Strategic Naval Expansion Throughout History

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Contrary to movies and stories about naval battles, ships were rarely if ever sunk, because a ship which was boarded and overpowered, could be added to the fleet of the winning side. Ships were virtually never torched and the crew was rarely killed. Crew mates would often die in battle but those who survived would be taken as prisoners and hired as mercenaries who would then fight for the country of which the captain represented. This was a quick way to build up a naval fleet with almost no financial investment other than paying the initial fleets to go about the seas and capture ships and crews

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