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Navy and Government in Early Modern France 1572-1661

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Author: James, Alan


Reference #: 1790

Status: Sold

List Price: $80.00

The Royal Historical Society and The Boydell Press, Suffolk & Rochester, 2004. First Edition; Fine in dustjacket. Part of the ‘Studies in History, New Series’, of the RHS. Pp. [ix] + 198, including an Appendix of Warship Lists 1631-1640, an extensive bibliography (pp. 177-190), and Index.

From the publisher: “The role of the navy as an instrument of royal power in France, C16/C17, with a reappraisal of Richelieu's performance as Grand-Master of Navigation.

The navy played a central part in the major military and political developments of sixteenth and seventeenth century France. This study traces its role as an instrument of royal power from the sixteenth century Wars of Religion to 1661, the beginning of the reign of Louis XIV, the Sun King; in the process it sheds light on many familiar themes of early modern French history. Throughout the period, the crown faced opposition at sea from the Huguenots and from others within France, while a complex web of legal jurisdictions protected local interests and traditions of virtual independence from Paris, while the nobility also pursued a largely unresearched interest in maritime affairs.

It is within this context that the career of Cardinal Richelieu, as Grand-Master of Navigation, is re-examined. In an age often characterized by 'rising absolutism' or 'military revolution', he emerges as largely successful in maintaining the navy's strength at sea, though less through major institutional innovations or military reforms than by adhering to traditional methods of government, personal politics, and finance.

ALAN JAMES is a lecturer in the Department of War Studies, King's College London.

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