The seventeenth century saw the transformation of Britain from a minor state on the fringes of Europe into a global economic power, whose interests were protected and promoted by the largest navy in the world. The character of this navy was forged by a bloody civil war, three fiercely disputed conflicts with the Dutch, and the first of many wars with the French. In the process the ships themselves were transformed from the surviving galleons that had defeated the Spanish Armada, through huge prestige vessels like Prince Royal and Sovereign of the Seas and the lightly built frigates of the Commonwealth era into warships that were recognizably ships of the line. These radical developments in the design and employment of warships can be followed in detail for the first time in this comprehensive new reference book, which outlines the history of every ship built, purchased or captured that saw naval service during this era.Like its companion volumes on the 1714–1792 and 1793–1817 periods, the book is organized by Rate, classification and class, with outline technical and building data, but followed by a concise summary of the careers of each ship in every class. With its unique depth of information, this is a work of the utmost importance to every naval historian and general reader interested in the navy of the sailing era.