Causes of the rise of naval power?

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,132
Canary Islands-Spain
Navies are developed by states or peoples that have a large, wealthy, influential mercantile class dependant on sea-born trade. viz Tyre, Athens, Rhodes, Carthage, Byzantium, Venice , Genoa, Holland, Great Britain, Japan, USA et al. Navies exist to defend and extend such trade.
Sometimes a powerful, less commercial, continental state (Sparta, Macedon, Rome, Caliphate, Ottomans, Spain (?), France, Imperial Germany, Russia) can develop a Navy for strategic reasons. But Navies are expensive, and usually other competing priorities keep them from permanently challenging true commercial-maritime powers, for whom a Navy is the top priority.
Spain is just in the mid point of being a continental and a naval power. This duality led to its rise and stability, but as well as to its demise on the long term because of the impossibility of sustaining such effort
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,239
Sydney
Well , the wealth of the new world did , for a while , allowed some convergence
but even the fortune of the new world couldn't in the end maintain a world projection of power on lands and on seas
 
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tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
13,933
Pre-modern navies were obscenely expensive, required specialized skills to construct and function, needed constant upkeep,
true of modern navies as well

in fact the rapid build up of the soviet navy starting in the 60s may have been a significant factor in the eventual bankrupcy and then fall of the USSR

The latest US aircraft carriers cost about $13 bio a piece (and that is without all the supporting ships)....And to operate the carrier group costs another $1 bio per year roughly.... Which is why even wealthy countries such as France or Britain cannot afford more than one or 2 carriers (and theirs are cheaper)...
 
Jul 2019
687
New Jersey
Until the development of lateen rigged ships (the caravel), ships were generally limited to coastal waters.
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,899
Blachernai

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,899
Blachernai
true of modern navies as well
Absolutely, but modern states have more options for how to build and fund navies, and different economic imperatives for why they might invest enormous sums in ships as well.
 

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,132
Canary Islands-Spain
Well , the wealth of the new world did , for a while , allowed some convergence
but even the fortune of the new world couldn't in the end maintain a world projection of power on lands and on seas
Exactly. When the other European powers catch up, the Spanish had to do a choice. This happened twice:

By 1700, it was clear Spain couldn't compete fighting at sea (against England) and land (against France). The Spanish allied with France, and so freed itself from continental affairs: the army was redeployed to support sea expansion, the Pyrenees was a safe border and most of the budget through the 18th century was focused on developing a sea naval power to confront UK. Focusing on land fighting in continental Europe and leaving aside naval power was not an option after all.

When the French Revolution broke out, the Pyrenees wasn't safe any more, and the naval budget was cut. Most of the expenditures went for the land army, in spite of the alliance with France after 1796. Trafalgar and the invasion of 1808 fully destroyed the Spanish navy, while all resources were focused on fighting the invading French to the last man on land.

In the process, Spain as a global power was destroyed.
 
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Aug 2015
12
Idaho
Even the ancients understood that metallic ships float; the matter was the power to drive them.
Neither wind nor oars could push metallic ships.
The County of Peebles was just one of the iron hulled sailing ships. The five masted Preussen was the largest and was fast, being able to make 16 knots.
 

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
13,933
They cost a lot, in both materiel and lives, and were primarily put in the water (both the Romans and the Athenians built extensive ship sheds; not sure about others) en masse for short but intensive bouts of warfare. In the Hellenistic period running an expensive navy was in part a prestige exercise as well.
Yes and Athens was mostly able to finance its navy thanks to its silver mines....

In 300 years of active mining, Laurion provided almost 3,000 tons of pure silver.

So that would be 10 tons per year on average or roughly 400 talents

Current estimates are that a trireme cost about 2 talents to build but was much more expensive to operate (about a talent per month)

An Attic weight talent was approximately 26.0 kg

An Attic talent was the equivalent of 6,000 drachmae


In 415 BC, an Attic talent was a month's pay for a trireme crew

Hellenistic mercenaries were commonly paid one drachma per day of military service
 

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
13,933
Navies are developed by states or peoples that have a large, wealthy, influential mercantile class dependant on sea-born trade. viz Tyre, Athens, Rhodes, Carthage, Byzantium, Venice , Genoa, Holland, Great Britain, Japan, USA et al. Navies exist to defend and extend such trade.
Sometimes a powerful, less commercial, continental state (Sparta, Macedon, Rome, Caliphate, Ottomans, Spain (?), France, Imperial Germany, Russia) can develop a Navy for strategic reasons. But Navies are expensive, and usually other competing priorities keep them from permanently challenging true commercial-maritime powers, for whom a Navy is the top priority.
An additional cause seems to be sufficient safety on land.... e.g being an Island (UK, Japan) or having easily defensible borders (e.g Spain) or having no serious land threats (e.g. Carthage, US) allows the country/entity to focus on naval forces without having the need to maintian large ground armies to defend itself...
 
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