In 1485, England was a small, inward-looking country, its priorities predominantly domestic and European. Over the subsequent two centuries, however, this country was transformed into the world's leading maritime power, as the people of the British Isles turned to the sea in search of adventure, wealth and rule. Explorers voyaged into unknown regions of the world, while merchants, following in their wake, established lucrative trade routes with the furthest reaches of the globe. At home, people across Britain increasingly engaged with the sea, whether thorough their own lived experiences or through songs, prose and countless other forms of material culture. This is therefore a story of sailors, traders and naval officers, but also of instrument-makers, dockyard workers and the scores of Britons whose livelihoods depended on seaborne commerce.
By the turn of the eighteenth-century, Britain was no longer a peripheral European nation but a fully-fledged maritime power. This development is central to the nation's story, and this book argues that what transpired at sea shaped the course of British history.
Tudor and Stuart Seafarers showcases a stellar cast of contributors, bringing together leading naval and maritime historians alongside historians of exploration and empire, and those who study the art, science and literature of the early-modern period. Lavishly illustrated with objects from the National Maritime Museum's collections, this book will appeal to anyone with an interest in maritime history.