Royal Navy History

The history of the United Kingdom is the history of the Royal Navy. We are an island nation and sea has always been a vital factor. It is the means of people arriving from overseas, a barrier to invaders, a highway for trade and the basis for a once-global empire.


Grace Dieu

1509 - 1660

Historic Periods

Navy Royal to Royal Navy

The English Navy becomes the Royal Navy after the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.

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Mary Rose

1660 - 1815

Historic Periods

Rise of the Royal Navy

By 1815 Britain, through the Royal Navy, was the unchallenged mistress of the world's oceans.

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1815 - 1914

Historic Periods

Maintaining Naval Supremacy

The 19th century saw the Royal Navy transform from one of sail and wood into steam and steel.

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1914 - 1918

Historic Periods

First World War

Having won the naval race with Germany, Britain controlled the seas for the duration of the war.

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HMS Hood

1939 - 1945

Historic Period

Second World War

Naval supremacy in the Atlantic was pivotal to the success of allied amphibious operations in World War Two

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Korean War