I came out of the last episode of Binge Thinking History Podcast's series about the Royal Navy thinking that the British by the beginning of the 18th century had already begun to rule the waves. Yet the latest episode, around the Seven Years War, takes the narrative further and slightly adjusts this point.
Host Tony Cocks acknowledges the advanced position the navy has. Other important navies in Europe had been pushed off the scene, notably the Dutch and the Spanish. However, this left the British to compete with the French and France with its bigger population and fast growing economy looked to become even more formidable than the British. The covert competition, fast deteriorates from enmity to all out war. The Seven Year War, fought on all sides of the globe, from Canada, to the Channel, the Mediterranean, to India sees the French gain the upper hand.
In an exciting narrative accompanied with wonderfully apt sound effects, Cocks spells out what the positions are, where the key players go and how the tables are turned. Can we say that in the end the British indeed rule the waves? They surely assume that ruling the seas is the key to empire. The French however maintain strength on land and confrontations with the competition on the other side of the channel are still going to come up again. The next chapter will continue from the end of the 18th century I gather.
BTHP is an amateur podcast and the quality it aspires to is extremely demanding for host Tony Cocks as is for many of his colleagues who try to keep up their own history podcasts. What I see with BTHP and its likes, is that these demands are met, but the price across the board is that these good podcasts appear very infrequently. Months between issues are no exception. I think I am not the only one in their public that applauds the maintenance of quality and takes the long stretches as part of the bargain.
Britannia Rules the Waves,
Win, lose or draw,
Blitz on London,
Battle of Britain.