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Naval Battles

Development of naval warfare.Created by: PICRYLDated: 1760
[plakett i ramens n kant:] "J. T. Schoultz 1754 - 1800-talets början Retraiten från Wiborg den 3 Julii 1790"
The first recorded sea battle occurred about 1210 BC: Hittites defeated and burned the Cyprus fleet. Athens protected itself from Persia by building a fleet paid for by silver mines profits. Romans developed the technique of grappling and boarding enemy ships with soldiers. Constantinople invented a Greek fire, a flamethrower to burn enemy's ships. Torpedo was invented by the Arab Hasan al-Rammah in 1275.

With the Age of Discovery, naval actions in defense of the new colonies grew in scale. In 1588, Spain sent Armada to subdue the English fleet of Elizabeth, but Admiral Sir Charles Howard won the battle, marking the rise of the Pax Britannica. Anglo-Dutch Wars were the first wars to be conducted entirely at sea. Most memorable of these battles was the raid on the Medway, in which the Dutch sailed up the river Thames, and destroyed most of the British fleet.

The 18th century was a period of continuous naval wars, in the Mediterranean, in the Atlantic Ocean, and in the Baltic Sea. The Napoleonic Wars culminating in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

With the advent of the steamship, it became possible to create massive gun platforms and to provide them with heavy armor protection. The battle of the CSS Virginia and USS Monitor in the American Civil War that symbolized the changing times. In the 20th century, the steel-armored battleships with large shell turret guns emerged. The Russo-Japanese Battle of Tsushima in 1905 was the first test of the new concepts, resulting in Japanese victory.

Airpower became key to navies throughout the 20th century, moving to jets launched from ever-larger carriers, and augmented by cruisers armed with guided missiles and cruise missiles. During the Pacific War of World War II, the carriers and their airplanes were the stars and the United States became the world's dominant sea power. The Falklands War, however, showed the vulnerability of modern ships to sea-skimming missiles.

Parallel to the development of naval aviation was the development of submarines. In the 1950s the Cold War inspired the development of ballistic missile submarines.
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1,250 Media in collectionpage 1 of 13
Two ships from BL Royal 10 E IV, f. 19

Two ships from BL Royal 10 E IV, f. 19

Detail of a bas-de-page scene of two ships engaged in a battle. Image taken from f. 19 of Decretals of Gregory IX with glossa ordinaria (the 'Smithfield Decretals'). Written in Latin.

Naval battle from BL Royal 20 D I, f. 258

Naval battle from BL Royal 20 D I, f. 258

Detail of a bas-de-page miniature of a naval battle. Image taken from f. 258 of Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César, part 3 of the second redaction. Written in French.

Hannibal from BL Royal 20 D I, f. 297

Hannibal from BL Royal 20 D I, f. 297

Bas-de-page miniature of a sea battle with Hannibal. Image taken from f. 297 of Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César, part 3 of the second redaction. Written in French.

Hannibal from BL Royal 20 D I, f. 396v

Hannibal from BL Royal 20 D I, f. 396v

Bas-de-page miniature of a sea battle with Hannibal. Image taken from f. 396v of Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César, part 3 of the second redaction. Written in French.

Naval battle from BL Royal 20 D I, f. 258

Naval battle from BL Royal 20 D I, f. 258

Bas-de-page miniature of a naval battle. Image taken from f. 258 of Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César, part 3 of the second redaction. Written in French.

Hannibal from BL Royal 20 D I, f. 297v

Hannibal from BL Royal 20 D I, f. 297v

Bas-de-page miniature of a sea battle with Hannibal, and the suicide of Hannibal. Image taken from f. 297v of Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César, part 3 of the second redaction. Written in French.

Naval battle from BL Royal 20 D I, f. 264

Naval battle from BL Royal 20 D I, f. 264

Bas-de-page miniature of a naval battle. Image taken from f. 264 of Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César, part 3 of the second redaction. Written in French.

Naval battle from BL Royal 20 D I, f. 263v

Naval battle from BL Royal 20 D I, f. 263v

Bas-de-page miniature of a naval battle. Image taken from f. 263v of Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César, part 3 of the second redaction. Written in French.

Naval battle between English and Flemings from BL Royal 14 E IV, f. 276

Naval battle between English and Flemings from BL Royal 14 E IV, f. 27...

Miniature of a naval battle between English and Flemings at the Battle of Sluys. Image taken from f. 276 of Recueil des croniques d’Engleterre. Written in French.

Naval battle between English and Flemings from BL Royal 14 E IV, f. 276

Naval battle between English and Flemings from BL Royal 14 E IV, f. 27...

Detail of a miniature of a naval battle between English and Flemings at the Battle of Sluys. Image taken from f. 276 of Recueil des croniques d’Engleterre. Written in French.

Naval Battle (Recto); Forest with Angel (Verso)

Naval Battle (Recto); Forest with Angel (Verso)

Anonymous, Italian, 16th century (Italian, active Central Italy, ca. 1550–1580)

The Sea Battle in the Gulf of Morbihan

The Sea Battle in the Gulf of Morbihan

Workshop of Taddeo Zuccaro (Italian, Sant'Angelo in Vado 1529–1566 Rome)

Ancient Naval Battle (Recto); Park with Monuments (Verso)
Questo il uero disegno et forma della potentissima armata venetiana partita alli 23 luio da Corphu uerso Cipro ? trouat l'armata inimica 1570

Questo il uero disegno et forma della potentissima armata venetiana pa...

Engraved print shows sailing ships from the Venetian armada in formation from 1570. Title from first line of key caption. Reference copy in LOT 4601, no. 226B. Illustration in: Hauslab Album, plate 226B. Origin... more

Johannes Staden of Hessen fights with French ship at Buttugaris, Brazil

Johannes Staden of Hessen fights with French ship at Buttugaris, Brazi...

Battle between 3 ships and Indians. Illus. in: Theodor de Bry, America, pt. 3, Frankfurt, 1593, page 7. Reference copy may be in LOT 4411. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Caption ca... more

Naval Combat

Naval Combat

Jacques Callot (French, Nancy 1592–1635 Nancy)

Naval Battle Scene

Naval Battle Scene

Reinier Nooms, called Zeeman (Dutch, Amsterdam ca. 1623–1664 Amsterdam)

Naval Battle

Naval Battle

Reinier Nooms, called Zeeman (Dutch, Amsterdam ca. 1623–1664 Amsterdam)

Disigno dell' isola de Gerbi con le seche che la difendeno dall' inondatione del mare, ...

Disigno dell' isola de Gerbi con le seche che la difendeno dall' inond...

Print shows an assault on Jerba Island (Tunisia) by the Christian Alliance armada under the command of Andrea Doria and the arrival of the Turkish fleet; the Christian fleet retreats in advance of the Turks who... more

Instruments of Naval Combat, A Sailor Sounding the Trumpet

Instruments of Naval Combat, A Sailor Sounding the Trumpet

Reinier Nooms, called Zeeman (Dutch, Amsterdam ca. 1623–1664 Amsterdam)

Naval Battle

Naval Battle

Reinier Nooms, called Zeeman (Dutch, Amsterdam ca. 1623–1664 Amsterdam)

The Final of a Naval Battle

The Final of a Naval Battle

Reinier Nooms, called Zeeman (Dutch, Amsterdam ca. 1623–1664 Amsterdam)

Kurtze und grundliche erzehelung der Machtigen vnd vbertrefflichen Armada Schiffen der Mugenden Edl. Herrn Staten, vnderm beleit des Hochgeb. Printzen Mauritij von Nassauw

Kurtze und grundliche erzehelung der Machtigen vnd vbertrefflichen Arm...

Print shows birdseye view of many sailing ships coming into the harbor near the island of Vulpen and map of the area around Biervliet, Vlissingen and Sluis in the Netherlands. Includes plan of the forts and loc... more

Eine Cracke von S. Thome Wirdt...

Eine Cracke von S. Thome Wirdt...

Dutch? naval battle. Engraving by Thodor de Bry. Illus. in: Theodor de Bry, India Orientalis (Peregrination in India), 1605, part 7, plate XII. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Capti... more

Naval attack in harbor

Naval attack in harbor

Print shows a birds-eye view of ships engaged in battle in the harbor in front of a large city. Embankment, quais, watch towers and city buildings are visible as are hills and river in the background. Details n... more

S. Salvador

S. Salvador

Print shows a birds-eye view of ships flying Dutch flags approaching the harbor Baya de Todos os Sanctos to the entrance of Salvador in Brazil. In May 1624, Dutch forces captured the town of Salvador in Brazil.... more

Fernambuch Citta principale nel Regno del Brasil acquistato dalli Signori Stati delli Paesi Bassi l'Anno 1630 adi 2. di Marzo per Francesco Valesio

Fernambuch Citta principale nel Regno del Brasil acquistato dalli Sign...

Print shows birds-eye view of the port of Pernambuco [Fernambuch] and the city Olinda in Brazil during the Dutch occupation of the region in 1630. Shown are ships entering along the coast and the confluence of... more

Entwerffung von Eroberung der Stadt Olinda so in der Hauptmansschaft Pharnambuco gelegen, vnd durch den Edlen Gestrengen vnd Manhafften Herrn Heinrich Cornelius Lonck, Generaln zu Wasser vnd Herrn Colonell Wartenburg zu Land eingenommen, Welche Eygentlich abgebildet vnd mit dem Jagd Schiff, der Braeck genannt überschicket worden

Entwerffung von Eroberung der Stadt Olinda so in der Hauptmansschaft P...

Print shows birds-eye view of the harbor and the hillside city of Olinda in Brazil in 1630. Shown are ships entering along the coast flying Dutch flags, flames visible in the background, troops and scenic backg... more

A naval battle, a rowboat full of men to left, a sinking ship to right, two galleys battling in center, other ships battle to left in the background, from 'Various landscapes' (Divers paysages)

A naval battle, a rowboat full of men to left, a sinking ship to right...

Stefano della Bella (Italian, Florence 1610–1664 Florence)

Wahrhaffter vnd in Grundgelegter Abriss der Kays. Reichstatt Vberlingen am Bodensee gelegen welche durch grobes Schandtliches vbersehen vnd Vnfürsichtigkeit selbiger Burgerschafft den 30. Januarij Anno 1643. In die Hände der Frantzosen gerahten, hernach aber den 20 Januarij diss Anno 1644 Jahrs von der Chur Bayrischen Reichs Armada durch Ihr Exell. Herrn Feldzeugmaister Mertsi widerumb (vnd wie vor Augen zusehen) mit Schantzen vnd Reduten ploquiert vnd umbringt worden

Wahrhaffter vnd in Grundgelegter Abriss der Kays. Reichstatt Vberlinge...

Birds-eye view print shows the plan of the city of Überlingen on the shore of Lake Constance in 1644 looking north across out from the shoreline. Remainder of the title relates that the city fell into the hands... more

Fo160096DIA

Fo160096DIA

Fo160096DIA

Svce so sequito delle scaramuzo con i turchi sotto Sebenico il giorno die Sta. Guvstina che fu adi 7 oto.re ala prezenza et interuento del Ill.mo. Emo. Sig. Iunardo Foscolo proueditor Generale di Dalmatia et Albania

Svce so sequito delle scaramuzo con i turchi sotto Sebenico il giorno ...

Birds-eye view engraving shows view from the sea looking toward the port of Šibenik, Croatia. In the hills opposite are troops and ships are in the harbor. Also shown are the St. Nicolas fortress, the island of... more

Naval Battle with an English Ship Foundering on the Left, from Naval Battles (Nieuwe Scheeps Batalien),  plate 5

Naval Battle with an English Ship Foundering on the Left, from Naval B...

Reinier Nooms, called Zeeman (Dutch, Amsterdam ca. 1623–1664 Amsterdam)

Naval Encounter with Three Vessels on the Right, from Naval Battles (Nieuwe Scheeps Batalien), plate 7

Naval Encounter with Three Vessels on the Right, from Naval Battles (N...

Reinier Nooms, called Zeeman (Dutch, Amsterdam ca. 1623–1664 Amsterdam)

Kurtze erzehlung dess starcken Schloss Cronnenburg im Sund vnd wie solcehs den 6. (16.) Septemb. diese 1658 Jahrs von den Schweden vnderm Commando dess Reichs Admirals Wrangel erobert worden

Kurtze erzehlung dess starcken Schloss Cronnenburg im Sund vnd wie sol...

Print shows ships approaching the castle of Kronborg in Helsingør, Denmark which was under siege in September 1658 from the Swedish general Carl Gustav Wrangel during war between Sweden and Denmark. Title from ... more

Duncherchen assediato dall'armi Francesi sotto il Maresciallo di Turenne alli 24. di Maggio 1658 reso alli 25 di Giugno del d. mese Lerch, fec

Duncherchen assediato dall'armi Francesi sotto il Maresciallo di Turen...

Birds-eye view print shows plan of the fortified coastal city of Dunkerque (France) under siege by French forces under command of Marshall Turenne from May 24 until June 25, 1658. Print also shows an English ar... more

Aussführliche Relation dess hefftigen See-Gefecthtes der zwey grossen See-Flotten als Ihr. Königl. Mayest. von Gross-Brittanien und der Hochmögenden Herren Staten der Vereinigten Niederlanden so Anno 1665 den 2. 3. und 4. Junij auff der Holländischen Kusten geschehen G.A. Wolfgang, sc

Aussführliche Relation dess hefftigen See-Gefecthtes der zwey grossen ...

Birds-eye view engraving shows galleon war ships engaged in battle on the sea. Smoke and fire are depicted as well as sinking ships and sailors in open boats on the water. Includes medallion portraits of the En... more

Abbildung der zwo blutigen Seeschlaten sic gehalten, auff den 7. vnd 14. Iuni 1673 zwischen beyden mächtigen königlichen Seeflotten von Franckreich vnd Englandt gegen die von den vereinigten Niderlanden ..

Abbildung der zwo blutigen Seeschlaten sic gehalten, auff den 7. vnd 1...

Birds-eye view engraving shows three views on one sheet. The top and largest picture shows galleon ships involved in battle on the sea. The picture on the lower left shows a plan of the star fortress of "Langac... more

Zeeslag
Preisswürdige Siegs-Progressen der Christen wider die Türken in Eroberung der Hungarischen Vestung Vicegrad so geschehen den 16. Junii dieses itzgelauffenden 1684. Jahrs vermittelst eines accuraten Kupffers vorgestellet, und dem Curieusen Leser wolmeinend mitgetheilet

Preisswürdige Siegs-Progressen der Christen wider die Türken in Erober...

Print shows a birdseye view of the mountain fortress of Visegrád, Hungary under attack in 1684. Includes views of a ship approaching the shore, troops amassed along the shoreline, tents of the generals and hill... more

Die Vestung Neüheusel wie solche Anno 1685 von der Christlichen Armada Balägert

Die Vestung Neüheusel wie solche Anno 1685 von der Christlichen Armada...

Print shows a birdseye view of the the star shaped fortress of Neuhäusel (Nové Zámky, Slovakia) under attack in a battle between Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Turkish forces. Includes vies of troops on horseback... more

Abbildung der Vestung Neu-Novarino in Morea sambt warhafftem und umständlichen Bericht welcher Gestalt selbige sampt der Vestung Alt-Novarino von der Venetianischen Armada den 15. Junii dieses 1686sten Jahrs glücklich erobert, der Feind aus dem Feld geschlagen, und grosse Beuten erhalten

Abbildung der Vestung Neu-Novarino in Morea sambt warhafftem und umstä...

Print shows a birds-eye view of the seaside fortress of Pylos (Navarino, Greece) in 1686. Includes views of ships in the harbor, troops marching through a mountain pass in the north and the star shaped fortress... more