Mahan, Alfred Thayer

Mahan, Alfred Thayer

biographical name


Alfred Thayer Mahan, 1897—Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

(born Sept. 27, 1840, West Point, N.Y., U.S.—died Dec. 1, 1914, Quogue, N.Y.) U.S. naval officer and historian. He studied at the U.S. Naval Academy, and his nearly 40 years of active naval duty included fighting in the American Civil War. He was president of the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. (1886–89). His classic analysis The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660–1783 (1890) argued that sea power was decisive in determining national supremacy. In The Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and Empire, 1793–1812 (1892), he stressed the interdependence of military and commercial control of the sea. Avidly read in Britain and Germany, both books greatly influenced the buildup of naval forces before World War I.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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