Monday, November 06, 2006

"Multi-source fusion" intelligence analysis in 1652 and 1653

In the modern intelligence world, they talk about "multi-source fusion". To me, that means taking information from as many sources as possible, and then correlating that information, looking for patterns and recognizing when you have learned something new. The same approach applies to studying 17th Century naval history. One thing that I have found is that making guesses is very perilous. I find that when Carl Stapel (or I, even), find new information, that is likely to overturn assumptions made, often of long standing. I have had particularly bad luck in doing analysis about Zeeland ships. One thing that I did not realize, in general, that many captains were moved to different ships fairly frequently. A few commanded the same ship for the entire First Anglo-Dutch War, but most changed ships at least once. One example if Dingeman Cats, who commanded the ship Dolfijn (only mentioned in Vreugdenhil's list as number 101) at the start of the war, and moved to command of the Liefde, by May 1653.

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