European Naval Bases and Stations in the World

A British Danae-class light cruiser inside the Admiralty IX Floating Dry Dock at Singapore Naval Base, in September 1941. HMS Dragon (D46) and HMS Durban (D99) were based at Singapore at that time.


Intended to provide refuge in order to repair and resupply a fleet, European naval bases and stations slowly developed with the construction of colonial empires during the early modern era. For each of the various powers, it was as much a matter of protecting their commerce from possible enemy disruption (blockade, privateering, piracy…) as of being able to conduct a war far from the metropolis. With the imperial recompositions of the nineteenth century, and the two great conflicts of the twentieth century that globalized strategic considerations even further, the major powers were forced to expand their network of overseas bases, while making their tasks more complex. This projection was gradually interrupted after the Second World War, as a result of the spread of aviation, the development of long-range weaponry, and the command of atomic weapons.