Nemesis: The First Warship and Her World

The Nemesis was the first of a generation of iron-clad, steam-powered naval vessels that established British dominance in Asian waters in the 19th century. The world's first iron warship, the first vessel with truly watertight compartments, and the first iron vessel to round the Cape of Good Hope, Nemesis represented a staggering new level of military superiority over the oar- and sail-powered forces of Britain's Asian rivals. With a shallow draft suited to riverine operations, and flexible armaments, she originated “gunboat diplomacy” in operations during the First Opium War. While her importance is recognized in the military history literature, the Nemesis' story has not been told to modern audiences. This lively narrative creates a vivid sense of life aboard the ship, and the challenges of the new technology for her captains and crew. The book places Nemesis in the historical context of the last years of the East India Company, and in the history of steam power and of iron ships. It tells of her exploits in the First Opium War, upriver in James Brooke's Sarawak, in pirate suppression and naval actions across Asia, from Burma to Bombay to the Yangtze River and beyond.

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Description

The Nemesis was the first of a generation of iron-clad, steam-powered naval vessels that established British dominance in Asian waters in the 19th century. The world’s first iron warship, the first vessel with truly watertight compartments, and the first iron vessel to round the Cape of Good Hope, Nemesis represented a staggering new level of military superiority over the oar- and sail-powered forces of Britain’s Asian rivals. With a shallow draft suited to riverine operations, and flexible armaments, she originated “gunboat diplomacy” in operations during the First Opium War. While her importance is recognized in the military history literature, the Nemesis’ story has not been told to modern audiences. This lively narrative creates a vivid sense of life aboard the ship, and the challenges of the new technology for her captains and crew. The book places Nemesis in the historical context of the last years of the East India Company, and in the history of steam power and of iron ships. It tells of her exploits in the First Opium War, upriver in James Brooke’s Sarawak, in pirate suppression and naval actions across Asia, from Burma to Bombay to the Yangtze River and beyond.

 

Publisher: NUS Press

Paperback

2015

ISBN: 9789971698225