||John Francis Guilmartin
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The turn of the sixteenth century witnessed the beginning of a revolution in warfare at sea. It was a European revolution, although we must categorize the Ottoman Turks as European if the argument is to make sense; we must also consider Japan and Korea, although that is getting ahead of the story. It was a revolution long in the making, but one that unfolded with surprising speed once begun. The driving force was gunpowder. The principal agents were the galley and galleon. Beginning in the Mediterranean, then spreading with remarkable swiftness to the North Atlantic and the Baltic before spanning the globe, it produced a fundamental redistribution of military and economic power and laid the political foundations of the world we live in today.