Colonial Warfare Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

Significant political, economic, and cultural changes in Europe during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries allowed for extensive European colonial expansion to Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

Political Considerations

Significant political, economic, and cultural changes in Europe during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries allowed for extensive European colonial expansion to Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The medieval order was in a state of collapse; the concept of Christendom;definedChristendom, a Europe united by the force of Christianity, was giving way to the rise of Humanismhumanism and Secularismsecularism. As Christian Europe split into ideological factions, Nation-states[Nation states]nation-states emerged. France, England, Spain, and, for a brief period, Portugal all developed extra-European colonies and extended their historic rivalries in armed conflicts overseas.Colonial warfareColonialismEurope;colonialismColonial warfareColonialismEurope;colonialism

The development of nation-states paralleled the rise of Capitalismcapitalism. Characterized by the ownership of private property, the emphasis on competition and profit, and the institution of bank credit, capitalism contributed to the hostilities among nations when expressed in the variation of mercantilism. MercantilismMercantilism, which was not fully articulated until the late seventeenth century, advanced a static view of wealth: If one nation increases its reserves of gold and silver, the reserves of other nations must decrease. Because there was, essentially, a fixed amount of gold and silver in the world, there was a race to obtain as much as possible; this economic philosophy resulted in a perpetual state of economic warfare among the European states.

When Britain acquired the Cape Colony, cartoonist Linley Sambourne drew colonial administrator and financier Cecil Rhodes straddling the continent in a symbolic depiction of British power in Africa.

Another factor that contributed to the beginning of colonial warfare was the technological revolution that made possible the commercial Trade and warfarerevolution. Europeans had ships and navigational instrumentation that made possible the acquisition of colonial outposts; they also possessed more sophisticated weaponry than did the Indigenous populationsnative populations that they encountered in their overseas expansions. It was not surprising that the earliest colonial wars were struggles between the English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese, given the proximity of these nations to the Atlantic Ocean. France and England previously had been involved in the Hundred Years’ War Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453)(1337-1453), fought over opposing dynastic claims to territory in northwestern France. These two nations continued their national rivalry in the colonies throughout the colonial and imperial periods.

Under the leadership of Prince Henry the Henry the NavigatorHenry the Navigator (prince of Portugal)Navigator (1394-1460), Portugal;colonial powerPortugal during the 1420’s was the first nation to establish colonial outposts in the Madeira and Azores islands. Henry recognized the capabilities of new navigational devices and Sailing ships;and colonialism[colonialism]sailing ships that were then being constructed. The early Portuguese penetration of coastal Africa;colonialismAfrican and Asia;colonialismIndian Ocean locales was cut short by the emergence of SpainSpain in 1492, when the kingdoms of Aragon and Castile combined to unite most of the Iberian PeninsulaIberian Peninsula. In 1580, two years after an unsuccessful colonial war in Morocco, where the young Portuguese king was killed (the country briefly being ruled by his childless great-uncle), Portugal was incorporated into Spain for the next sixty years.

World Exploration in the Sixteenth Century

Throughout the sixteenth century, colonies in the Americas, Africa, and Asia were viewed as fiscal resources from which great wealth could be obtained. The native Indigenous populations;colonialismpopulations were viewed as pagans who should be Christianized; nonetheless, there was little if any sympathy for the native populations. The Europeans exploited the colonies and brought them into the network of the national policies and controversies. European wars, rivalries, and perceptions were also extended to the colonies.

Spain, Spain;colonial powerthe dominant colonial power in the sixteenth century, developed a global network of colonies in the Americas;colonizationAmericas (Central and South America), Asia (the Philippine Islands), and numerous colonies in North Africa and along the route to India. The wealthiest power in Europe, Spain extended its interests into the areas now known as Belgium and eastern France. At the same time, the nation was identified as the defender of the Roman Catholic Church;and colonialism[colonialism]Roman Catholic Church, its ruler taking the title His Most Catholic Majesty. Religion and warfare;and colonialism[colonialism]In this capacity, Spain became an enemy of Anglican England as well as the Lutheran and Calvinist principalities in Central and Eastern Europe.

A variety of conflicts during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries witnessed the rising power of France;colonial powerFrance, the resurgence of England;colonial powerEngland, and the decline of Spain. These included the Wars of Religion, European Wars of (c. 1517-1618);England vs. SpainReligion between England and Spain (1587-1601), the Dutch Wars of Independence Dutch Wars of Independence (1566-1648)(1566-1648) against Spain, and the Thirty Years’ WarThirty Years’ War (1618-1648);European powers(1618-1648), which spread through much of Europe. Although Spain retained most of its overseas empire and Portugal reassumed control of its empire after 1640, the major colonial forces through the remainder of the century were France, England, and the Netherlands;colonial powerNetherlands. In the sixteenth century the French established colonial claims and settlements in Canada, the West Indies, and Africa. The English were active in North North America;colonialismAmerica, establishing significant colonies there in the seventeenth century. The Netherlands established centers of trade on territories in the West Indies, the Indian Ocean, and the Pacific. From the outset, the geopolitical conditions, combined with the tradition of continuing national conflicts, created an environment that lent itself to the probability of colonial wars.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,France;colonial powerFrance emerged as the preeminent European power. Historians have frequently interpreted seventeenth and eighteenth century diplomacy as a contest between the absolutist regimes of France, Austria, Prussia, and Russia and the constitutional, representativeIdeology and warfare;constitutional governmentPolitical idealism and warfaregovernments of England and the Netherlands. One should be very careful in extending this general explanation. In most instances it provides an accurate context for European wars at home and abroad, but the particulars of many crises appear to have had little if anything to do with the concept of government.

Under the influence of Louis XIVLouis XIV (king of France)[Louis 14]King Louis XIV (1638-1715), France launched four major European wars: the Devolution, War of (1667-1668)War of Devolution (1667-1668), the Dutch War (1672-1678)Dutch War (1672-1678), the Grand Alliance, War of the (1688-1697)War of the Grand Alliance (1688-1697), and the Spanish Succession, War of the (1701-1714)War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), all of which were reflected in the colonies. England and the Netherlands, an important colonial power with trade routes and significant financial resources, combined under William IIIWilliam III (king of England)[William 03]William III; William led the Netherlands against France during the 1670’s and 1680’s and became William III of England in 1689. In the context of European power, the principal issue at this time was the overwhelming power of France; the question related to the French ability to destroy the balance of power within Europe–the independence of action of the other European powers was at risk. In the colonies the last two of the wars of Louis XIV resulted in major hostilities in North America. Between 1689 and 1697 England and France fought King William’s King William’s War (1689-1697)[King Williams War]War–the English designation for the struggle. The French and English were assisted by their respective Native American allies and fought to a stalemate; when the war ended, all territories were returned Status quo ante bellum(status quo ante bellum). While the Europeans fought the War of the Spanish Succession, which resulted in containing French power and ambitions, the English successfully fought the French and their Spanish allies in Florida, Acadia, and the Caribbean.

The Anglo-French rivalry was the primary cause for colonial wars in the eighteenth century. In 1739 the War of Jenkins’s Jenkins’s Ear, War of (1739-1741)Ear broke out between Spain and England; it included an unsuccessful English attempt to take Cuba and Florida from the Spanish. This struggle was submerged by a larger European war, the War of the Austrian Succession Austrian Succession, War of the (1740-1748)(1740-1748), that once again pitted the French and English against each other; in addition to the Anglo-French contest, this war was significant because of the impact it had on the development of Central European political history. AustriaAustria, allied with France, and PrussiaPrussia, partnered with England, fought to gain a dominant position in Central Europe. While that issue was not resolved in the eighteenth century, the Prussian and English victories destroyed the reality of Habsburg Empire;declineHabsburg hegemony throughout Central Europe. After a brief interlude of peace the colonial war between France and England was renewed in both America (the French and Indian War, French and Indian War (1754-1763)1754-1763) and India. In 1756 the Seven Years’ War Seven Years’ War (1756-1763)(1756-1763) began in Europe. Both European and colonial wars were concluded by the 1763 Treaty of Paris Treaty of 1763Paris, through which Britain gained French territory in Canada and India. However the war had been costly for all powers. Britain’s relations with its American colonists declined over the issues of increased taxation and also representation in the British Parliament, as well as sharing the cost of defense. In July, 1776, the American Revolution (1775-1783)Americans declared their independence and were later joined by the French and the Dutch in the struggle with England. In the 1783 Treaty of Paris Treaty of 1783Paris, England recognized the independence of the United States but retained Canada and its colonies in the West Indies.

At the close of the eighteenth century, the ideology of the EnlightenmentEnlightenment challenged many basic notions on government, citizenship, and liberty. In 1789 the French French Revolution (1789-1793)Revolution broke out, and it served to be a cataclysmic force in European and world affairs. By 1798 the French Revolution was being led by Napoleon I;reformerNapoleon I (Bonaparte)[Napoleon 01];reformerNapoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821); a serious but practical reformer, Napoleon restored absolutism but tempered it with revolutionary sentiments. The American and French revolutions provided historic examples and motivation for Latin Americans who wanted to be free of Spanish control.

It was the great wealth that could be made in the colonies that attracted many young men to serve in the British East India CompanyBritish East India Company, its French or Dutch counterparts, or elsewhere in the world. Disease in most of these places took its toll, but for those who survived, many could return to their own countries with massive wealth. Examples in Britain were the Pitt, William, the ElderPitt, William, the ElderPitt family, which went on to produce two prime ministers, and that of Clive, RobertClive, RobertRobert Clive.

There Stock exchangeswas also an ability, through joint-stock companies, for many people who were not prepared to risk going to the colonies to profit by buying shares in companies involved in such trade. The trading in shares in these companies essentially led to the emergence of the European stock exchanges when traders would buy and sell stock based on information they held, or on speculation. In spite of some notable collapses, such as in the tulip market in the Netherlands in the 1630’s and the South Sea Bubble (1720)South Sea Company in 1720 (known as the South Sea Bubble), many investors and speculators were still prepared to put their savings into similar ventures.

The desire for profit by company directors led to many instances of gross exploitation of the native peoples. The worst instances surrounded Slavery;Africanslavery, with many millions of Africans shipped to the Americas to work on plantations where many died through overwork or from disease. The tropical Disease;slaverydiseases held back development of plantations in Africa until the late nineteenth century, but many were also established in Asia with bonded laborers and convict labor rather than traditional forms of slavery.

During the early decades of the nineteenth century, European interest in colonial acquisitions declined. Nonetheless, European states continued to retain their colonial holdings, and England and France continued their respective interests in Australia, New Zealand, and Africa. In 1857 the British were confronted in India by the Sepoy Sepoy Rebellion (1857)Rebellion, precipitated by the introduction of a new rifle that required soldiers to bite off a cover lubricated with pig grease. Muslim soldiers refused to comply and mutinied against their British officers. In 1859 Darwin, CharlesDarwin, CharlesCharles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (Darwin) On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection was published; the concept of social Social Darwinism Darwinism quickly followed, and the notions of Survival of the fittest “survival of the fittest” and the natural conflicts in human and international relations became acceptable. These ideas paved the way for the emergence of a new colonialism, Imperialism imperialism, which was advanced in the New New Imperialism (Disraeli) Imperialism of British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, BenjaminDisraeli, Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881).

Military Achievement

The major military achievements in the age of colonial warfare included the conquest, suppression, or dislocation of the native populations of North and South America; the triumph of Britain in the French and Indian War (1754-1763) in both North America and India; the success of the Americans in their war of independence against Britain; the initial military success and ultimate strategic failure of Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign of Egypt;Napoleon in1798 and 1799; and the expansion of Britain and France into Africa;colonialismAfrica during the first half of the nineteenth century.

Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro captures Inca king Atahualpa in 1532. By 1600 Spain controlled all of the land from New Mexico and Florida in the north to Chile and the Río de la Plata in the south, with the exception of Portugal’s Brazil.

(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Americas;colonizationSpanish advance in the New World was extensive and based upon the strength of the Spanish military. As well as their own military power, it relied on tactical alliances with some of the people in the Americas, with Cortés, HernánCortés, Hernán[Cortes, Hernan]Hernán Cortés managing to get much support from Native Americans who were angered by the rule of the Aztecs. This policy of divide and rule had been practiced by the Romans in the building up of their empire and was quickly adopted by the European colonial powers.

By 1600 Spanish Conquest (Americas)Spain controlled all of the land from New Mexico and Florida in the north to Chile and the Río de la Plata in the south, with the exception of Portugal’s Brazil. The oppressive Spanish Conquest rested on a continued military presence and the suppression of the native populations; it was aggravated by the introduction of slaves from Africa. The destruction of the Mayan Maya;European destruction ofcivilization was achieved through military forces under Francisco de Montejo, Francisco deMontejo, Francisco deMontejo in the sixteenth century. Spanish colonization remained the most active near seaports; the development of the interiors required extensive time and effort.

In the mid-eighteenth century Great Britain;colonial powerGreat Britain and France;colonial powerFrance fought several wars. From the perspective of colonial wars, the most significant was the French and Indian French and Indian War (1754-1763)War. During this struggle both powers were supported by the colonists and opposing Indian tribes. During the early years of the war, each side encountered victories and defeats; Britain was defeated at Fort DuquesneFort Duquesne, Battle of (1754)(1754) but prevailed at Lake George Lake George, Battle of (1755)(1755). The turning point occurred in the campaign of 1759, when the British defeated the French at Quebec. Both Quebec and Montreal then came under British control, and by the end of September, 1760, Canada, colonialCanada was British territory. This acquisition was ratified in the 1763 Treaty of Paris Treaty of 1763Paris, which ended the war. In the same treaty Britain received Martinique, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and other French islands in the West West IndiesIndies.

Without doubt the most significant colonial war of the era was the American American Revolution (1775-1783)Revolution against Britain. British forces prevailed militarily in almost every encounter during the war. However, at Yorktown Yorktown, Siege of (1781)(1781), a combined American-French force defeated the British army under the First Marquess Cornwallis, First MarquessCornwallis, First MarquessCornwallis (1738-1805). With traditional tactics, commander in chief of the Continental army George Washington, GeorgeWashington, GeorgeWashington (1732-1799) succeeded in forcing a British surrender. The British effort was doomed from the outset. As a colonial power under King George George IIIGeorge III (king of England)[George 03]III (1738-1820), the British were unwilling to reach a political settlement with their colonists. That error was compounded when they failed to recognize the resources that would be necessary to suppress a general rebellion with a battle line extending from Massachusetts to Georgia. The arrival of the French at France;American RevolutionYorktown was also decisive; the French blocked any possible British retreat by sea and contributed troops and artillery for the Siege of Yorktown. This revolution led directly to the French Revolution and that to the Wars of Independence in Latin America.

In 1798 Napoleon INapoleon I (Bonaparte)[Napoleon 01];EgyptNapoleon Bonaparte led a military expedition to Egypt to attack the British position in Egypt;Napoleon inIndia. Although Napoleon enjoyed a number of victories over Turkish and native forces, such as the Battles of the Pyramids Pyramids, Battle of the (1798)(1798) and Aboukir Aboukir, Battle of (1799)(1799) and the Sieges of Alexandria Alexandria, Siege of (1798)[Alexandria siege 1798](1798) and Jaffa Jaffa, Siege of (1799)(1799), he was overwhelmed by the brilliant naval strategy of Admiral Horatio Nelson, HoratioNelson, HoratioNelson (1758-1805) in the Battle of the Nile Nile, Battle of the (1798)(1798). The French fleet was destroyed and Napoleon was forced in the next year to abandon his army and return to France.

Weapons, Uniforms, and Armor

From Gunpowder revolutionthe fourteenth to mid-nineteenth centuries, gunpowder weapons gradually replaced older medieval shock weapons. Although the wide range of medieval weapons continued to be employed in combat, they were increasingly replaced by the products of the gunpowder revolution. The development of Gunpowder;cornedCorned powdercorned powder resulted in more predictable and powerful detonations and led to advances in ballistics. Artillery;eighteenth centuryArtillery advances were achieved with iron and bronze cannons; the matchlock, wheel lock, and flintlock firing mechanisms improved rifle and pistol accuracy, reliability, and safety. In the eighteenth century musket powder was developed for use in cannons, muskets, and pistols.

Bengali mobile cannons are shown being pulled by oxen during the Battle of Plassey (1757).

(F. R. Niglutsch)

During the same century the English mathematician Benjamin Robins, BenjaminRobins, BenjaminRobins (1707-1751) invented the ballistic Ballistic pendulumpendulum, a device that measured muzzle velocity. This instrument opened a new phase in the history of Ballisticsballistics. Further advances in powder and firing were achieved in the early nineteenth century by Alexander Forsyth, AlexanderForsyth, AlexanderForsyth (1769-1843), a Scottish clergyman and inventor who assisted in the development of percussion ignition, and Joshua Shaw, JohnShaw, JohnShaw (1776-1860), an American who is credited with inventing the percussion Caps, percussioncap in 1815. The British MusketsLong Land (musket)Long Land Musketsmusket was known in the American colonies as the Brown Brown Bess (musket)Bess during the French and Indian War. After its weight was recognized as a problem in the colonies, it was shortened. The Brown Bess was the standard weapon used against Britain during the American Revolution. The 45-inch French Model 1763 and Model 1777 were significantly improved muskets. RiflesRifling technology developed throughout the nineteenth century, and by the end of the American Civil War (1861-1865), rifles had replaced muskets. Advances in artillery paralleled those in rifling, with improved accuracy and firepower. By the time of the Civil War, artillery could deliver explosive shells that devastated lines of march as well as fixed targets.

During the colonial era, Europeans wore their standard Uniforms;colonial erauniforms in combat. Brightly colored uniforms were ready targets for the opposing forces. Officers were easily identified. Colonial militias were uniformed as well; only Indigenous populations;casualtiesnative peoples in the service of a European power were not uniformed. This did, however, led to many native people being killed after battles with the colonial powers claiming that as they were not in uniform they were, in effect, spies. This was particularly true in counterinsurgency campaigns.

From the fifteenth through the late seventeenth century, Europeans continued to use some of the personal Armor;colonial eraarmor associated with the medieval period. Although the use of such armor in colonial wars was less frequent, breastplates and helmets continued to be used. The protection associated with armor was based on personal hand-to-hand battlefield combat. With the increased use of gunpowder weapons, however, the armor of the time was ineffective and hindered the movements of the soldiers. Mobility was emphasized by Sir John Churchill, JohnChurchill, JohnChurchill, first Marlborough, duke ofMarlborough, duke ofduke of Marlborough (1650-1722) and Prince Eugène ofEugène of SavoyEugène of Savoy[Eugene of Savoy]Savoy (1663-1736), the leaders of the coalition forces against France during the Spanish Succession, War of the (1701-1714)War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714). Likewise, armor was more of a detriment than an advantage in the colonial wars of the period. Armor;for weapons[weapons]Armor for weapons was considered and adopted by the European armies during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Coastal gun emplacements frequently provided armored protection for the guns and the personnel.

Military Organization

The design of the military organizations of the European colonial powers differed from those states that were not involved in colonial struggles. The two most evident differences were their reliance on colonial militias and their reliance on strong naval forces to transport troops and supplies. Britain’s success in colonial wars resulted in large part from its superior Naval power;Britishnavy and from the large numbers of colonial militiamen that could be brought into combat.

During the early centuries of the era of colonial war, the medieval notion that the landed Aristocracy;as officers[officers]aristocracy would provide the officer class continued. It was not until the eighteenth century, with its emphasis on Professional militaries;egalitarianismprofessionalism, that the officer corps was opened to talented men from other classes. Once again, the British were more advanced than others. The French army during the French Revolution (1789-1793) and the ensuing Napoleonic period was accessible but reverted to the aristocracy after Napoleon’s defeat (1815).

The colonial Militias;colonialmilitias consisted of gentlemen farmers and merchants and their men. Although Washington had served in the French and Indian War, he was basically a farmer without any formal military training. The militias were armies of citizen soldiers; they fought colonial wars for specific reasons that they understood. In both America and France, these militias were the beginnings of “national” Armies;nationalarmies, unlike the armies that fought either for their monarch or for payment.

In addition, Paramilitary organizations;chartered companieschartered companies such as the British East India CompanyBritish East India Company, the Dutch East India CompanyDutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, or VOC), and the French Company of the IndiesCompagnie Françoise des Indes (French Company of the Indies) were able to raise their own armies, which served as forms of paramilitaries, sometimes alongside national forces, and sometimes on their own. These quasi-military forces were often later integrated into national armies often directly with a regiment in one being transformed into a regiment in the other.

It was often these quasi-military forces which were able to prove the most effective in colonial wars. These often included officers from Europe, and then local recruits, as well as auxiliary units, the latter modeled on their Roman counterparts (the study of the Roman Empire became extremely popular during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries). These chartered companies were able to draw up treaties with local rulers and were often provided soldiers by them, such as the Sikh units who fought alongside the British East India Company.

Doctrine, Strategy, and Tactics

Colonial conflicts between European rivals were fought using both traditional continental battle tactics of organized ranks facing one another in exchanges of gun and cannon fire and the less predictable guerrilla Guerrilla warfare;anticolonialwarfare tactics used by native and colonial populations. Native populations in America, Africa, and South America taught the European powers the importance of speed in combat, forcing them to adapt to local conditions. The uncertainty of Geography;unfamiliargeographical considerations was another factor that impacted colonial warfare. The major powers were dependent upon local sources for intelligence about the land, rivers, streams, crossings, resources, routes, emplacements, and concentrations of people. In North America, it was not until the nineteenth century that this information was generally known and published; in South and Central America, Africa, and Asia, this information was not categorized until the mid-twentieth century. Finally, European military doctrines and strategy failed to appreciate fully the nature of

colonial Rebellions;colonialrebellions. Americans, Zulus, Chinese, and other local revolutionaries entered struggles to expel Europeans, not simply to gain a victory or to prevail in one of a series of wars. This raison d’être for colonial revolts provided an ideological motivation that was not recognized fully during the colonial wars.

Contemporary Sources

From the fifteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries, with the expansion of printing and transportation, military strategists had increasing access to the strategic and tactical thoughts of others. In most instances, the strategy and tactics employed in Europe were extended and adapted in colonial wars. Among the earliest sources were Cortés, HernánCortés, Hernán[Cortes, Hernan]Hernán Cortés’s (1485-1547) description of the Siege of Tenochtitlán in Tenochtitlán, Siege of (1529)1529 and Jerez, Francisco deJerez, Francisco deFrancisco de Jerez’s (born 1504) analysis of the capture of the last Incan emperor, AtahualpaAtahualpa (Incan emperor)Atahualpa (c. 1502-1533), in 1533.

More widely disseminated sources include Niccolò Machiavelli, NiccolòMachiavelli, NiccolòMachiavelli’s (1469-1527) Il principe (1532; The Prince, 1640), Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio (1531; Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius, 1636), Dell’arte della guerra (1521; The Art of War, 1560), and Istorie fiorentine (1525; The Florentine History, 1595). Although Machiavelli’s works provided many insights into the Renaissance concepts of war, they clearly indicate that Machiavelli did not understand the value of artillery.

Two contemporary sources on naval strategy and tactics were Richard Hakluyt, RichardHakluyt, RichardHakluyt’s (c. 1552-1616) description of the destruction of the Spanish Spanish Armada (1588)Armada in The Principall Navigations, Voiages, and Discoveries of the English Nation (1589, 1598-1600) and Armand Jean du Plessis, duc de Richelieu, Cardinal deRichelieu, Cardinal de Richelieu’s (1585-1642) thoughts on sea power, published in his Testament politique (1645; Political Testament, 1961). Military organization and formations were studied in Jean-Charles de Folard, Jean-Charles deFolard, Jean-Charles de Folard’s (1669-1752) Traité de la colonne et de l’ordre profond (1730; treatise on the column) and Nouvelles découvertes sur la guerre (1724; new developments in warfare). Two other significant eighteenth century sources were Maurice, comte de Saxe, Maurice, comte deSaxe, Maurice, comte de Saxe’s (1696-1750) Les Réveries: Ou, Mémoires sur l’art de guerre (1756-1757; Reveries: Or, Memoirs Concerning the Art of War, 1776) and King Frederick the Frederick II the GreatFrederick II the Great (king of Prussia)[Frederick 02] Great (1712-1786) of Prussia’s Instructions militaires du roi de Prusse pour ses généraux (1765; Military Instructions for His Generals, 1944). The era of warfare associated with the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars produced many significant works by its participants. Horatio Nelson, HoratioNelson, Horatio Nelson’s “The Trafalgar Memorandum” (1805) is a classic and clear statement of naval strategy, and Napoleon INapoleon I (Bonaparte)[Napoleon 01] Napoleon Bonaparte’s views on strategy and tactics were published in his Maxims de guerre de Napoléon (1827; Military Maxims of Napoleon, 1831), which were included in several books published after his death in 1821. Finally, the experience of Prussian Carl von Clausewitz, Carl vonClausewitz, Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) in the wars against Napoleonic France led him to work to reform the Prussian army. His classic study, On War (Clausewitz) Vom Kriege (1832-1834; On War, 1873), was published after his death in 1831 and influenced military planners for generations.

As well as books on strategy and military science, there were countless books published that were written by participants in various conflicts. Many of these had a ready audience in their home countries, and some were translated and sold elsewhere. There was also coverage, from the 1790’s, in newspapers and later in weekly and monthly magazines.Colonial warfareColonialismEurope;colonialism

Books and Articles
  • Black, Jeremy, ed. War in the Early Modern World. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1999.
  • Chaliand, Gérard. The Art of War in World History: From Antiquity to the Nuclear Age. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.
  • Chartrand, René. British Forces in the West Indies, 1793-1815. New York: Osprey, 1996.
  • Cipolla, C. M. Guns, Sails, and Empires: Technological Innovation and the Early Phase of European Expansion, 1400-1700. New York: Minerva Press, 1965.
  • Creveld, Martin van. Technology and War: From 2000 B.C. to the Present. New York: Free Press, 1989.
  • Downing, Brian M. The Military Revolution and Political Change: Origins of Autocracy in Early Modern Europe. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1992.
  • Dupuy, Trevor N. The Evolution of Weapons and Warfare. New York: Da Capo Press, 1984.
  • Fremont-Barnes, Gregory. The Indian Mutiny, 1857-58. New York: Osprey, 2007.
  • _______. The Wars of the Barbary Pirates. New York: Osprey, 2006.
  • Harrington, Peter. Plassey 1757: Clive of India’s Finest Hour. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2005.
  • Haythornthwaite, Philip J. The Colonial Wars Source Book. London: Arms and Armour Press, 1995.
  • Heath, Ian. The Sikh Army, 1799-1849. New York: Osprey, 2005.
  • Keegan, John. History of Warfare. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993.
  • Lynn, John A., ed. Tools of War: Instruments, Ideas, and Institutions of Warfare, 1445-1871. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990.
  • McNeill, William H. The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force, and Society Since A.D. 1000. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982.
  • Parker, Geoffrey. The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500-1800. 2d ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
  • Reid, Stuart. Armies of the East India Company, 1750-1850. New York: Osprey, 2009.
Films and Other Media
  • The Battle of Algiers. Feature film. Magna, 1966.
  • Lapu-Lapu. Feature film. Calinauan Cine Works/EDL Productions, 2002.
  • The Last of the Mohicans. Feature film. Twentieth Century Fox, 1992.
  • The Opium War. Feature film. Golden Harvest, 1997.
  • The Patriot. Feature film. Columbia Pictures, 2000.
  • Zulu. Feature film. Paramount Pictures, 1964.
  • Zulu Dawn. Feature film. American Cinema, 1979.

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African Warfare


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China: The Qing Empire

Imperial Warfare

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