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The Battle of Trafalgar (October 1805) was extremely important to the British because, by defeating the combined naval armadas of France and Spain, it not only marked the defeat of French leader Napolean Bonaparte's efforts at invading England, but it left Britain as the preeminent naval power in the world.
Led by the revered Britsh Naval Commander Lord Nelson, the British fleet, operating in Spanish waters, outfought its rivals for control of crucial sea passages, for example, the straits of Gibraltar, which were already under British control but, as part of the contiguous territory of Spain, represented an unwanted British presence on what Spain viewed as Spanish land. Control of the strait of Gibraltar gave Britain enormous influence over that important passage into and out of the Mediterranean Sea. By defeating the Spanish fleet at Trafalgar, Britain was assured of continued domination of that sea passage.
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