An ironclad was a steam-propelled warship in the latter part of the
19th century, protected by iron or steel armor plates. The ironclad was
developed as a result of the vulnerability of wooden warships to
explosive or incendiary shells. The first ironclad battleship, La
Gloire, was launched by the French Navy in 1859; she prompted the
British Royal Navy to start building ironclads. After the first clashes
of ironclads took place during the American Civil War, it became clear
that the ironclad had replaced the unarmored ship of the line as the
most powerful warship afloat. This type of ship would come to be very
successful in the American Civil War. Ironclads were designed for
several roles, including as high seas battleships, coastal defense
ships, and long-range cruisers. The rapid evolution of warship design
in the late 19th century transformed the ironclad from a wooden-hulled
vessel which carried sails to supplement its steam engines into the
steel-built, turreted battleships and cruisers familiar in the 20th
century. The rapid pace of change in the ironclad period meant that
many ships were obsolete as soon as they were complete, and that naval
tactics were in a state of flux. Many ironclads were built to make use
of the ram or the torpedo, which a number of naval designers considered
the crucial weapons of naval combat.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Alexios V fled Constantinople as forces under Boniface the Marquess of
Montferrat and Enrico Dandolo the Doge of Venice entered and sacked the
Byzantine capital, effectively ending the Fourth Crusade.
A royal decree established the Union Flag to symbolise the Union of
the Crowns, merging the designs of the Flag of England and the Flag of
Confederate forces began firing at Fort Sumter in the harbor of
Charleston, South Carolina, starting the American Civil War.
Chinese Civil War: A large-scale purge of communists from the
nationalist Kuomintang began in Shanghai.
Aboard Vostok 3KA-2, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man
to enter outer space, completing one orbit in a time of 108 minutes.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
1. To bump into or brush against while in motion.
2. To move through by pushing and shoving.
3. To contend or vie in
order to acquire something
Wikiquote quote of the day:
The arts of power and its minions are the same in all countries and in
all ages. It marks its victim; denounces it; and excites the public
odium and the public hatred, to conceal its own abuses and
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