Shield of Empire, The Royal Navy and Scotland


The author has established a reputation for well-researched and executed maritime histories. He has particularly established a strong reputation in writing detailed histories of the wooden ship navies of the Napoleonic War period. Here he embarks on a different voyage of discovery that goes some way to redressing the neglect of Scottish naval history by naval historians. With the Union of Crowns in 1603 and the Union of Parliaments in 1707 any separate Scottish naval tradition was absorbed into the predominately English Royal Navy. The more recent Scottish naval contribution has been treated as just a part of the British naval tradition. Scottish naval history has suffered as a result of the timing of the linking of Scotland with England, Wales and Ireland. It coincided with the development of the gun-armed naval vessel. As the gun was introduced it required a ship that was built to carry it and that started to separate warships from merchant ships. The Union of England and Scotland spanned one hundred years of rapid naval development that saw the emergence of the armed cruiser and the line of battle ship. Before the Sixteenth Century, formal standing navies were unusual. Ships that were built for trade were impressed into naval service with few modifications.

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