The English and French Navies, 1500-1650: Expansion, Organisation and State-Building

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This book traces the advances and deterioration of the early modern English and French sea forces and relates these changes to concurrent developments within the respective states. Based on extensive original research in correspondence and memoirs, official reports and accounts, receipts of the exchequer and inventories in both France, where the sources are disparate and dispersed, and England, the book explores the rise of both kingdoms' naval resources from the early sixteenth to the mid seventeenth centuries. As a comparative study, it shows that, in sharing the Channel and with both countries increasing their involvement in maritime affairs, English and French naval expansion was intertwined. Directly and indirectly, the two kingdoms influenced their neighbours' sea programmes. The book first examines the administrative transformations of both navies, then goes on to discuss fiscal and technological change, and finally assesses the material expansion of the respective fleets. In so doing it demonstrates the close relationship between naval power and state strength in early modern Europe. One important argument challenges the received wisdom about the relative weakness of French naval power when compared with that of England.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherBoydell and Brewer
Number of pages252
ISBN (Electronic)9781800103993
ISBN (Print)9781783276578
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2022


  • England
  • France
  • Naval ships
  • Early modern history

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