The British Empire, the largest empire in history, was fundamentally a maritime one. Britain’s imperial power was inextricably tied to the strength of the Royal Navy—the ability to protect and extend Britain’s political and economic interests overseas, and to provide the vital bonds that connected the metropole with the colonies. This book will examine the intrinsic relationship between the Royal Navy and the empire, by examining not only the navy’s expansionist role on land and sea, but also the ideological and cultural influence it exerted for both the coloniser and colonised. The navy’s voyages of discovery created new scientific knowledge and inspired art, literature and film. Using the model of the Royal Navy, colonies began to develop their own navies, many of which supported the Royal Navy in the major conflicts of the twentieth century. Daniel Owen Spence here provides a history of the navy’s role in empire from the earliest days of colonisation to the present-day Commonwealth. In doing so, he shows how the relationship between the navy and the empire played a part in shaping the globalised society we inhabit today.