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The 1500s and 1600s were turbulent times for England and France, with both nations engaging in dynastic struggle, religious conflict and overseas colonisation. Facing each other across the Channel, the naval expansion of the two countries was also closely intertwined. Each influenced the naval programmes of the other, both directly and indirectly. Join us for a free online talk demonstrating the close relationship between naval power and state strength in early-modern Europe.

Were the English and French sea forces ‘royal’ navies? How did national cooperation and rivalry influence the development of European sea power? What do the interconnected reigns of Henry VIII, Francis I, Charles I and Louis XIII have in common? How did monarchs and statesmen fund the expansion of early modern navies? How did the politics of England and France influence the way each kingdom viewed the sea?

Dr Benjamin Redding (University of East Anglia) will present new findings using letters, memoirs, official reports, account books and other sources from the archives of both countries. He will address administrative, fiscal and technological aspects of naval development, and challenge the received wisdom about the weakness of French naval power compared to that England. 


All welcome- but booking is required.