The ships and personnel of a nation, used for purposes of war. The first English Navy was built by Alfred the Great to fight the Danes. Under King Henry VIII and the Stuarts the navy was greatly improved, but received little further imoetus until the time of Admiral Nelson. Marked improvements are comparatively modern-the introduction of iron, first as a protection and c.1860 for construction purposes and later replaced by steel, and the introduction of steam propulsion. The development of the water-tube boiler, oil fuel, turbine, electric and hydraulic power have revolutionised shipbuilding. Scientific devices have helped to maintain efficiency and to improve living conditions in the ships.
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