In 1569 William in his capacity as sovereign prince of Orange issued letters-of-marque to a number of vessels to prey upon the Spanish commerce in the narrow seas.
The original object of the institution of the courts or court seems to have been to prevent or punish piracy and other crimes upon the narrow seas and to deal with questions of prize; tion.
The atrophy of the Ottoman sea-power had left the archipelago at the mercy of the Greek war-brigs; piracy flourished; and it became essential in the interests of the commerce of all nations to make some power responsible for the policing of the narrow seas.
Thus Spain laid claim to exclusive dominion over whole oceans, Great Britain to all her environing narrow seas and so on.
If we exclude the abortive invasion of the Danubian principalities by Prince Alexander Ypsilanti (March 1821), which collapsed ignominiously as soon as it was disavowed by the tsar, the theatre of the war was confined to continental Greece, the Morea, and the adjacent narrow seas.