Read CHAPTER VI of A History of Sea Power , free online book, by William Oliver Stevens and Allan Westcott, on ReadCentral.com.

OPENING THE OCEAN ROUTES

1. PORTUGAL AND THE NEW ROUTE TO INDIA

From the days of the Phoenicians to the close of the 15th century, all trade between Europe and Asia crossed the land barrier east of the Mediterranean. Delivered by Mohammedan vessels at the head of the Persian Gulf or the ports of the Red Sea, merchandise followed thence the caravan routes across Arabia or Egypt to the Mediterranean, quadrupling in value in the transit. Intercourse between East and West, active under the Romans, was again stimulated by the crusades and by Venetian traders, until in the 14th and the 15th centuries the dyes, spices, perfumes, cottons, muslins, silks, and jewels of the Orient were in demand throughout the western world. This assurance of a ready market and large profits, combined with the capture of Constantinople by the Turks (1453), their piratical attacks in the Mediterranean which continued unchecked until Lepanto, and their final barring of all trade routes through the Levant, revived among nations of western Europe the old legends of all-water routes to Asia, either around Africa or directly westward across the unknown sea.

With the opening of ocean routes and the discovery of America, a rivalry in world trade and colonial expansion set in which has continued increasingly down to the present time, forming a dominant element in the foreign policies of maritime nations and a primary motive for the possession and use of navies. The development of overseas trade, involving the factors of merchant shipping, navies, and control of the seas, is thus an integral part of the history of sea power. The great voyages of discovery are also not to be disregarded, supplying as they did the basis for colonial claims, and illustrating at the same time the progress of nautical science and geographical knowledge.

The art of navigation, though still crude, had by the 15th century so advanced that the sailor was no longer compelled to skirt the shore, with only rare ventures across open stretches of sea. The use of the compass, originating in China, had been learned from the Arabs by the crusaders, and is first mentioned in Europe towards the close of the 12th century. An Italian in England, describing a visit to the philosopher Roger Bacon in 1258, writes as follows: “Among other things he showed me an ugly black stone called a magnet ... upon which, if a needle be rubbed and afterward fastened to a straw so that it shall float upon the water, the needle will instantly turn toward the pole-star; though the night be never so dark, yet shall the mariner be able by the help of this needle to steer his course aright. But no master-mariner,” he adds, “dares to use it lest he should fall under the imputation of being a magician." By the end of the 13th century the compass was coming into general use; and when Columbus sailed he had an instrument divided as in later times into 360 degrees and 32 points, as well as a quadrant, sea-astrolabe, and other nautical devices. The astrolabe, an instrument for determining latitude by measuring the altitude of the sun or other heavenly body, was suspended from the finger by a ring and held upright at noon till the shadow of the sun passed the sights. The cross-staff, more frequently used for the same purpose by sailors of the time, was a simpler affair less affected by the ship’s roll; it was held with the lower end of the cross-piece level with the horizon and the upper adjusted to a point on a line between the eye of the observer and the sun at the zenith. By these various means the sailor could steer a fixed course and determine latitude. He had, however, as yet no trustworthy means of reckoning longitude and no accurate gauge of distance traveled. The log-line was not invented until the 17th century, and accurate chronometers for determining longitude did not come into use until still later. A common practice of navigators, adopted by Columbus, was to steer first north or south along the coast and then due west on the parallel thought to lead to the destination sought.

With the revival of classical learning in the Renaissance, geographical theories also became less wildly imaginative than in the medieval period, the charts of which, though beautifully colored and highly decorated with fauna and flora, show no such accurate knowledge even of the old world as do those of the great geographer Ptolemy, who lived a thousand years before. Ptolemy (200 A.D.), in company with the majority of learned men since Aristotle, had declared the earth to be round and had even estimated its circumference with substantial accuracy, though he had misled later students by picturing the Indian Ocean as completely surrounded by Africa, which he conceived to extend indefinitely southward and join Asia on the southeast, leaving no sea-route open from the Atlantic. There was another body of opinion of long standing, however, which outlined Africa much as it actually is. Friar Roger Bacon, whose interest in the compass has already been mentioned, collected statements of classical authorities and other evidence to show that Asia could be reached by sailing directly westward, and that the distance was not great; and this material was published in Paris in a popular Imago Mundi of 1410. In general, the best geographical knowledge of the period, though it underestimated the distance from Europe westward to Asia and was completely ignorant of the vast continents lying between, gave support to the theories which the voyages of Diaz, Vasco da Gama, and Columbus magnificently proved true.

When the best sailors of the time were Italians, and when astronomical and other scientific knowledge of use in navigation was largely monopolized by Arabs and Jews, it seems strange that the isolated and hitherto insignificant country of Portugal should have taken, and for a century or more maintained primacy in the great epoch of geographical discovery. The fact is explained, not so much by her proximity to the African coast and the outlying islands in the Atlantic, as by the energetic and well-directed patronage which Prince Henry the Navigator (1394-1460) extended to voyages of exploration and to the development of every branch of nautical art. The third son of John the Great of Portugal, and a nephew on his mother’s side of Henry IV of England, the prince in 1415 led an armada to the capture of Ceuta from the Moors, and thereafter, as governor of the conquered territory and of the southern province of Portugal, settled at Saigres near Cape St. Vincent. On this promontory, almost at the western verge of the known world, Henry founded a city, Villa do Iffante, erected an observatory on the cliff, and gathered round him the best sailors, geographers and astronomers of his age.

Under this intelligent stimulus, Portuguese navigators within a century rounded the Cape of Good Hope, opened the sea route to the Indies, discovered Brazil, circumnavigated the globe, and made Portugal the richest nation in Europe, with a great colonial empire and claims to dominion over half the seas of the world. Portuguese ships carried her flag from Labrador (which reveals its discoverers in its name) and Nova Zembla to the Malay Archipelago and Japan.

It is characteristic of the crusading spirit of the age that Prince Henry’s first ventures down the African coast were in pursuance of a vague plan to ascend one of the African rivers and unite with the legendary Christian monarch Prester John (Presbyter or Bishop John, whose realm was then supposed to be located in Abyssinia) in a campaign against the Turk. But crusading zeal changed to dreams of wealth when his ships returned from the Senegal coast between 1440 and 1445 with elephants’ tusks, gold, and negro slaves. The Gold Coast was already reached; the fabled dangers of equatorial waters serpent rocks, whirlpools, liquid sun’s rays and boiling rivers were soon proved unreal; and before 1480 the coast well beyond the Congo was known.

The continental limits of Africa to southward, long clearly surmised, were verified by the voyage of Bartolomeo Diaz, in 1487. Diaz rounded the cape, sailed northward some 200 miles, and then, troubled by food shortage and heavy weather, turned backward. But he had blazed the trail. The cape he called Tormentoso (tempestuous) was renamed by his sovereign, Joao II, Cape Bon Esperanto the Cape of Goad Hope. The Florentine professor Politian wrote to congratulate the king upon opening to Christianity “new lands, new seas, new worlds, dragged from secular darkness into the light of day.”

It was not until ten years later that Vasco da Gama set out to complete the work of Diaz and establish contact between east and west. The contour of the African coast was now so well understood and the art of navigation so advanced that Vasco could steer a direct course across the open sea from the Cape Verde Islands to the southern extremity of Africa, a distance of 3770 miles (more than a thousand miles greater than that of Columbus’ voyage from the Canaries to the Bahamas), which he covered in one hundred days. After touching at Mozambique, he caught the steady monsoon winds for Calicut, on the western coast of the peninsula of India, then a great entrepôt where Mohammedan and Chinese fleets met each year to exchange wares. Thwarted here by the intrigues of Mohammedan traders, who were quick to realize the danger threatening their commercial monopoly, he moved on to Cannanore, a port further north along the coast, took cargo, and set sail for home, reaching the Azores in August of 1499, with 55 of his original complement of 148 men. They came back, in the picturesque words of the Admiral, “With the pumps in their hands and the Virgin Mary in their mouths,” completing a total voyage of 13,000 miles. The profits are said to have been sixty-fold.

The ease with which in the next two decades Portugal extended and consolidated her conquest of eastern trade is readily accounted for. She was dependent indeed solely upon sea communications, over a distance so great as to make the task seem almost impossible. But the craft of the east were frail in construction and built for commerce rather than for warfare. The Chinese junks that came to India are described as immense in size, with large cabins for the officers and their families, vegetable gardens growing on board, and crews of as many as a thousand men; but they had sails of matted reed that could not be lowered, and their timbers were loosely fastened together with pegs and withes. The Arab ships, according to Marco Polo, were also built without the use of nails. Like the Portuguese themselves, the Arab or Mohammedan merchants belonged to a race of alien invaders, little liked by the native princes who retained petty sovereignties along the coast. But the real secret of Portuguese success lay in the fact that their rivals were traders rather than fighters, who had enjoyed a peaceful monopoly for centuries, and who could expect little aid from their own countries harassed by the Turk. The Portuguese on the other hand inherited the traditions of Mediterranean seamanship and warfare, and, above all, were engaged in a great national enterprise, led by the best men in the land, with enthusiastic government support.

After Vasco’s return, fleets were sent out each year, to open the Indian ports by either force or diplomacy, destroy Moslem merchant vessels, and establish factories and garrisons. In 1505 Francisco de Almeida set sail with the largest fleet as yet fitted out (sixteen ships and sixteen caravels), an appointment as Viceroy of Cochin, Cannanore, and Quilon, and supreme authority from the Cape to the Malay Peninsula. Almeida in the next four years defeated the Mohammedan traders, who with the aid of Egypt had by this time organized to protect themselves, in a series of naval engagements, culminating on February 3, 1509, in the decisive battle of Diu.

Mir Hussain, Admiral of the Gran Soldan of Egypt and commander in chief of the Mohammedan fleet in this battle, anchored his main force of more than a hundred ships in the mouth of the channel between the island of Diu and the mainland, designing to fall back before the Portuguese attack towards the island, where he could secure the aid of shore batteries and a swarm of 300 or more foists and other small craft in the harbor. Almeida had only 19 ships and 1300 men, but against his vigorous attack the flimsy vessels of the east were of little value. The battle was fought at close quarters in the old Mediterranean style, with saber, cutlass, and culverin; ramming, grappling, and boarding. Before nightfall Almeida had won. This victory ensured Portugal’s commercial control in the eastern seas.

Alfonso d’Albuquerque, greatest of the Portuguese conquistadores, succeeded Almeida in 1509. Establishing headquarters in a central position at Goa, he sent a fleet eastward to Malacca, where he set up a fort and factory, and later fitted out expeditions against Ormuz and Aden, the two strongholds protecting respectively the entrances to the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. The attack on Aden failed, but Ormuz fell in 1515. Albuquerque died in the same year and was buried in his capital at Goa. His successor opened trade and founded factories in Ceylon. In 1526 a trading post was established at Hugli, near the mouth of the Ganges. Ormuz became a center for the Persian trade, Malacca for trade with Java, Sumatra, and the Spice Islands. A Portuguese envoy, Fernam de Andrada, reached Canton in 1517 in the first European ship to enter Chinese waters and Pekin three years later. Another adventurer named Mendez Pinto spent years in China and in 1548 established a factory near Yokohama, Japan. Brazil, where a squadron under Cabral had touched as early as 1502, was by 1550 a prosperous colony, and in later centuries a chief source of wealth. Mozambique, Mombassa, and Malindi, on the southeastern coast of Africa, were taken and fortified as intermediate bases to protect the route to Asia. The muslins of Bengal, the calicoes of Calicut, the spices from the islands, the pepper of Malabar, the teas and silks of China and Japan, now found their way by direct ocean passage to the Lisbon quays.

A few strips along the African coast, tenuously held by sufferance of the great powers, and bits of territory at Goa, Daman, and Diu in India, are the twentieth century remnants of Portugal’s colonial empire. The greater part of it fell away between 1580 and 1640, when Portugal was under Spanish rule. But her own system of colonial administration, or rather exploitation, was if possible worse than Spain’s. Her scanty resources of man power were exhausted in colonial warfare. The expulsion of Protestants and Jews deprived her of elements in her population that might have known how to utilize wealth from the colonies to build up home trade and industries. Her situation was too distant from the European markets; and the raw materials landed at Lisbon were transshipped in Dutch bottoms for Amsterdam and Antwerp, which became the true centers of manufacturing and exchange. Cervantes, in 1607, could still speak of Lisbon as the greatest city in Europe, but her greatness was already decaying; and her fate was sealed when Philip of Spain closed her ports to Dutch shipping, and Dutch ships themselves set sail for the east.

But the period of Portugal’s maritime ascendancy cannot be left without recording, even if in barest outline, the circumnavigation of the globe by Fernao da Magalhaes, or Magellan, who, though he made this last voyage of his under the Spanish flag, was Portuguese by birth and had proved his courage and iron resolution under Almeida and Albuquerque in Portugal’s eastern campaigns. Seeking a westward passage to the Spice Islands, the five vessels of 75 to 100 tons composing his squadron cleared the mouth of the Guadalquivir on September 20, 1519. They established winter quarters in the last of March at Port St. Julian on the coast of Patagonia. Here, on Easter Sunday, three of his Spanish captains mutinied. Magellan promptly threw a boat’s crew armed with cutlasses aboard one of the mutinous ships, killed the leader, and overcame the unruly element in the crew. The two other ships he forced to surrender within 24 hours. One of the guilty captains was beheaded and the other marooned on the coast when the expedition left in September. Five weeks were now spent in the labyrinths of the strait which has since borne the leader’s name. “When the capitayne Magalianes,” so runs the contemporary English translation of the story of the voyage, “was past the strayght and sawe the way open to the other mayne sea, he was so gladde thereof that for joy the teares fell from his eyes.”

He had sworn he would go on if he had to eat the leather from the ships’ yards. With three vessels one had been shipwrecked in the preceding winter and the other deserted in the straits they set out across the vast unknown expanse of the Pacific. “In three monethes and xx dayes they sailed foure thousande leagues in one goulfe by the sayde sea called Pacificum.... And havying in this tyme consumed all their bysket and other vyttayles, they fell into such necessitie that they were in forced to eate the pouder that remayned thereof being now full of woormes.... Theyre freshe water was also putryfyed and become yellow. They dyd eate skynnes and pieces of lether which were foulded about certeyne great ropes of the shyps.” On March 6, 1521, they reached the Ladrones, and ten days later, the Philippines, even these islands having never before been visited by Europeans. Here the leader was killed in a conflict with the natives. One ship was now abandoned, and another was later captured by the Portuguese. Of the five ships that had left Spain with 280 men, a single vessel, “with tackle worn and weather-beaten yards,” and 18 gaunt survivors reached home. “It has not,” writes the historian John Fiske of this voyage, “the unique historic position of the first voyage of Columbus, which brought together two streams of human life that had been disjoined since the glacial period. But as an achievement in ocean navigation that voyage of Columbus sinks into insignificance beside it.... When we consider the frailness of the ships, the immeasurable extent of the unknown, the mutinies that were prevented or quelled, and the hardships that were endured, we can have no hesitation in speaking of Magellan as the prince of navigators."

2. SPAIN AND THE NEW WORLD

It is generally taken for granted that the great movement of the Renaissance, which spread through western Europe in the 15th and the 16th centuries, quickening men’s interest in the world about them rather than the world to come, and inspiring them with an eagerness and a confident belief in their own power to explore its hidden secrets, was among the forces which brought about the great geographical discoveries of the period. Its influence in this direction is evident enough in England and elsewhere later on; but, judging by the difficulties of Columbus in securing support, it was not in his time potent with those in control of government policy and government funds. The Italian navigator John Cabot and his son Sebastian made their voyages from England in 1498 and 1500 with very feeble support from Henry VII, though it was upon their discoveries that England later based her American claims. Even in Spain there seems to have been little eagerness to emulate the methods by which her neighbor Portugal had so rapidly risen to wealth and power.

But the influence of revived classical information on geographical matters was keenly felt; and the idea of a direct westerly passage to India was suggested, not only by Portugal’s monopoly of the Cape route, but by classical authority, generally accepted by the best geographers of the time. The Imago Mundi of 1410, already mentioned, embodying Roger Bacon’s arguments that the Atlantic washed the shores of Asia and that the voyage thither was not long, was a book carefully studied by Columbus. Paul Toscanelli, a Florentine physicist and astronomer, adopting and developing this theory, sent in 1474 to Alfonso V of Portugal a map of the world in which he demonstrated the possibilities of the western route. The distance round the earth at the equator he estimated almost exactly to be 24,780 statute miles, and in the latitude of Lisbon 19,500 miles; but he so exaggerated the extent of Europe and Asia as to reduce the distance between them by an Atlantic voyage to about 6500 miles, putting the east coast of China in about the longitude of Oregon. This distance he still further shortened by locating Cipango (Japan) far to the eastward of Asia, in about the latitude of the Canary Islands and distant from them only 3250 miles.

With all these opinions Columbus was familiar, for the list of his library and the annotations still preserved in his own handwriting, show that he was not an ignorant sailor, nor yet a wild visionary, but prepared by closest study for the task to which he gave his later years. His earlier career, on the other hand, had supplied him with abundant practical knowledge. Born in Genoa, a mother city of great seamen, probably in the year 1436, he had received a fair education in Latin, geography, astronomy, drafting, and other subjects useful to the master-mariner of those days. He had sailed the Mediterranean, and prior to his great adventure, had been as far north as Iceland, and on many voyages down the African coast. Following his brother Bartholomew, who was a map-maker in the Portuguese service, he came about 1470 to Lisbon, even then a center of geographical knowledge and maritime activity. Probably as early as this time the idea of a western voyage was in his mind.

Skepticism may account for Portugal’s failure to listen to his proposals; and her interest was already centered in the route around Africa under her exclusive control. The tale of his years of search for assistance is well known. Indeed, while the fame of Columbus rests rightly enough upon his discovery of a new world, of whose existence he had never dreamed and which he never admitted in his lifetime, his greatness is best shown by his faith in his vision, and the steadfast energy and fortitude with which he pushed towards its practical accomplishment, during years of vain supplication, and amid the trials of the voyage itself. He had actually left Granada, when Isabella of Spain at last agreed to support his venture. In the contract later drawn up he drove a good bargain, contingent always upon success; he was to be admiral and viceroy of islands and continents discovered and their surrounding waters, with control of trading privileges and a tenth part of the wealth of all kinds derived.

With the explorations of Columbus on his first and his three later voyages (in 1496, 1498, and 1502) we are less concerned than with the first voyage itself as an illustration of the problems and dangers faced by the navigator of the time, and with the effect of the discovery of the new world upon Spain’s rise as a sea power. The three caravels in which he sailed were typical craft of the period. The Santa Maria, the largest, was like the other two, a single-decked, lateen-rigged, three-masted vessel, with a length of about 90 feet, beam of about 20 feet, and a maximum speed of perhaps 6-1/2 knots. She was of 100 tons burden and carried 52 men. The Pinta was somewhat smaller. The Nina (Baby) was a tiny, half-decked vessel of 40 tons. Heavily timbered and seaworthy enough, the three caravels were short provisioned and manned in part from the rakings of the Palos jail.

Leaving Palos August 3, 1492, Columbus went first to the Canaries, and thence turned his prow directly westward, believing that he was on the parallel that touched the northern end of Japan. By a reckoning even more optimistic than Toscanelli’s, he estimated the distance thither to be only 2500 miles. Thence he would sail to Quinsay (Hang Chow), the ancient capital of China, and deliver the letter he carried to the Khan of Cathay. The northeast trade winds bore them steadily westward, raising in the minds of the already fear-stricken sailors the certainty that against these head winds they could never beat back. At last they entered the vast expanse of the Sargasso Sea, six times as large as France, where they lay for a week almost becalmed, amid tangled masses of floating seaweeds. To add to their perplexities, they had passed the line of no variation, and the needle now swung to the left of the pole-star instead of the right. On the last day of the outward voyage they were 2300 miles to the westward according to the information Columbus shared with his officers and men; according to his secret log they were 2700 miles from the Canaries, and well beyond the paint where he had expected to strike the islands of the Asiatic coast. The mutinous and panic-stricken spirit of his subordinates, the uncertainty of Columbus himself, turned to rejoicing when at 2:00 A.M. of Friday, October 12, a sailor on the Pinta sighted the little island of the Bahamas, which, since the time of the Vikings, was the first land sighted by white men in the new world.

The three vessels cruised southward, in the belief, expressed by the name Indian which they gave the natives, that they were in the archipelago east of Asia. Skirting the northern coast of Cuba and Hayti, they sought for traces of gold, and information as to the way to the mainland. The Santa Maria was wrecked on Christmas Day; the Pinta became separated; Columbus returned in the little Nina, putting in first at the Tagus, and reaching Palos on March 15, 1493.

Though his voyage gave no immediate prospect of immense profits, yet it was the general belief that he had reached Asia, and by a route three times as short as that by the Cape of Good Hope. The Spanish court celebrated his return with rejoicing. Appealing to the Pope, at this time the Spaniard Rodrigo Bargia, King Ferdinand lost no time in securing holy sanction for his gains. A Papal bull of May 3, 1493, conferred upon Spain title to all lands discovered or yet to be discovered in the western ocean. Another on the day following divided the claims of Spain and Portugal by a line running north and south “100 leagues west of the Azores and the Cape Verde Islands” (an obscure statement in view of the fact that the Cape Verdes lie considerably to the westward of the other group), and granted to Spain a monopoly of commerce in the waters “west and south” (again an obscure phrase) of this line, so that no other nation could trade without license from the power in control. This was the extraordinary Papal decree dividing the waters of the world. Small wander that the French king, Francis I, remarked that he refused to recognize the title of the claimants till they could produce the will of Father Adam, making them universal heirs; or that Elizabeth, when a century later England became interested in world trade, disputed a division contrary not only to common sense and treaties but to “the law of nations.” The Papal decree, intended merely to settle the differences of the two Catholic states, gave rise to endless disputes and preposterous claims.

The treaty of Tordesillas (1494) between Spain and Portugal fixed the line of demarcation more definitely, 370 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands, giving Portugal the Brazilian coast, and by an additional clause it made illegitimate trade a crime punishable by death. Another agreement in 1529 extended the line around to the Eastern Hemisphere, 17 degrees east of the Moluccas, which, if Spain had abided by it, would have excluded her from the Philippines. After Portugal fell under Spanish rule in 1580, Spain could claim dominion over all the southern seas.

The enthusiasm and confident expectation with which Spain set out to exploit the discoveries of Columbus’s first voyage changed to disappointment when subsequent explorations revealed lands of continental dimensions to be sure, but populated by ignorant savages, with no thoroughfare to the ancient civilization and wealth of the East, and no promise of a solid, lucrative commerce such as Portugal had gained. Mines were opened in the West Indies, but it was not until the conquest of Mexico by Cortez (1519-1521) laid open the accumulated wealth of seven centuries that Spain had definite assurance of the treasure which was to pour out of America in a steadily increasing stream. The first two vessels laden with Mexican treasure returned in 1523. Ten years later the exploration and conquest of Peru by Pizarro trebled the influx of silver and gold. The silver mines of Europe were abandoned. The Emperor Charles, as Francis I said, could fight his European campaigns on the wealth of the Indies alone.

But between Spain and her “sinews of war” lay 3000 miles of ocean. To hold the colonies themselves, to guard the plate fleets against French, Dutch, and English raiders, to protect her own coastline and maintain communications with her possessions in Italy and the Low Countries, to wage war against the Turk in the Mediterranean, Spain felt the need of a navy. Indeed, in view of these varied motives for maritime strength, it is surprising that Spain depended so largely on impressed merchant vessels, and had made only the beginnings of a royal navy at the time of the Grand Armada. Not primarily a nation of traders or sailors, she had, by grudging assistance to the greatest of sea explorers, fallen into a rich colonial empire, to secure and make the most of which called for sea power.

It is possible, however, to lay undue stress on the factor just mentioned in accounting for both the rise and the decay of Spain. Her ascendancy in Europe in the 16th century was due chiefly to the immense territories united with her under Charles the Fifth (1500-1558), who inherited Spain, Burgundy, and the Low Countries, and added Austria with her German and Italian provinces by his accession to the imperial throne. Under Charles’s powerful leadership Spain became the greatest nation in Europe; but at the same time her resources in men and wealth were exhausted in the almost constant warfare of his long reign. The treasures of America flowed through the land like water, in the expressive figure of a German historian, “not fertilizing it but laying it waste, and leaving sharper dearth behind." The revenues of the plate fleet were pledged to German or Genoese bankers even before they reached the country, and were expended in the purchase of foreign luxuries or in waging imperial wars, rather than in the encouragement of home agriculture, trade, and industry. While the vast possessions of church and nobility escaped taxation, the people were burdened with levies on the movement and sale of commodities and on the common necessities of life. Prohibition of imports to keep gold in the country was ineffectual, for without the supplies brought in by Dutch merchantmen Spain would have starved, and Philip II often had to connive in violations of his own restrictions. Prohibition of exports to keep prices down was an equally Quixotic measure, the chief effect of which was to kill trade. Spain could not supply the needs of her own colonies, and in fact illustrates the truth that a nation cannot, in the end, profit greatly by colonies unless it develops industries to utilize their raw materials and supply their demands.

For some time before the Armada Spain was on the downward path, as a result of the conditions mentioned. On the other hand, while the Armada relieved England of a terrible danger and dashed Spain’s hope of domination in the north, it was not of itself a fatal blow. The war still continued, with other Spanish expeditions organized on a grand scale, and ended in 1604, so far as England was concerned, with that country’s renunciation of trade to the Indies and aid to the Dutch.

But even if Spain’s rise and decline were not primarily a result of sea power, still, taking the term to include the extension of shipping and maritime trade as well as the employment of naval forces in strictly military operations, there are lessons to be drawn from the use or neglect of sea power by both sides in Spain’s long drawn-out struggle with Holland and England.