Ship of the line

type of naval warship constructed from the 17th through to the mid-19th century

A Ship of the line was a kind of warship. Most ships of the line were built between the 17th and 19th century. At that time, battles were fought by many such ships, which sailed in a line. At first, such ships were sailing boats, but from about the 1840s, steam-driven ships of the line were built. The steam-powered ships of the line were still made of wood. From about 1859, the Ironclad warship replaced them.

A 17th century painting of a ship of the line
HMS Victory a modern ship of the line

At that time, ships had cannons. Larger ships had room for more cannons, and were therefore more likely to hit the enemy. Today, ship designs are noticeably different, as cannons are no longer used.