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Red Ensign of the Royal Navy, circa 1720.

White Ensign of the Royal Navy, circa 1720.

Blue Ensign of the Royal Navy, circa 1720.

With the recent formation of the Kingdom of Great Britain, the navies of England and Scotland were combined creating the new British Royal Navy.

Naval operations in the War of the Spanish Succession (1702–13) were with the Dutch against the Spanish and French. They were at first focused on the acquisition of a Mediterranean base, culminating in an alliance with Portugal and the capture of Gibraltar (1704) and Port Mahon in Minorca (1708). In addition Newfoundland and Nova Scotia were obtained. Even so, freedom of action in the Mediterranean did not decide the war, although it gave the new Kingdom of Great Britain (created by the Union of England and Scotland in 1707) an advantage when negotiating the Peace of Utrecht, and made Britain a recognized great power. Spanish treasure fleets were sunk in 1704 and 1708, and the Spanish Empire was opened up to British slaving voyages. The British fleet ended Spanish occupation of Sicily in 1718 and in 1727 blockaded Panama.