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The Diffusion of Military Power by Michael C. Horowitz

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Chapter 5

BATTLEFLEET WARFARE

ON OCTOBER 21, 1805, Admiral Horatio Nelson and his British fleet wiped out a combined French and Spanish fleet at Trafalgar, ushering in decades of British naval superiority. In 1828, following a victory over the Ottoman Navy at Navarino in 1827 and conscious of their global leadership in sea power, the lords of the British Admiralty issued a regulation discouraging the development of steam-powered boats with the logic that any naval technological innovations would only threaten Britain’s naval predominance. These regulations controlled the British Navy for thirty years; in 1851 the British Navy still looked like it had for much of the last three centuries, dominated by ships of the line. After the introduction ...

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