Lissa. He commanded the fleet from 1860 to 1861, and saw action in the struggle for Italian unification. After unification he was elected to the legislature; he became Minister of Marine in 1862 and in 1865 he was nominated a Senator. However, his career was marred during the war with Austria when he commanded the Italian fleet at Lissa. After the defeat, he was condemned for incapacity, and discharged.
Again in America, Charles Edgar Clark was an officer in the United States Navy during the American Civil War and the Spanish-American War. He commanded the battleship Oregon at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, San Francisco, and when war with Spain was deemed inevitable, he received orders to proceed to Key West, Florida, with all haste. After a most remarkable voyage of over 14,000 miles (23,000 km), around Cape Horn, he joined the American fleet in Cuban waters on May 26, and on July 3 commanded his ship at the destruction of Cervera's squadron.
George Dewey was an admiral of the United States Navy, best known for his victory (without the loss of a single life of his own forces due to combat; one man died of a heart attack) at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War. He was also the only person in the history of the United States to have attained the rank of Admiral of the Navy, the most senior rank in the United States Navy.
Garrett J. Pendergrast was an officer in the United States Navy during the American Civil War. He commanded Boston during the Mexican-American War in 1846. In 1856, he commissioned Merrimack, the ship that would later become the Virginia.
Lewis Nixon was a shipbuilding executive, naval architect, and political activist. Nixon graduated first in his class from the Naval Academy in 1882 and was sent to study naval architecture at the Royal Naval College where, again, he graduated first in the class in 1885. In 1890 with help from assistant naval constructor David W. Taylor he designed the Indiana class battleships which included USS Indiana, USS Massachusetts and USS Oregon.
Patricio Montojo was the Spanish naval commander at the Battle of Manila Bay (May 1, 1898), a decisive battle of the Spanish-American War. At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, Montojo was in command of the Spanish Squadron that was destroyed by the U.S. Asiatic Squadron in the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1, 1898. Montojo was wounded during this battle, as was also one of his two sons who were participating in this battle. United States naval forces under Commodore George Dewey decisively defeated Spain's Pacific fleet, at anchor in Manila Bay, the Philippines. Most of the seven Spanish vessels sank or surrendered.
20th century 
In the 20th century, the internal combustion engine and gas turbine came to replace the steam engine in most ship applications. Trans-oceanic travel, transatlantic and transpacific, was a particularly important application, with steam powered Ocean liners replacing sailing ships, then culminating in the massive Superliners which included the RMS Titanic. The event with the Titanic lead to the Maritime Distress Safety System.
Maritime events of World War I 
At the start of the war, the German Empire had cruisers scattered across the globe. Some of them were subsequently used to attack Allied merchant shipping. The British Royal Navy systematically hunted them down, though not without some embarrassment from its inability to protect allied shipping. For example, the detached light cruiser Emden, part of the East-Asia squadron stationed at Tsingtao, seized or destroyed 15 merchantmen, as well as sinking a Russian cruiser and a French destroyer. However, the bulk of the German East-Asia squadron – consisting of the armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, light cruisers Nürnberg and Leipzig and two transport ships – did not have orders to raid shipping and was instead underway to Germany when it was lost at the Battle of the Falkland Islands in December 1914.
Soon after the outbreak of hostilities, Britain initiated a Naval Blockade of Germany, preventing supplies from reaching its ports. The strategy proved effective, cutting off vital military and civilian supplies, although this blockade violated generally accepted international law codified by international agreements. A blockade of stationed ships within a three mile (5 km) radius was considered legitimate, however Britain mined international waters to prevent any ships from entering entire sections of ocean, causing danger to even neutral ships. Though there was limited response to this tactic, some expected a better response for German's aim with its unrestricted submarine warfare.
German U-boats attempted to cut the supply lines between North America and Britain. The nature of submarine warfare meant that attacks often came without warning, giving the crews of the merchant ships little hope of survival. After the infamous sinking of the passenger ship RMS Lusitania in 1915, Germany promised not to target passenger liners. In 1916 the United States launched a protest over a cross-channel passenger ferry sinking, Germany modified its rules of engagement. Finally, in early 1917 Germany adopted a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare, realizing the Americans would eventually enter the war. Germany sought to strangle Allied sea lanes before the U.S. could transport a large army overseas.
The U-boat threat lessened in 1917, when merchant ships entered convoys escorted by destroyers. This tactic made it difficult for U-boats to find targets. The accompanying destroyers might sink a submerged submarine with depth charges. The losses to submarine attacks were reduced significantly. But the convoy system slowed the flow of supplies. The solution to the delays was a massive program to build new freighters. Various troop ships were too fast for the submarines and did not have to travel the North Atlantic in convoys.
Maritime events of World War II 
Battle of the Atlantic 
In the North Atlantic, German U-boats attempted to cut supply lines to the United Kingdom by sinking merchant ships. In the first four months of the war they sank more than 110 vessels. In addition to supply ships, the U-boats occasionally attacked British and Canadian warships. One U-boat sank the British carrier HMS Courageous, while another managed to sink the battleship HMS Royal Oak in her home anchorage of Scapa Flow.
In the summer of 1941, the Soviet Union entered the war on the side of the Allies. Although the Soviets had tremendous reserves in manpower, they had lost much of their equipment and manufacturing base in the first few weeks following the German invasion. The Western Allies attempted to remedy this by sending Arctic convoys, which travelled from the United Kingdom and the United States to the northern ports of the Soviet Union - Archangel and Murmansk. The treacherous route around the North Cape of Norway was the site of many battles as the Germans continually tried to disrupt the convoys using U-boats, bombers, and surface ships.
Following the entry of the United States into the war in December 1941, U-boats sank shipping along the East Coast of the United States and Canada, the waters around Newfoundland, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. They were initially so successful that this became known among U-boat crews as the second happy time. Eventually, the institution of shore blackouts and an interlocking convoy system resulted in a drop in attacks and U-boats shifted their operations back to the mid-Atlantic.
The turning point of the Battle of the Atlantic took place in early 1943 as the Allies refined their naval tactics, effectively making use of new technology to counter the U-Boats. The Allies produced ships faster than they were sunk, and lost fewer ships by adopting the convoy system. Improved anti-submarine warfare meant that the life expectancy of a typical U-boat crew would be measured in months. The vastly improved Type 21 U-boat appeared as the war was ending, but too late to affect the outcome. In December 1943, the last major sea battle between the Royal Navy and the German Navy took place. At the Battle of North Cape, the German battleship Scharnhorst, was sunk by HMS Duke of York, HMS Belfast, and several destroyers.
Pacific War 
The Pacific War was the part of World War II, especially following the successful Japanese attack on United States forces at Pearl Harbor to 1945. The main American naval theaters were as Pacific Ocean Areas and Southwest Pacific Area. The British fought chiefly in the Indian Ocean. It was a war of logistics, with American home bases in California and Hawaii sending supplies to Australia. The U.S. used its submarines to sink Japanese transports and oil tankers, thereby cutting off Japan's supplies to its outposts and causing a severe shortage of gasoline.
Island hopping was the key strategy to bypass heavily fortified Japanese positions and instead concentrate the limited Allied resources on strategically important islands that were not well defended but capable of supporting the drive to the main islands of Japan. This strategy was possible in part because the Allies used submarine and air attacks to blockade and isolate Japanese bases, weakening their garrisons and reducing the Japanese ability to resupply and reinforce. Most Japanese soldiers killed in the Pacific died of starvation, and Japan used its submarine fleet to try to resupply them.
Hard-fought battles on the Japanese home islands of Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and others resulted in horrific casualties on both sides, but finally produced a Japanese retreat. Faced with the loss of most of their experienced pilots, the Japanese increased their use of kamikaze tactics in an attempt to create unacceptably high casualties for the Allies. After the turning point of the Pacific where a third of the Imperial Japanese Navy fleet was hit in the Battle of Midway, the United States Department of the Navy recommended various positions for and against an invasion of Japan in 1945. Some staff proposed to force a Japanese surrender through a total naval blockade or air raids.
Latter half of the 20th century 
In the latter half of the 20th century, various vessels, notably aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, and nuclear-powered icebreakers, made use of nuclear marine propulsion. Sonar and radio augmented existing navigational technology.
Various blockades were set up in international action. The Egyptian set up blockades of the Straits of Tiran prior to the 1956 Suez War and the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. The United States set up a blockade of Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. The Israelis set up a sea blockade of the Gaza Strip since the outbreak of the Second Intifada (2000) and up to the present. The Israeli blockades of some or all the shores of Lebanon at various times during the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990), the 1982 Lebanon War, and the 1982-2000 South Lebanon conflict - resumed during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.
Cuban Missile Crisis 
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation in October 1962 during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Soviets sent nuclear missiles to Cuba, and the US responded with a selective sea blockade; Soviet ships turned back. The blockade ended when the two powers resolved the issue peacefully.
Gulf of Tonkin Incident 
The Gulf of Tonkin Incident was an alleged pair of attacks by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam against two American warships in 1964. The US Congress responded with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that gave President Lyndon B. Johnson wide power to conduct the war on land, at sea and in the war. The Resolution was repealed in January 1971.
Falklands War 
The Falklands War was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. Britain was initially taken by surprise by the Argentine attack on the South Atlantic islands, but launched a naval task force to engage the Argentine Navy and Air Force, and retake the islands by amphibious assault. The British eventually prevailed and the islands remained under British control.
Panama canal handover 
Though controversial within the United States, a process of handing the Panama canal lead to Panamanian control of the Panama Canal Zone by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP). It was effective at noon on December 31, 1999. Before this handover, the government of Panama held an international bid to negotiate a 25-year contract for operation of the Canal's container shipping ports (chiefly two facilities at the Atlantic and Pacific outlets), which was won by the Chinese firm Hutchison Whampoa, a Hong Kong-based shipping concern whose owner Li Ka Shing is the wealthiest man in Asia. One of the conditions on the handover to the Panama Canal Authority by the United States was the permanent neutrality of the Canal and the explicit statements that allowed the United States to come back at any time.
21st century 
Since the turn of the millennium, the construction of stealth ships have occurred. These are ships which employs stealth technology construction techniques in an effort to ensure that it is harder to detect by one or more of radar, visual, sonar, and infrared methods. These techniques borrow from stealth aircraft technology, although some aspects such as wake reduction are unique to stealth ships' design.
Some of the major social changes of this period include women becoming admirals in defensive navies, being allowed to work on submarines, and being appointed captains of cruise ships.
Seaborne piracy against transport vessels remains a significant issue (with estimated worldwide losses of US$13 to $16 billion per year), particularly in the waters between the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, off the Somali coast, and also in the Strait of Malacca and Singapore, which are used by over 50,000 commercial ships a year.
Modern pirates favor small boats and taking advantage of the small number of crew members on modern cargo vessels. They also use large vessels to supply the smaller attack/boarding vessels. Modern pirates can be successful because a large amount of international commerce occurs via shipping. Major shipping routes take cargo ships through narrow bodies of water (such as the Gulf of Aden and the Strait of Malacca) making them vulnerable to be overtaken and boarded by small motorboats. Other active areas include the South China Sea and the Niger Delta. As usage increases, many of these ships have to lower cruising speeds to allow for navigation and traffic control, making them prime targets for piracy.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) maintains statistics regarding pirate attacks dating back to 1995. Their records indicate hostage-taking overwhelmingly dominates the types of violence against seafarers. For example in 2006, there were 239 attacks, 77 crew members were kidnapped and 188 taken hostage but only 15 of the pirate attacks resulted in murder. In 2007 the attacks rose by 10% to 263 attacks. There was a 35% increase on reported attacks involving guns. Crew members that were injured numbered 64 compared to just 17 in 2006. That number does not include hostages/kidnapping where they were not injured.
Modern definitions of piracy include the following acts:
- Hostage taking
- Kidnapping of people for ransom
- Sabotage resulting in the ship subsequently sinking
- Seizure of items or the ship
- Shipwrecking done intentionally to a ship
See also 
- History of the Royal Navy, on the British navy
- Bibliography of early American naval history
- Bibliography of 18th-19th century Royal Naval history
- History of whaling
- Indian Maritime History
- List of museum ships
- List of naval battles
- Maritime history of Colonial America
- Maritime history of Europe
- Atlantic history
- Atlantic World
- Maritime timeline
- Military history
- Naval history
Citations and notes 
- John B. Hattendorf, editor in chief, Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History, (Oxford, 2007), volume 1, introduction.
- See IJMH website
- It is online at many libraries
- It is online at many libraries
- This began with the Maritime History Group,Working men who got wet: Proceedings of the fourth conference of the Atlantic Canada Shipping Project, July 24-July 26, 1980, (Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John, 1980)
- << see Yearbooks for 2009-2012, especially in the 2009 volume, article by Gijs Mom, Colin Divall and Peter Lyth, "Towards a Paradigm Shift? A Decade of Transport and Mobility History," http://t2m.org/publications/yearbook/(ref).
- Pacific Northwest Coastal Indians website
- Hatshepsut oversaw the preparations and funding of an expedition of five ships, each measuring seventy feet long, and with several sails. Various others exist, also.
- John M. Hobson (2004), The Eastern Origins of Western Civilisation, p. 141, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-54724-5.
- John M. Hobson (2004), The Eastern Origins of Western Civilisation, p. 29-30, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-54724-5.
- Journal of African History pg.50 by John Donnelly Fage and Roland Anthony Oliver
- East Africa and its Invaders pg.38
- East Africa and the Indian Ocean By Edward A. Alpers pg 66
- Mancall 1999, pp. 26–53.
- Parry 1963, pp. 1–5.
- Arnold 2002, p. 11.
- Rankin, Rebecca B., Cleveland Rodgers (1948). "Chapter 1". New York: the World's Capital City, Its Development and Contributions to Progress. Harper.
- Robert O. Collins, Historical Problems of Imperial Africa, (Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 1994), 7
- Voyage of the Golden Hind, from The Golden Hind. Retrieved February 5, 2006.
- The History of a ship from her cradle to her grave, with a short account of modern steamships & torpedoes. (1882). London: G. Routledge & son.
- The Nelson Society (2007-02-15). "Chronology". Retrieved 2007-03-02.
- "The Spanish Armada". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- Hill, Richard. War at Sea in the Ironclad Age ISBN 0-304-35273-X; p.17
- Sondhaus, Lawrence. Naval Warfare 1815–1914 ISBN 0-415-21478-5. pp73–4
- Sondhaus, p. 86
- Davis, p. 682. The Reuters
- John M. Taylor, "Audacious Cruise of the Emden", The Quarterly Journal of Military History, Volume 19, Number 4, Summer 2007, pp. 39-47
- London Declaration concerning the Laws of Naval War
- Lance Edwin Davis, Stanley L. Engerman, Naval blockades in peace and war: an economic history since 1750. Page 229
- Carlisle, R. P. (2007). World War I. New York: Facts On File, Inc. Page 168.
- Schmidt, D. E. (2005). The folly of war: American foreign policy, 1898-2005. New York: Algora Pub. Page 77
- Such as Alfred von Tirpitz
- Scheck, R. (1998). Alfred von Tirpitz and German right-wing politics: 1914 - 1930. Atlantic Highlands: Humanities Press. Page 31
- Conway's all the world's fighting ships, 1906-1921 By Robert Gardiner, Randal Gray, Przemyslaw Budzbon. Page 137.
- Canada., & Giesler, P. (1998). Valour at sea: Canada's merchant navy.
- Anti-submarine warfare in World War I By John J. Abbatiello. Page 111.
- Sheffield, Garry. "The First Battle of the Atlantic". World Wars In Depth (BBC). Retrieved 2009-11-11
- Gilbert, Martin (2004), The First World War: A Complete History, Clearwater, Florida: Owl Books, p. 306, ISBN 0-8050-7617-4, OCLC 34792651 p. 306
- Britain armed its merchant ships.
- The Crisis of the Naval War by Jellicoe of Scapa
- George W. Baer, One Hundred Years of Sea Power: The U. S. Navy, 1890-1990. Page 81.
- The use of force: military power and international politics By Robert J. Art, Kenneth Neal Waltz. Page 181.
- Japan 1945: From Operation Downfall to Hiroshima and Nagasaki By Clayton K. S. Chun, John White. Page 13.
- Fleet Admiral Ernest Joseph King and Fleet Admiral Ernest William D. Leahy
- History of Strategic and Ballistic Missile Defense: Volume I: 1944-1955. Page 208.
- Craig L. Symonds; William J. Clipson (2001). The Naval Institute Historical Atlas of the U.S. Navy. Naval Institute Press. pp. 204–5.
- Craig L. Symonds; William J. Clipson (2001). The Naval Institute Historical Atlas of the U.S. Navy. Naval Institute Press. pp. 206–7.
- "Foreign Affairs – Terrorism Goes to Sea". Retrieved December 8, 2007.
- "Piracy in Asia: A Growing Barrier to Maritime Trade". Retrieved December 8, 2007.
- BBC Piracy documentary.
- Piracy at Somalian coasts.
- Security Management:Piracy on the high seas. Retrieved October 23, 2007.
- ICC Commercial Crime Services: IBM Piracy Report 2007. Retrieved January 22, 2008.[dead link]
General resources 
- Listed by date
- Tucker, Spencer C. World War II at Sea: An Encyclopedia (2 vol. 2011) excerpt and text search
- Blume, Kenneth. Historical Dictionary of the U.S. Maritime Industry (2011) excerpt and text search
- Sohn, Louis B. et al. The Law of the Sea in a Nutshell (2nd ed. 2010) excerpt and text search
- Haycock,David Boyd and Sally Archer, eds. Health and Medicine at Sea, 1700-1900 (Woodbridge Boydell Press, 2009) online review
- Black, Jeremy. Naval Power: A History of Warfare and the Sea from 1500 Onwards (2009)
- O'Hara, Glen. (2009) "‘The Sea is Swinging Into View’": Modern British Maritime History in a Globalised World," English Historical Review, Vol. 124 Issue 510, pp 1109–1134
- Sobecki, S. (2008) The Sea and Medieval English Literature
- Hattendorf, John B. (4 vol. 2007) Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History
- Fremont-Barnes, Gregory. (2007) The Royal Navy 1793-1815 (Battle Orders) excerpt and text search
- Kennedy, Paul M. The Rise And Fall of British Naval Mastery (2nd ed. 2006) excerpt and text search
- Shiflett, T. D. (2005). America's Line of Battle: Its Construction & History. Tiger Lily Publications LLC. ISBN 0-9776072-1-6
- Callo, J. F. (2004). Who's Who in Naval History ISBN 0-415-30828-3
- Rasor, Eugene L. (2004) English/British Naval History to 1815: A Guide to the Literature; (1990) British Naval History after 1815: A Guide to the Literature
- Herman, Arthur. (2004) To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World
- Friel, Ian. (2003) The British Museum Maritime History of Britain and Ireland: c.400 - 2001
- Chen, Yan (2002). Maritime Silk Route and Chinese-Foreign Cultural Exchanges. Beijing: Peking University Press. ISBN 7-301-03029-0.
- Burnett, John. (2002). Dangerous Waters: Modern Piracy and Terror on the High Seas
- Symonds, Craig L., and William J. Clipson (2001). The Naval Institute Historical Atlas of the U.S. Navy. Naval Institute Press.
- Deng, Gang. Maritime Sector, Institutions, and Sea Power of Premodern China (1999) online
- Labaree, Benjamin W. et al. (1998) America and the Sea: A Maritime History; 686 pp excerpt and text search; covers the men and women involved in exploring, fishing, merchant marine, the navy, coastal trade, river boats, and canals.
- Bjork, Katharine. (1998). "The Link That Kept the Philippines Spanish: Mexican Merchant Interests and the Manila Trade, 1571–1815" Journal of World History 1#1 pp. 25–50.
- Rodger, Nicholas. (1997) The Safeguard of the Sea: A Naval History of Britain Vol 1: 660-1649 and (2004) The Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain, 1649-1815
- Stopford, Martin. Maritime Economics (2nd ed. 1997) online
- Hill, J.R. (1995) The Oxford Illustrated History of the Royal Navy
- De La Pedraja, René. Historical Dictionary of the U.S. Merchant Marine and Shipping Industry: Since the Introduction of Steam (1994) online
- Sager, Eric W. Ships and Memories: Merchant Seafarers in Canada's Age of Steam (1993) online
- Love, Jr., Robert W., (1992) History of the U.S. Navy (2 vol) excerpt and text search vol 1; excerpt and text search vol 2
- Chang, Pin-tsun. (1989). "The Evolution of Chinese Thought on Maritime Foreign Trade from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Century," International Journal of Maritime History 1: 51–64.
- Needham, Joseph (1986). Science and Civilization in China: Volume 4, Part 3. Taipei: Caves Books Ltd.
- Potter, E. B. (1981) Sea Power: A Naval History; worldwide combat history
- Boxer, Charles R. (1969) The Portuguese Seaborne Empire, 1415-1825
- Parry, J. H. (1973) The Spanish seaborne empire
- Boxer, Charles R. (1965) The Dutch Seaborne Empire 1600–1800
- Morison, S. E. (1961). The maritime history of Massachusetts, 1783-1860. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
- Burwash, Dorothy, English Merchant Shipping, 1460-1540 (1947) online
- Paine, Ralph D. The Old Merchant Marine: A Chronicle of American Ships and Sailers (1919) online
- Allen, G. W. (1913). A naval history of the American Revolution.
- Mahan, A. T. (1905). Sea power in its relations to the War of 1812. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company.
- Maclay, E. S. (1899). A history of American privateers. New York: D. Appleton and Co.
- Mahan, A. T. (1898). The influence of seapower upon the French revolution and empire, 1793-1812. Boston: Little, Brown & Co.
- Corbett, S. J. S. (1898). Drake and the Tudor navy, with a history of the rise of England as a maritime power. New York: B. Franklin.
- Mahan, A.T. (1890) The Influence of Sea Power Upon History: 1660-1783 thesingle most influential book online
- Scharf, J. T. (1887). History of the Confederate States navy from its organization to the surrender of its last vessel: Its stupendous struggle with the great navy of the United States; the engagements fought in the rivers and harbors of the South, and upon the high seas; blockade-running, first use of iron-clads and torpedoes, and privateer history.online
Primary sources 
- Hattendorf, John B. et al. eds. (1991) British Naval documents, 1204–1960 (1993)
-  Coriolis: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Maritime Studies
- International Commission for Maritime History
- The Institute of Maritime History , a non-profit institute focused on research, preservation and education in maritime history.
- Society for Nautical Research
- Federation of Maritime History and Archeology Research (Sorbonne University)
- International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility
- The Australian Association for Maritime History