Admiral (Royal Navy)
Admiral is a senior rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, which equates to the NATO rank code OF-9, outranked only by the rank of admiral of the fleet. Royal Navy officers holding the ranks of rear admiral, vice admiral and admiral of the fleet are sometimes considered generically to be admirals; the rank of admiral is the highest rank to which a serving officer in the Royal Navy can be promoted, admiral of the fleet being in abeyance except for honorary promotions of retired officers and members of the Royal Family. King Henry III of England appointed the first known English Admiral Sir Richard de Lucy on 29 August 1224, he was followed by a Sir Thomas Moulton in 1264, he held the title of Keeper of the Sea and Sea Ports he was succeeded by Sir William de Leybourne, as Admiral of the Sea of the King of England being appointed in 1286 Admiral of the Navy he held the rank of admiral until 1294 serving under King Edward I of England; as the English Navy was expanding towards the end of the thirteenth century, new appointments of admirals with specific administrative and geographic responsibilities were created, Sir John de Botetourt was appointed Admiral of the North in 1294 this command lasted until 1412.
In the same year the king appointed Sir William de Laybourne the dual commands of Admiral of the South, Admiral of the West. The first royal commission as Admiral to a naval officer was granted in 1303. By 1344 it was only used as a rank at sea for a captain in charge of fleets. In 1364 the post of Admiral of the North and West was created until 1414. Beginning in 1408 these admirals responsibilities were absorbed by the office of the High Admiral of England and Aquitaine leading to a centralized command the process ended in 1414. In 1412 the Admiral of the Narrow Seas was established until 1413, it was in abeyance until 1523 when it was revived on a more permanent basis until 1688. In Elizabethan times the fleet grew large enough to be organised into squadrons; the squadron's admiral flew a red ensign, the vice admirals white, the rear admirals blue on the aft mast of his ship. As the squadrons grew, each was commanded by an admiral and the official ranks became admiral of the white and so forth, however each admirals command flags were different and changed over time.
The Royal Navy has had vice and rear admirals appointed to the post since at least the 16th century. When in command of the fleet, the admiral would be in either the lead or the middle portion of the fleet; when the admiral commanded from the middle portion of the fleet his deputy, the vice admiral, would be in the leading portion or van. Below him was another admiral at the rear of the fleet, called rear admiral. Promotion up the ladder was in accordance with seniority in the rank of post-captain, rank was held for life, so the only way to be promoted was for the person above on the list to die or resign. In 1747 the Admiralty restored an element of merit selection to this process by introducing the concept of yellow admirals, being captains promoted to flag rank on the understanding that they would retire on half-pay; this was the navy's first attempt at superannuating older officers. They were assigned to shore-based administrative roles, such as commander of a port or commissioner of one of the Royal Dockyards.
During the Interregnum, the rank of admiral was replaced by that of general at sea. In the 18th century, the original nine ranks began to be filled by more than one man per rank, although the rank of admiral of the red was always filled by only one man and was known as Admiral of the Fleet. After the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 the rank of admiral of the red was introduced; the number of officers holding each rank increased throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries. In 1769 there were 29 admirals of various grades. Thereafter the number of admirals was reduced and in 1853 there were 79 admirals. Although admirals were promoted according to strict seniority, appointments to command were made at the discretion of the Board of Admiralty; as there were invariably more admirals in service than there were postings, many admirals remained unemployed in peacetime. The organisation of the fleet into coloured squadrons was abandoned in 1864; the Red Ensign was allocated to the Merchant Navy, the White Ensign became the flag of the Royal Navy, the Blue Ensign was allocated to the naval reserve and naval auxiliary vessels.
The 18th- and 19th-century British Navy maintained a positional rank known as port admiral. A port admiral was a veteran captain who served as the shore commander of a British naval port and was in charge of supplying and maintaining the ships docked at harbour; the problem of promoting by seniority was well illustrated by the case of Provo Wallis who served for 96 years. When he died in 1892 four admirals under him could be promoted. By request of Queen Victoria, John Edmund Commerell became Admiral of the Fleet rather than Algernon Frederick Rous de Horsey, who as senior active admiral nearing the age limit would customarily have received the promotion. All these younger men would die at least a decade before de Horsey. In the time before squadron distinctions were removed or age limits insti
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War known as the American War of Independence, was an 18th-century war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies which declared independence as the United States of America. After 1765, growing philosophical and political differences strained the relationship between Great Britain and its colonies. Patriot protests against taxation without representation followed the Stamp Act and escalated into boycotts, which culminated in 1773 with the Sons of Liberty destroying a shipment of tea in Boston Harbor. Britain responded by closing Boston Harbor and passing a series of punitive measures against Massachusetts Bay Colony. Massachusetts colonists responded with the Suffolk Resolves, they established a shadow government which wrested control of the countryside from the Crown. Twelve colonies formed a Continental Congress to coordinate their resistance, establishing committees and conventions that seized power. British attempts to disarm the Massachusetts militia in Concord led to open combat on April 19, 1775.
Militia forces besieged Boston, forcing a British evacuation in March 1776, Congress appointed George Washington to command the Continental Army. Concurrently, the Americans failed decisively in an attempt to invade Quebec and raise insurrection against the British. On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted for independence, issuing its declaration on July 4. Sir William Howe launched a British counter-offensive, capturing New York City and leaving American morale at a low ebb. However, victories at Trenton and Princeton restored American confidence. In 1777, the British launched an invasion from Quebec under John Burgoyne, intending to isolate the New England Colonies. Instead of assisting this effort, Howe took his army on a separate campaign against Philadelphia, Burgoyne was decisively defeated at Saratoga in October 1777. Burgoyne's defeat had drastic consequences. France formally allied with the Americans and entered the war in 1778, Spain joined the war the following year as an ally of France but not as an ally of the United States.
In 1780, the Kingdom of Mysore attacked the British in India, tensions between Great Britain and the Netherlands erupted into open war. In North America, the British mounted a "Southern strategy" led by Charles Cornwallis which hinged upon a Loyalist uprising, but too few came forward. Cornwallis Cowpens, he retreated to Yorktown, intending an evacuation, but a decisive French naval victory deprived him of an escape. A Franco-American army led by the Comte de Rochambeau and Washington besieged Cornwallis' army and, with no sign of relief, he surrendered in October 1781. Whigs in Britain had long opposed the pro-war Tories in Parliament, the surrender gave them the upper hand. In early 1782, Parliament voted to end all offensive operations in America, but the war continued overseas. Britain scored a major victory over the French navy. On September 3, 1783, the belligerent parties signed the Treaty of Paris in which Great Britain agreed to recognize the sovereignty of the United States and formally end the war.
French involvement had proven decisive. Spain failed in its primary aim of recovering Gibraltar; the Dutch were compelled to cede territory to Great Britain. In India, the war against Mysore and its allies concluded in 1784 without any territorial changes. Parliament passed the Stamp Act in 1765 to pay for British military troops stationed in the American colonies after the French and Indian War. Parliament had passed legislation to regulate trade, but the Stamp Act introduced a new principle of a direct internal tax. Americans began to question the extent of the British Parliament's power in America, the colonial legislatures argued that they had exclusive right to impose taxes within their jurisdictions. Colonists condemned the tax because their rights as Englishmen protected them from being taxed by a Parliament in which they had no elected representatives. Parliament argued that the colonies were "represented virtually", an idea, criticized throughout the Empire. Parliament did repeal the act in 1766, but it affirmed its right to pass laws that were binding on the colonies.
From 1767, Parliament began passing legislation to raise revenue for the salaries of civil officials, ensuring their loyalty while inadvertently increasing resentment among the colonists, opposition soon became widespread. Enforcing the acts proved difficult; the seizure of the sloop Liberty in 1768 on suspicions of smuggling triggered a riot. In response, British troops occupied Boston, Parliament threatened to extradite colonists to face trial in England. Tensions rose after the murder of Christopher Seider by a customs official in 1770 and escalated into outrage after British troops fired on civilians in the Boston Massacre. In 1772, colonists in Rhode Island burned a customs schooner. Parliament repealed all taxes except the one on tea, passing the Tea Act in 1773, attempting to force colonists to buy East India Company tea on which the Townshend duties were paid, thus implicitly agreeing to Parliamentary supremacy; the landing of the tea was resisted in all colonies, but the governor of Massachusetts permitted British tea ships to remain in Boston Harbor, so the Sons of Liberty destroyed the tea chests in what became known as the "Boston Tea Party".
Parliament passed punitive legislation. It closed Boston Harbor until the tea was paid for and revoked the Massachusetts Charter, taking upon themselves the right to directly appoint the Massachusetts Governor's Council. Additionally, t
A commander-in-chief, sometimes called supreme commander, is the person that exercises supreme command and control over an armed forces or a military branch. As a technical term, it refers to military competencies that reside in a country's executive leadership – a head of state or a head of government. A commander-in-chief role if held by an official, need not be or have been a commissioned officer or a veteran; such countries follow the principle of civilian control of the military. The formal role and title of a ruler commanding the armed forces derives from Imperator of the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire, who possessed imperium powers. In English use, the term first applied to King Charles I of England in 1639, it continued to be used during the English Civil War. A nation's head of state holds the nominal position of commander-in-chief if effective executive power is held by a separate head of government. In a parliamentary system, the executive branch is dependent upon the will of the legislature.
Governors-general and colonial governors are often appointed commander-in-chief of the military forces within their territory. A commander-in-chief is sometimes referred to as supreme commander, sometimes used as a specific term; the term is used for military officers who hold such power and authority, not always through dictatorship, as a subordinate to a head of state. The term is used for officers who hold authority over an individual military branch, special branch or within a theatre of operations; this includes heads of states who: Are chief executives with the political mandate to undertake discretionary decision-making, including command of the armed forces. Ceremonial heads of state with residual substantive reserve powers over the armed forces, acting under normal circumstances on the constitutional advice of chief executives with the political mandate to undertake discretionary decision-making. According to the Constitution of Afghanistan, The President of Afghanistan is the Commander-in-chief of Afghan Armed Forces.
According to the Constitution of Albania, The President of the Republic of Albania is the Commander-in-chief of Albanian Armed Forces. The incumbent Commander-in-chief is President Ilir Meta. Under part II, chapter III, article 99, subsections 12, 13, 14 and 15, the Constitution of Argentina states that the President of the Argentine Nation is the "Commander-in-chief of all the armed forces of the Nation", it states that the President is entitled to provide military posts in the granting of the jobs or grades of senior officers of the armed forces, by itself on the battlefield. The Ministry of Defense is the government department that assists and serves the President in the management of the armed forces. Under chapter II of section 68 titled Command of the naval and military forces, the Constitution of Australia states that: The command in chief of the naval and military forces of the Commonwealth is vested in the Governor General as the Queen's representative. In practice, the Governor-General does not play an active part in the Australian Defence Force's command structure, the democratically accountable Australian Cabinet de facto controls the ADF.
The Minister for Defence and several subordinate ministers exercise this control through the Australian Defence Organisation. Section 8 of the Defence Act 1903 states:The Minister shall have the general control and administration of the Defence Force, the powers vested in the Chief of the Defence Force, the Chief of Navy, the Chief of Army and the Chief of Air Force by virtue of section 9, the powers vested jointly in the Secretary and the Chief of the Defence Force by virtue of section 9A, shall be exercised subject to and in accordance with any directions of the Minister; the commander-in-chief is the president, although executive power and responsibility for national defense resides with the prime minister. The only exception was the first commander-in-chief, General M. A. G. Osmani, during Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, commander of all Bangladesh Forces, reinstated to active duty by official BD government order, which after independence was gazetted in 1972, he relinquished all authority and duties to the President of Bangladesh.
Article 142 of the Brazilian Constitution of 1988 states that the Brazilian Armed Forces is under the supreme command of the President of the Republic. The President of Belarus is the Commander-in-Chief of the Belarusian Armed Forces; the Sultan of Brunei is the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces. The powers of command-in-chief over the Canadian Armed Forces are vested in the Canadian monarch, are delegated to the Governor General of Canada, who uses the title Commander-in-Chief. In this capacity, the governor general is entitled to the uniform of a general/flag officer, with the crest of the office and special cuff braid serving as rank insignia. By constitutional convention, the Crown's prerogative powers over the armed forces and constitutional powers as commander-in-chief are exercised on the advice of the prime minister and the rest of Cabinet, the governing ministry that commands the confidence of the House of Commons. According to the National Defence Act, t
Francis Legge, was a British military officer and colonial official in Nova Scotia during the 18th century. He served as Governor of Nova Scotia from 1772-1776. During the American Revolution, Legge raised the Royal Nova Scotia Volunteer Regiment. Legge had served in the territory during the Seven Years' War "without distinction or promotion". However, Legge happened to be a relative of the Earl of Dartmouth. Major Legge was appointed vice-roy of Nova Scotia by Colonial Secretary William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth in 1773, he arrived in Halifax on the Adamant on 6 October 1773 with order to determine what were the financial difficulties in Nova Scotia and cure them. He proceeded to cut unnecessary expenses while trying to keep the province loyal to Britain. According to one account: " began to expose every scandalous detail of the spoils system which permeated Halifax and extended across the province. Granting that he was an officer and a gentleman dealing with civilians whom he deemed his inferiors, he showed an alarming lack of imagination about how men behave when they are cornered and revealed none of the art of making himself agreeable to those whom he sought to influence or to work with.
He had no gifts for the compromises with human frailty which alone can grease the wheels of politics." Legge's actions an attempt to audit the province's accounts, earned him a growing number of opponents among the local merchant oligarchy and turned both the legislative council and legislative assembly against him and open rebellion broke out against Legge in the south of the province. Legge was recalled to London in 1776 due to the complaints against him; the Board of Trade in London founding him "wanting" in "that Gracious and Conciliating Deportment which the delicacy of the times and the Tempers of Men under agitation & alarm more demanded". The new Colonial Secretary, Lord George Germain, was concerned that "the Province will be lost, utterly lost" due to Legge's actions in alienating Nova Scotians and losing the province to the rebellious colonies during the American Revolution. A decision was made to replace him with Mariot Arbuthnot. Legge was not permitted to return to Nova Scotia but remained governor in name only until 1782.
In 1775, Legge was granted permission to form the Royal Nova Scotia Volunteer Regiment, of which he became the colonel. Due to his unpopularity few men were willing to be recruited, the unit languished until the years of the war, he remained colonel in absentia until 1782
Royal Naval Dockyard, Halifax
Royal Naval Dockyard, Halifax was a Royal Navy base in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Established in 1759, the Halifax Yard served as the headquarters for the Royal Navy's North American Station for sixty years, starting with the Seven Years' War; the Royal Navy continued to operate the station until it was closed in 1905. The station was sold to Canada in 1907 becoming Her Majesty's Canadian Dockyard, a function it still serves today as part of CFB Halifax. Halifax Harbour had served as a Royal Navy seasonal base from the founding of the city in 1749, using temporary facilities and a careening beach on Georges Island; the British the purchased the property which now contains the Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Scott for the Naval Yard. This property had belonged to John Gorham, Captain Ephraim Cook, Philip Durell, Joseph Gerrish and William Nesbitt. Land and buildings for a permanent Naval Yard were purchased in 1758 and the Yard was commissioned in 1759; the Yard served as the main base for the Royal Navy in North America during the Seven Years' War, the American Revolution, the French Revolutionary Wars and the War of 1812.
In 1818 Halifax became the summer base for the squadron which shifted to the Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda for the remainder of the year. The Halifax yard did not have a dry dock until 1887 so it was called the "Halifax Naval Yard" when first established, although it was popularly known as the Halifax Dockyard; the graving dock, coaling facilities and torpedo boat slip were added between 1881 and 1897. The station closed in 1905 and sold to Canada in 1907 becoming Her Majesty's Canadian Dockyard, a function it still serves today as part of CFB Halifax; the Yard was located on the western shores of Halifax Harbour to the north of Citadel Hill and the main Halifax townsite. In addition to refitting and supplying the North American Squadron the Halifax Yard played a vital role in supplying masts and spars for the entire Royal Navy after the loss of the timber resources in the American colonies in the American Revolution. Masts cut all over British North America were collected and stored in Halifax to be shipped to British Dockyards in wartime with escorted mast convoys.
The site was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1923. The Naval Yard was defended by its own large blockhouse, three redoubts and a fortified stone wall; these defences were enhanced and replaced by the large network of army fortifications whose main purposes was to safeguard the Naval Dockyard including nearby Fort Needham, Fort George, the Halifax Citadel. Many of the original Royal Navy 18th and 19th century buildings in the Dockyard were destroyed in the 1917 Halifax Explosion. Only one residence from 1814 and the Admiral's Residence from 1816 survived; the Admiral's residence in now the Maritime Command Museum. The original Naval Yard clock has been restored and moved to the Halifax Ferry Terminal entrance while the original Naval Yard bell is preserved at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, a museum which features a large diorama depicting the Naval Yard in 1813 at its height in the Age of Sail; the building and facilities in the base included: careening wharf mast ponds and mast house boat house refitting yard building slip astronomical observatory commissioner's residence graving yard coal facility torpedo boat yard Wardroom victualling yard Gate Warder's House Commissioner's House Hospital – home to Royal Naval College of Canada from 1911 to 1917 Admiralty House – home to the Admiral of the North American Station and now Maritime Command Museum The main purpose of the Halifax Yard was to supply and refit ships but it built some warships including: HMS Halifax HMS Halifax Ships based at the Royal Navy Yard Halifax included: The Master Shipwright was the key civil official at the royal navy dockyards during the 16th century until the Navy Board introduced resident commissioners of the navy in the 17th century, after which he became deputy to the resident commissioner.
In 1832 the post of commissioner was replaced by the post of superintendent, retained the same powers and authority as the former commissioners. In September 1971 all flag officers of the Royal Navy holding positions of Admiral Superintendents at Royal Dockyards were restyled as Port Admirals. Incomplete list of post holders included: 1775–1778, Captain Marriott Arbuthnot 1778–1781, Captain Sir Richard Hughes, Bart 1781–1783, Captain Sir Andrew Snape Hamond, Bart 1783–1799, Captain Henry Duncan 1799–1800, Issac Coffin 1800–1803, Captain Henry Duncan 1803–1812, Captain John Nicholson Inglefield 1812–1819, Captain Hon. Philip Wodehouse, 15th The King's Hussars, fought in the Battle of Waterloo, grandfather of author P. G. Wodehouse, see Wodehouse d, son of Sir Philip Wodehouse, 1st Baronet, married daughter of Charles Cameron Incomplete list of post holders included: 1756–1762, George Kittoe 1763–1770, Abraham Constable 1783–1792 Provo Featherstone Wallis, father of Provo Wallis 1813–1818, Thomas Forder Hawkes 1818–1839, Algernon Frederick JonesNote: Incomplete list of post holders included: 1758, Richard Hamilton 1763, David Hooper 1780–1787, Samuel Hemmens 1788–1799, Thomas Read 1799–1802, John Jackson 1806, John Parry 1807–1810, Thomas
Province House (Nova Scotia)
Province House in Halifax is where the Nova Scotia legislative assembly, known as the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, has met every year since 1819, making it the longest serving legislative building in Canada. The building is Canada's oldest house of government. Standing three storeys tall, the structure is considered one of the finest examples of Palladian architecture in North America. Province House was built on the same location as the previous Governor's House, erected by Edward Cornwallis in 1749. Province House was opened for the first time on February 11, 1819. One of the smallest functioning legislatures in North America, Province House housed the executive and judicial functions of the colony, all in one building; the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia held its sessions in Province House. Most notably, Joseph Howe, a journalist and Premier of Nova Scotia, was put on trial on a charge of criminal libel on March 2, 1835, at Province House. Howe had published an anonymous letter accusing Halifax politicians and police of pocketing £30,000 over a thirty-year period, outraged civic politicians had subsequently seen to it that Howe was charged with seditious libel.
The presiding judge called for Howe's conviction, but Howe's passionate speech in his own defence swayed the jury and the jurors acquitted him in what is considered a landmark case in the struggle for a free press in Canada. On January 20, 1842, English author Charles Dickens attended the opening of the Nova Scotia Legislature, he said. During 1848, Province House was the site for the first form of responsible government in the British Empire outside the United Kingdom; the building is located in downtown Halifax on a block bordered by Hollis, Granville and Prince streets. Led by the efforts of Joseph Howe, the Anti-Confederation Party won a resounding majority in the first election held after Nova Scotia joined the Confederation of Canada on July 1, 1867. Province House was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1996, in recognition of its status as the longest serving legislative building in Canada, the role it played in the development of responsible government and freedom of the press in the country.
It is a Provincially Registered Property under provincial heritage legislation. Province House is the home of Nova Scotia's elected legislative assembly. In 1908 and 2008, there were significant official celebrations in Nova Scotia and Canada to mark the 150th and 250th anniversary of the birth of parliamentary democracy in Canada, which started in Nova Scotia; the first event was marked by the creation of the Dingle Tower and the second by a year-long celebration the birth of parliamentary democracy in Canada. The celebration was entitled Democracy 250. On October 2, 1758, the Nova Scotia House of Assembly met for the first time in a modest wooden building at the corner of Argyle and Buckingham streets in Halifax, it was an assembly of twenty-two men, who came together to deliberate as a parliament on questions affecting the colony. With voting limited to Protestant, free-land holding males, it was a modest beginning, their influence with the British-appointed Governor was questionable, it was the first elected assembly of its kind in what became Canada.
On January 31, 1837, Simon d'Entremont and Frederick A. Robicheau became the first Acadians elected to the House of Assembly. In 1893, Edith Archibald and others made the first official attempt to have a suffrage bill for women property holders passed in Nova Scotia, passed by the legislature but quashed by Attorney General James Wilberforce Longley. On April 26, 1918, as a result of the Local Council of Women of Halifax, the House of Assembly passed The Nova Scotia Franchise Act, which gave women the right to vote in Nova Scotia's provincial elections, the first province to do so in Atlantic Canada. Forty-three years on February 1, 1961, Gladys Porter was the first woman elected to the Assembly. In 1993, Wayne Adams is elected the first Black member of the Assembly; the Nova Scotia legislature was the third in Canada to pass human rights legislation. The Legislative Library, located on the second floor between the Red Chamber and Legislative Assembly, was the home of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, until the court outgrew the space.
The first important trial in the court was against Richard John Uniacke Jr. for killing William Bowie in the last lethal duel in Nova Scotia. The Supreme Court chamber was the site of Joseph Howe's 1835 trial for seditious libel. On March 2, 1835, newspaper editor Joseph Howe defended himself at trail in the present-day library for seditious libel by civic politicians in Nova Scotia. Many scholars consider Howe's success in this case a landmark event in the evolution of press freedom in Canada; the Red Chamber was the meeting place of the Nova Scotia Council and the Legislative Council, the upper house of Nova Scotia's legislature. The Legislative Council was appointed by the governor and was abolished in 1928. Now the room is used for other meetings. Province House is flanked with two
A schooner is a type of sailing vessel with fore-and-aft sails on two or more masts. The most common type has the foremast being shorter than the main. While the schooner was gaff-rigged, modern schooners carry a Bermuda rig; the first detailed definition of a schooner, describing the vessel as two-masted vessel with fore and aft gaff-rigged sails appeared in 1769 in William Falconer's Universal Dictionary of the Marine. According to the language scholar Walter William Skeat, the term schooner comes from scoon, while the sch spelling comes from the adoption of the Dutch spelling. Another study suggests that a Dutch expression praising ornate schooner yachts in the 17th century, "een schoone Schip", may have led to the term "schooner" being used by English speakers to describe the early versions of the schooner rig as it evolved in England and America; the Dutch word "schoon" means nice, good looking, sexually arousing, or horny.. A popular legend holds that the first schooner was built by builder Andrew Robinson and launched in Gloucester, Massachusetts where a spectator exclaimed "Oh how she scoons", scoon being similar to scone, a Scots word meaning to skip along the surface of the water.
Robinson replied, "A schooner let her be." The launch is variously described as being in 1713 or 1745. Naval architects such as Howard Chapelle have dismissed this invention story as a "childish fable", but some language scholars feel that the legend may support a Gloucester origin of the word. Other sources state the etymology as uncertain. Although associated with North America, schooners were first used by the Dutch in the 16th or 17th century, they were further developed in North America from the early 18th century, came into extensive use in New England. Schooners were popular in trades requiring speed and windward ability, such as slaving, blockade running, offshore fishing. In the Chesapeake Bay area several distinctive schooner types evolved, including the Baltimore clipper and pungy. Schooners were popular among pirates in the West Indies during the Golden Age of Piracy, for their speed and agility, they could sail in shallow waters, while being smaller than other ships of the time period, they could still hold enough cannons to intimidate merchant vessels into submission.
Schooners first evolved in the late 17th century from a variety of small two-masted gaff-rigged vessels used in the coast and estuaries of the Netherlands. Most were working craft but some pleasure yachts with schooner rigs were built for wealthy merchants. Following the arrival of the Dutch Stadtholder William of Orange on the British throne, the British Royal Navy built a royal yacht with a schooner rig in 1695, HMS Royal Transport; this vessel, captured in a detailed Admiralty model, is the earliest documented schooner. Royal Transport was noted for its speed and ease of handling, mercantile vessels soon adopted the rig in Europe and in European colonies in North America. Schooners were popular with colonial traders and fishermen in North America with the first documented reference to a schooner in the United States appearing in Boston port records in 1716. North American shipbuilders developed a variety of schooner forms for trading and privateering. Essex, was the most significant shipbuilding center for schooners.
By the 1850s, over 50 vessels a year were being launched from 15 shipyards and Essex became recognized worldwide as North America's center for fishing schooner construction. In total, Essex launched over 4,000 schooners, most headed for the Gloucester, fishing industry. Bath, was another notable center, which during much of the 19th century had more than a dozen yards working at a time, from 1781 to 1892 launched 1352 schooners, including the Wyoming. Schooners were popular on both sides of the Atlantic in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, long dominating yacht races such as the America's Cup, but gave way in Europe to the cutter. Schooners were used to carry cargo in many different environments, from ocean voyages to coastal runs and on large inland bodies of water, they were popular in North America. In their heyday, during the late 19th century more than 2,000 schooners carried on the Great Lakes. Three-masted "terns" were a favourite rig of Canada's Maritime Provinces; the scow schooner, which used a schooner rig on a flat-bottomed, blunt-ended scow hull, was popular in North America for coastal and river transport.
Schooners were used in North American fishing the Grand Banks fishery. Some Banks fishing schooners such as Bluenose became famous racers. Two of the most famous racing yachts and Atlantic, were rigged as schooners, they were about 152 feet in length. Although a schooner may have several masts, the typical schooner has only two, with the foremast shorter than the mainmast. There may be a bowsprit to help balance the rig; the principal issue with a schooner sail plan is how to fill the space between the two masts most effectively. Traditional schooners were gaff rigged, the trapezoid shape of the foresail occupied the inter-mast space to good effect, with a useful sail area and a low center of effort. A Bermuda rigged schooner has four triangular sails: a mainsail, a main staysail abaft the foremast, plus a forestaysail and a jib forward of the foremast. An advantage of the staysail schooner is that it is handled and reefed by a small crew, as both staysails can be self-tacking; the main staysail will not overlap the mainsail, so does little to prepare the wind for the mainsail, but is effective when close-hauled or when on a beam reach.