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Most powerful Martime power of the last 500 years

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Poll Question: Which one do you think is the favorite for the title
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    Posted: 23 May 2010 at 22:47
Opinions anyone?

Edited to remove Sweden and replaced it with the Russian/Soviet Union due to geographical reach and world wide influence. No offense intended towards the Swedes on the board.



Edited by Panther - 27 May 2010 at 06:54
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2010 at 12:15
As phrased a pointless question. One nuclear submarine today could destroy all the world's navies put together over the last 500 years. Given I suppose it had enough ammunition.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 2010 at 00:05
The answer is obvious, the British. Except that the US was such for most of the time in the last century until now.  But I don't understand how come the other guys are even on the list, especially, Belgium ? Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 2010 at 02:19
I voted for the Brits, for length of naval superiority and also that they achieved such a hegemonic disparity in naval strength compared to their superpower peers.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 2010 at 06:14
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

  But I don't understand how come the other guys are even on the list, especially, Belgium ? Smile


Ahem...  Because i am a super-duper cool guy! CoolBig smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 2010 at 15:42
Oh, right, now all of that makes sense... Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SPQR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2010 at 18:48
I voted for the Royal Navy because of span of time in which they were dominant and also the proportion of the other navies through its heyday, 1600's 1800's. It victories were remarkable like the Spanish Armada, Trafalgar, and Battle of the Nile, and its leaders like Lord Nelson. The U.S. Navy is the greatest navy today but it doesn't go unmatched especially if you add up the combined naval forces of the Commonwealth who could put up a fight. In the golden age of the Royal Navy, there never really was no true competitor only the Spanish (which became irrelevant after The Armada was sunk) and the French Navy (never really could go toe to toe with the Royal Navy).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2010 at 20:29
I await Dr G's reaction with interest Cool
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2010 at 22:02
Yeah, the Royal Navy was absolutely unmached in all the aspects for most of the time during the last five centuries.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2010 at 02:35
Okay, i do have a very healthy respect for the Royal Navy, heck i should say that i am an admirer of her maritime prowess! But just for the sake of an argument, let's say that the Royal Navy was only superior by the number of ships and men she could muster as opposed to any of her rivals in a international crisis, with the ratio of perhaps 3:1. Giving the British the ability to flood and overwhelm any of her opponents in whatever area was contested at the time before her opponents had time too react.

However, in single ship combat, how would or did the RN really fare against other rivals, primarily the US, French, or Germany throughout the 19th and perhaps even into the first decade of the twentieth. Of Germans, did the latter ever especially engage the RN in single ship actions before the great war? If not, then how might a hypothetical scenario had played out between the two?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2010 at 02:46
Hmmm... But in many instances, British had less ships than their opponents. The most famous example if Trafalgar...
 
It was not just the numbers, but rather technologies and advanced skills of the commanders and crews...
 
Germany didn't have strong fleet at all until the start of the 20th century. In the second half of the 19th century the most strongest navies were British-1, French-2 and Russian-3.  BTW, I don't understand why Russia-USSR isn't on the list, if even Belgium is there (BTW the Russian navy crushed Swedish and Ottoman navies). Smile


Edited by Sarmat - 27 May 2010 at 02:48
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2010 at 04:19
Trafalgar is a good point in the differences of attitudes towards seamanship between France and Britain. However, what about when the attitudes in seamanship are nearly identical, or nearly so? I admit i was rather thinking of the war of 1812. Individual American frigates had bested their RN counter parts more often than not, that is until the British government got fed up with it and had the RN flood US water's with their ships, thereby effectively bottling them up in port at the risk of overwhelming annihilation, for the duration of the war.

Not that i have anything against the Russian navy, but...  the battle of Tsushima!


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2010 at 04:28
Tsushima what ?
 
What is the point of including France and Spain after Trafalgar, Spain  after Gravelines and debalces of Spanish-American war? Ottomans after Lepanto, Navarino and Sinop etc.?  Even US after Pearl-Harbor...?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2010 at 05:01
Not that i want too try and prick your Russian pride, but France did have a colonial empire that existed into the 20th century. Spain's empire, while it did not make it into the nineteenth or twentieth as powerful as it once was in the centuries prior, was still powerful powerful enough too have founded itself an empire from the Americas and into the Pacific before all the other ones got going and then of course there was the British. The mentioned maritime powers flourished on, even during moments of reversal, until well... for the lack of better word, the world had changed!

Unfortunately for the Russians in this regard, was that she was predominantly a land power. Whatever quality navy they had from the late nineteenth century was effectively crushed by the Japanese at the mentioned battle, leaving Russia with no effective warm water port which continued to dog them throughout the twentieth century! Forget the Black seas fleet having any contributing effect, it could be and was effectively bottled up by a stronger maritime power in times of war.

 Now i imagine that if the Russian had won the battle at Tsushima, then things might have been drastically different by the mid twentieth century mark by the time of the second world war. Perhaps even a very quiet Pacific? But they did not win and so they became a minor player, if even that, in the Pacific until after the Pacific war! That is why i did not put Russia up there, not because i think any less of her naval prowess, but because of their short duration as a maritime power at any point and the lack for a significant impact in any part of the world!

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Edited by Panther - 27 May 2010 at 05:03
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2010 at 05:54
Hmmm...  But this is complitely incorrect.  And it doesn't have to do with any "pride" of mine. You put on the list such countries as Sweden, Denmark and the Ottomans?
 
Pleas tell me how those "maritime powers" were any stronger than the Russian power?
 
"Short duration as a maritime power at any point and the lack of a significant impact in any part of the world" Ermm  How about Black and Baltic seas were the Russian maritime power has been dominating for the last 300 years?
 
During the Cold War the Soviet Navy was the second to the US only by its strength and even was exceeding the US Navy in submarine capabilities.
 
Moreover, the Soviet Navy operated world wide and its main ports were in Barents Seas (Murmansk for your information never freezes) and the Pacific, Cuba, Vietnam and Africa. It even was stationed in Port-Arthur for 10 years after WWII (effectively, overwriting the results of the Russo-Japanese war), but I bet you didn't know about that... It supeceded British, French and other, etc. navies except the American...
 
Now, you're trying to say that Denmark or Sweden were more signficiant maritime powers than Russia... Why?  Is that because they had some overseas territories?
 
But Russia had a large overseas colony in North America at some point as well...
 
So, sorry but your "list" doesn't make sense...
 
Or you need to define, precisely, what you mean by "maritime power."


Edited by Sarmat - 27 May 2010 at 06:09
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2010 at 06:32
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

Hmmm...  But this is complitely incorrect.  And it doesn't have to do with any "pride" of mine. You put on the list such countries as Sweden, Denmark and the Ottomans?
 
Pleas tell me how those "maritime powers" were any stronger than the Russian power?


Okay. Now that you put it that way, i think i am starting to see your point.

Quote
"Short duration as a maritime power at any point and the lack of a significant impact in any part of the world" Ermm  How about Black and Baltic sea?


Again, any major maritime power can effectively block the Russians in, especially in the black sea!

Quote
During the Cold War the Soviet Navy was the second to the US only by its strength and even was exceeding the US Navy in submarine capabilities.


Yes, by the efforts of the US and allied navies from world war 2. How truly effective was the soviet navy at that time and after the forties?

Quote
Moreover, the Soviet Navy operated world wide and its main ports were in Barents Seas (Murmansk for your information never freezes) and the Pacific, Cuba, Vietnam and Africa. It even was stationed in Port-Arthur for 10 years after WWII (effectively, overwriting the results of the Russo-Japanese war), but I bet you didn't know about that... Effectively, it supeceded British, French and other, etc. navies except the American...
 


Uh - huh and easily tracked from Norway, Iceland, UK and Greenland. Where incidentally... major Nato navies had conveniently  placed ports for a reason. As for the Pacific, they were not the power that the British and the Japanese were at the beginning of the 20th nor the US at the end of it.

Also again, yes i knew that they were stationed at Port Arthur, but not by their naval efforts did they arrive there. I seriously doubt the Soviet navy was any match for the Japanese navy at any point before then! Besides numbers do not equal quality of seamanship, especially against more established maritime powers. I'm not saying Russians make horrible sailors. I'm just saying their lives did not revolve around having a powerful maritime navy or even a pride in their navy like the British, Japanese or the US exhibited!

Quote
Now, you're trying to say that Belgium or Sweden were more signficiant maritime powers than Russia... Why?  Is that because they had some overseas territories?


Because i hate Russia! TongueWink No seriously, your early point is being taken into consideration.

Quote
But Russia had a large overseas colony in North America at some point as well...


Sure Alaska, but what... phhhttt... anybody with a canoe could have crossed the Bering strait! Tongue Anyways should it even really count?

 
Quote
So, sorry but your "list" doesn't make sense...


If i i put Russia on the list and took off one of the above, then would it make more sense? No snark intended. It is a serious question.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2010 at 11:43
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

Trafalgar is a good point in the differences of attitudes towards seamanship between France and Britain.
Not really a difference of attitude to seamanship, which usually relates to the skills involved in battling nature, not other ships. A prime difference in the wars from say 1760-1815 was to do with French failure to give commanders sufficient freedom and their concentration on 'keeping the fleet in being'.
 
I'd say in fact that the single biggest factor (apart from Britain having more money) was the British attitude to risk. There was no French counter-example to Nelson's famous dictum that any captain who laid his ship alongside the enemy had anything to fear from defeat.
Quote  
However, what about when the attitudes in seamanship are nearly identical, or nearly so? I admit i was rather thinking of the war of 1812. Individual American frigates had bested their RN counter parts more often than not, that is until the British government got fed up with it and had the RN flood US water's with their ships, thereby effectively bottling them up in port at the risk of overwhelming annihilation, for the duration of the war.
From Chesapeake Bay (1781) to Coronel (1914)  the Royal Navy lost no engagements except single-ship actions between frigates in the war of 1812. Apart from the fact that there was little to choose between the crews, many of those on the American side having served with the Royal Navy before, the main difference was technological, in that the US had been building 42/44-gun heavy frigates as against the British 36-gun (or even 28-gun) frigates, with not only greater firepower, but bigger crews and thicker planking.
 
The famous battle between USS Chesapeake and  HMS Shannon in 1813 was fought on more or less equal terms, both being 38-gun vessels (though Chesapeake was bigger) and ended in victory for Shannon.



Edited by gcle2003 - 27 May 2010 at 11:44
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2010 at 14:38
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

 
Now, you're trying to say that Denmark or Sweden were more signficiant maritime powers than Russia... Why?  Is that because they had some overseas territories?
 
The Russian navy is very young, more or less exactly 300 years old, and it was weaker than the Swedish and Danish during its first century after which the latter two countries had diminished from any sort of importance anyway - especially after Copenhagen and Sweden's loss of its eastern half. The Russian navy never "crushed" the Swedish as you claim either. Anyhow none of the three have anything to do on a voting list.

For the timeframe only the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, English/British and American have any sort of claim. Belgium I presume is a joke.


Edited by Styrbiorn - 27 May 2010 at 16:58
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2010 at 14:46
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:





Again, any major maritime power can effectively block the Russians in, especially in the black sea!
 
This is a very vague statement. Cause for the most part of the last century nobody could really block the Russian navy for the reasons described above. The Black sea fleet for the less important of all the Soviet fleets...



Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:


Yes, by the efforts of the US and allied navies from world war 2. How truly effective was the soviet navy at that time and after the forties?

I'm not really getting the point here, because I was talking about the time after WWII.
 

Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:



Uh - huh and easily tracked from Norway, Iceland, UK and Greenland. Where incidentally... major Nato navies had conveniently  placed ports for a reason. As for the Pacific, they were not the power that the British and the Japanese were at the beginning of the 20th nor the US at the end of it.
 
Well. What if I say that the Japanese navy was a joke compare to the Soviet during the cold war? All that analysis is very "relative"


Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

Also again, yes i knew that they were stationed at Port Arthur, but not by their naval efforts did they arrive there. I seriously doubt the Soviet navy was any match for the Japanese navy at any point before then! Besides numbers do not equal quality of seamanship, especially against more established maritime powers. I'm not saying Russians make horrible sailors. I'm just saying their lives did not revolve around having a powerful maritime navy or even a pride in their navy like the British, Japanese or the US exhibited!
 
This is incorrect. Because "maritime power" was quite important concept for Russia/USSR at some times of its history.

Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:



Quote
But Russia had a large overseas colony in North America at some point as well...


Sure Alaska, but what... phhhttt... anybody with a canoe could have crossed the Bering strait! Tongue Anyways should it even really count?
 
Besides Alaska do you know that Hawaii was a Russian protectorate?

Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:


If i i put Russia on the list and took off one of the above, then would it make more sense? No snark intended. It is a serious question.
 
Yeah, it will look better. But still this list weird Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2010 at 14:55
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

 
Besides Alaska do you know that Hawaii was a Russian protectorate?
The Schäffer affair is hardly something to boast about as far as colonial ventures go Tongue


Edited by Styrbiorn - 27 May 2010 at 15:04
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2010 at 16:55
No boasting, but it's an interesting fact.
 
Russian trade and naval activities in the Pacific in the late 18th and in the 19th centuries were quite substantial.  BTW, some researchers even believe that it were Russian who discovered the Antarctic continent. Tongue 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2010 at 17:24
Originally posted by Styrbiorn Styrbiorn wrote:


Belgium I presume is a joke.


Why would i joke about something like Belgium's navy? Wink

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2010 at 17:49
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:


 
This is a very vague statement. Cause for the most part of the last century nobody could really block the Russian navy for the reasons described above. The Black sea fleet for the less important of all the Soviet fleets...


No one really tried because there was no need to do so until a shooting war.


Quote
I'm not really getting the point here, because I was talking about the time after WWII.


They weren't anywhere near effective in the Pacific before or during the war, let alone never even once participating until the IJN was defeated! There was no proof in the pudding, so to speak. Leaving me too conclude that afterward, they never really represented a threat to the US Navy or it's regional allies in the Pacific!

Quote
 
Well. What if I say that the Japanese navy was a joke compare to the Soviet during the cold war? All that analysis is very "relative"


Hmmm... well their navy did become a shell of it's former self. Did the Soviets have anything to do with that? Still, my respect for the Japanese navy over the Soviet navy is unshaken.

Quote
This is incorrect. Because "maritime power" was quite important concept for Russia/USSR at some times of its history.


I don't know about that. They never seemed to have grasped the importance of maritime trade.

Quote
Besides Alaska do you know that Hawaii was a Russian protectorate?


Hmmm... could you please supply a link to back that up?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2010 at 17:51
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

No boasting, but it's an interesting fact.
 
Russian trade and naval activities in the Pacific in the late 18th and in the 19th centuries were quite substantial.  BTW, some researchers even believe that it were Russian who discovered the Antarctic continent. Tongue 


Again, it would be nice if you could provide some links Sarmat, please.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2010 at 18:19
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:



They weren't anywhere near effective in the Pacific before or during the war, let alone never even once participating until the IJN was defeated! There was no proof in the pudding, so to speak. Leaving me too conclude that afterward, they never really represented a threat to the US Navy or it's regional allies in the Pacific!
 
 
LOL That's really funny, cause, of course, they represented a threat. I still don't get the shaky attempts to get WWII involved in this unrelated subject. Particularly, that was this military publication says:
 
 
Soviet strategic missile submarines were the greatest naval threat to the United States during the Cold War.
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:


Hmmm... well their navy did become a shell of it's former self. Did the Soviets have anything to do with that? Still, my respect for the Japanese navy over the Soviet navy is unshaken.
 
It's not relevant. We are discussing naval capabilities of different powers and not who defeated the IJM in WWII 


Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

I don't know about that. They never seemed to have grasped the importance of maritime trade.
 
Again, please define exactly what's your definition of "Maritime power"

Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

Quote
Besides Alaska do you know that Hawaii was a Russian protectorate?


Hmmm... could you please supply a link to back that up?

 
 
And again I'm not claiming that it was significant, but just for the sake of the argument.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2010 at 18:29
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

No boasting, but it's an interesting fact.
 
Russian trade and naval activities in the Pacific in the late 18th and in the 19th centuries were quite substantial.  BTW, some researchers even believe that it were Russian who discovered the Antarctic continent. Tongue 


Again, it would be nice if you could provide some links Sarmat, please.
 
Check this for example:
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2010 at 18:38
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

 
 
LOL That's really funny, cause, of course, they represented a threat. I still don't get the shaky attempts to get WWII involved in this unrelated subject.


Big smile Well, it was last major shooting war that the Soviet navy could have gotten in on in reclaiming whatever honor they had lost in 1905.

Quote
Soviet strategic missile submarines were the greatest naval threat to the United States during the Cold War.



I don't deny that ASW was the USN weak point. But as far as Soviet subs threatening the Navy's Pacific supremacy itself, no. The North American landmass however was another matter that kept American politicians up at night!

Quote
 
It's not relevant. We are discussing naval capabilities of different powers and not who defeated the IJM in WWII 


Well then, why did you bring it up? Besides, though small, the navy of Japanese self defense forces, had been capable for the last several decades of the cold war, of building itself up very quickly if the need did arise!

Quote
 
Again, please define exactly what's your definition of "Maritime power"


Well, what i am trying too say is if a country is going to have maritime trade, then they will need a navy too protect that trade from all comers. Unless of course, that is... if that country is perfectly willing and comfortable in allowing another maritime power to protect their merchant ships or if those countries pay bribes too certain parasitic countries in order to protect their trade.

Quote
 
 
And again I'm not claiming that it was significant, but just for the sake of the argument.


I see.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2010 at 08:06
Most powerful Martime power for the last 500 years -> I fail to see HallMart on the list.
 
OK, now for maritime power, which I guess is the topic.
If only powerful is the thing we're looking for, then the problem is that this term is to be narrowed to something that is significant for this discussion. So my choice would be to consider powerful one that has the ability to control the environment around itself, including the behavior of other entities (wiki and more...).
Therefore, the most powerful power powerfully poweredTongue would be the one that  has the at least the following:
1. enough tubs - numbers do matter
2. good tubs - state of the art is better than leaking buckets
2. good seamen - "10 degrees starboard !?!?! Mate, just give me a straight bourbon!"
3. enough cash/resorces - "Mein Fuhrer! if we build 100 aircraft carriers we should beat those pesky Englanders!"
4. effective activity/results - "We won the battle, Lexington is sunk! - Yeah, right! Is Hinomaru flying at Port Moresby?"
 
In the end, my choice is RN.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2010 at 17:41
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

I await Dr G's reaction with interest Cool
 
Maritime "supremacy" within the last 500 years (1510-2010)...interesting but a bit ephemeral as a defensible hypothesis. Then, as has been previously emphasized, technology had an interesting role in assuring no such claim lasted for long. Even if one starts humming "Brittania Rules the Waves", the pretension is a bit feckless since, while tonnage may rule, the incidences of exceptions clutter the pages of history.
 
No navy is invinsible and its effectiveness is solely a function of the state structure that commits it to the seas. Recall the very fears of Churchill in the summer of 1940!
 
Honi soit qui mal y pense
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Madgod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jun 2010 at 16:24
IMO England in 500 years has been a military powerhouse. New nations like Germany and USA are new and I do not put them on this list. My nation is older than Germany. England has proven time and again that her navey save her from allot of potential invaders. France, Spain, Austria.
WE ARE CANADIEN, I AM CANADIEN, EH?
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