8HISTORYARTE´S COMICAL INCIDENTS OF HISTORY BY DR. CECILIA LEVALLOIS H.
TEXT AND QUESTIONS.
Humans have always had an incredible capacity for blowing small grains into huge loaves of bread, whether in an oven or in history. Ears have played a very important part in world events, and here is one of them. Little did the Spaniards suspect, when they chopped off an Englishman´s ear, the kind of mess they would be getting into. Basically this is what happened due to the fact that Europe regarded the New World as their own private property, sacking all our treasures and taking miserable advantage of our resources and workforce.
Part of Robert Jenkins is the eponym of the War of Jenkins's Ear, an 18th century episode in the war between Britain and Spain. On 19 October 1739 Britain declared war on Spain, their trade rivals in the West Indies. The two European powers had competed for goods and slaves from their American colonies, and the British reason for finally declaring war had to do with the ear of an English sea captain, Robert Jenkins. In 1738 Jenkins had testified before Parliament that on April 9th 1731, while in the Caribbean, Captain Juan de Leon Fandino of Spain had boarded Jenkins' ship, Rebecca, and harassed him and his crew. Jenkins said Fandino had tied him up and cut off his ear with a sword. Jenkins even presented the ear before the House of Commons. When a Parliament member asked how Jenkins reacted, Jenkins said "I commended my soul to God and my cause to my country." Jenkins' story created a sensation and the public outcry forced Prime Minister Robert Walpole into declaring war. Called the War of Jenkins's Ear, it amounted to little more than a few skirmishes at sea, but eventually developed into the cross-continental War of the Austrian Succession. In order to assuage his chagrin, the British crown –then worn by George II-allowed him to command a ship belonging to the British East Indies Company and later on he became a supervisor on the Isle of St. Helena(the place where Napoleon Bonaparte would later die in exile).In 1741 he was assigned to go there to check on some corruption charges against the governor, and he ended up taking the governor´s seat from May 1741 to March 1742.He later went back to the sea. He died in 1745.
Causes of the War of Jenkins' Ear:
As part of the Treaty of Utrecht which ended the War of the Spanish Succession, Britain received a thirty-year trade agreement (an asiento) from Spain which permitted British merchants to trade up to 500 tons of goods per year in the Spanish colonies as well as sell an unlimited number of slaves. Though the asiento was in effect, its operation was often hindered by military conflicts between the two nations. In the wake of the Anglo-Spanish War (1727-1729), Britain granted Spain the right to stop British ships to ensure that the terms of the agreement were being respected. Believing that the British were taking advantage of the agreement and smuggling, Spanish authorities began boarding and seizing British ships, as well as holding and torturing their crews. This led to an increase in tensions and an up swell of anti-Spanish sentiment in Britain. Though wishing to avoid war, First Minister Sir Robert Walpole was pressured into sending additional troops to Gibraltar and dispatching a fleet to the West Indies. In return, King Philip V suspended the asiento and confiscated British ships in Spanish ports.
Wishing to avoid a military conflict, both sides met at Pardo to seek a diplomatic resolution. The resulting Convention of Pardo, which was signed in early 1739, proved unpopular in Britain and the public clamored for war. By October, both sides had repeatedly violated the convention's terms. Though reluctant, Walpole officially declared war on October 23, 1739. The term "War of Jenkins' Ear" derives from Captain Robert Jenkins who had his ear cut off by the Spanish Coast Guard in 1731. Asked to appear in Parliament to recount his tale, he reputedly displayed his ear during his testimony and everyone´s heart went out to this chap.
The War of Jenkins' Ear:
In one of the first actions of the war, Vice Admiral Edward Vernon descended on Porto Bello, Panama with six ships of the line . Attacking the poorly defended Spanish town, he quickly captured it and remained there for three weeks. The victory led to the naming of Portobello Road in London and public debut of the song Rule, Britannia! With the beginning of 1740, both sides anticipated that France would enter the war on the side of Spain. This led to invasion scares in Britain and resulted in the bulk of their military and naval strength being retained in Europe.
Overseas, Governor James Oglethorpe of Georgia mounted an expedition into Spanish Florida with the goal of capturing St. Augustine. Arriving in June, he began a bombardment of the city while Royal Navy forces blockaded the port. Seeking to reinforce the garrison, the Spanish were able to penetrate the blockade, forcing Oglethorpe to abandon the siege and withdraw back to Georgia. Though the Royal Navy was focusing on home defense, a squadron was formed in late 1740, under Commodore George Anson to raid Spanish possessions in the Pacific.Departing on September 18, 1740, Anson's squadron encountered severe weather and was plagued by disease. Reduced to one ship, Anson succeeded in capturing the treasure galleon Nuestra Señora de Covadonga off the Philippines on June 20, 1743. Completing a circumnavigation of the globe, he returned home a hero. Encouraged by Vernon's success against Porto Bello in 1739, efforts were made in 1741 to mount a larger expedition in Caribbean. Assembling a force of over 180 ships and 30,000 men, Vernon planned to attack Cartagena.
Arriving in early March 1741, Vernon's efforts to take the city were plagued by a lack of supplies, personal rivalries, and rampaging disease. Endeavoring to defeat the Spanish, Vernon was forced to withdraw after sixty-seven days which saw around a third of his force lost to enemy fire and disease. News of the defeat ultimately led to Walpole leaving office and being replaced by Lord Wilmington. More interested in pursuing campaigns in the Mediterranean, Wilmington began to wind down operations in the Americas.Repulsed at Cartagena, Vernon attempted to take Santiago de Cuba, but was forced to abandon the operation when he met heavier than anticipated opposition. In the Mediterranean, Vice Admiral Nicholas Haddock worked to blockade the Spanish coast and though he took several valuable prizes, was unable to bring the Spanish fleet to action. British pride at sea was also marred by the damage inflicted by Spanish privateers which attacked unescorted merchantmen around the Atlantic.In Georgia, Oglethorpe remained in command of the colony's military forces despite his earlier failure at St. Augustine. In the summer of 1742, Governor Manuel de Montiano of Florida advanced north and landed on St. Simons Island. Moving to meet this threat, Oglethorpe's forces won the Battles of Bloody Marsh and Gully Hole Creek which compelled Montiano to retreat back to Florida.
Absorption into the War of the Austrian Succession:
While Britain and Spain were engaged in the War of Jenkins' Ear, the War of the Austrian Succession had broken out in Europe. Soon drawn into the larger conflict, the war between Britain and Spain was subsumed by mid-1742. While the bulk of the fighting occurred in Europe, the French fortress at Louisbourg, Nova Scotia was captured by New England colonists in 1745 .
The War of the Austrian Succession came to an end in 1748 with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. While the settlement dealt with the issues of the wider conflict, it did little to specifically address the causes of the 1739 war. Meeting two years later, the British and Spanish concluded the Treaty of Madrid. In this document, Spain bought back the asiento for £100,000 while agreeing to allow Britain to trade freely in its colonies.
QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED.
1. Why does this conflict between Great Britain and Spain have such a particular name?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
2. What was an asiento?_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
3.Who was the British Prime Minister at that time, who was the King and who was the Spanish monarch on the throne?_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
4. Vice Admiral Edward Vernon led one of the first actions of this conflict. What exactly did he do?
5.In what would later be the United States of America, what action did governor James Oglethorpe take?
6. Which events hindered Commodore George Anson from fulfilling his mission in the Pacific? How was he received upon his return?_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
7.Which conflict absorbed the War of Jenkins and why. What put an end, officially, to the hostilities?_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
8. IN your own opinion about this conflict, who really won the war? Was anyone benefitted from all the warfare?