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History October 23, 1739

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by Martin Rohmann, Oct 23, 2020.

  1. Martin Rohmann A Fixture

    The War of Jenkins' Ear

    In March 1732, the English merchant ship captain Robert Jenkins ...


    ... a memorable appearance in front of British MPs in London:

    Jenkins steps up to the noble lords and presents a unique piece of evidence: his own cut off ear!


    At least the captain says it's his ear.


    With this carefully crafted staging, Parliament wants to get the British public in the mood for war against Spain!

    Captain Jenkins - it is said - was with his brig "Rebecca" ...

    ... was on his way home to England from the West Indies in the Caribbean, when on April 9, 1731 a ship of the Spanish coast guard seized the "Rebecca" in international waters, boarded it, ransacked the hold and plundered it.

    The leader of the Spaniards, a certain Juan de Léon Fandino, also cut off the captain's ear ...:


    The one-eared captain presented the angry MPs with another piece of evidence: a handwritten letter from the British Commander-in-Chief in the West Indies, Admiral Vernon, confirming his story.

    In the picture above you can see one of the delegates kneeling in the foreground who is studying this letter.

    Of course, the whole thing is not about Jenkins' ear, but about the fact that the British see their economic interests more and more restricted by the Spanish in the Caribbean and are now looking for a pretext to enforce their claims by warlike means.

    The matter dragged on a bit, and in the meantime it boiled up until Great Britain declares war on Spain on October 23, 1739, a war that went down in British history under the name "War of Jenkins' Ear"!

    However, the war is going extremely badly for the British, which is why the affair is no longer so popularly mentioned today.

    However, it begins with the success that the British can take the town of Puerto Bello (= "Beautiful Harbor", today located in Panama) (which is still reminiscent of "Portobello Road" in London) ...:



    But then there are failures:

    The Siege of St. Augustine (in Florida, then Spanish) ...

    ... by troops brought in from Georgia (then British) under Colonel James Oglethorpe ...


    ... since January 1740 it has to be canceled in July of the same year because the Spaniards come up with superior strength for relief and tropical diseases are decimating the British soldiers.

    British reinforcements on the motherland cannot go out because of weeks of bad weather (November 1740).

    Also in November 1740, France intervened and sent a naval formation with 22 warships under Admiral Duc d'Antin ...


    ... to support the Spaniards.

    That costs the British decisive naval domination in the theater of war!

    In January 1741, the British reinforcements that had been dispatched finally arrived in Jamaica.

    They are sent to the siege of the city of Cartegena (now Colombia) in March, but the siege ends like that of St. Augustine - it has to be called off after three months without result. Tropical diseases are raging again among British troops, who are used to the European climate.


    Then the British try their luck in Cuba and besiege the capital Santiago. After taking the city, this will be your new war base in the Caribbean ...:


    But here too, diseases and Spanish soldiers decimate the British to such an extent that they have to vacate their positions around Santiago in December 1741.

    In January 1742 the British only had four under-manned, rickety regiments with barely more than 1,500 men in the theater of war: the rest fell victim to the enemy, the far greater part fell victim to disease!

    So reinforcements are being sent from Great Britain again. This time they are supposed to take the city of Panama. But this attempt also fails in May 1742, like all other sieges before ...:


    The Spaniards, however, do not even think about continuing to quietly watch as the British strategy dillettantes burn their soldiers in senseless overburden actions!


    They counterattack and their Florida forces invade Georgia, Britain!

    British Commander-in-Chief Admiral Edward Vernon blows ...


    ... to retreat. The British evacuate all soldiers who are still able to fight in the Caribbean - and they succeed in repelling the Spanish invasion of their colony.

    By the way: Admiral Vernon was generally only called "Old Grog". And "grog" is a highly intoxicating drink that is very popular with seafarers and consists essentially of (a lot) rum and (rather little) hot water.

    Maybe the grog had an influence on his confused strategy ...

    The war for the ear of Captain Jenkins does not end with an official peace treaty, but continues to smolder for many years, because the British reflect on what they are really good at:

    They wage a long-term pirate war in the Caribbean and almost completely prevent the Spanish gold and silver transports from their colonies to the mother country ...:


    The hostilities only ended after a treaty was signed in Aachen in 1748 - here is an allegory of the peace treaty ...:


    ... and the contract that put an end to the "War of Jenkins' Ear" ...:

    marco55, Old Pete and Airkid like this.

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