War of Jenkins' Ear


War of Jenkins' Ear

Infobox Military Conflict
name= War of Jenkins' Ear


image_description=Map of British operations in the Caribbean sea during the War of Jenkins' Ear.
conflict= War of Jenkins' Ear
date= 1739–1748
place= the Caribbean, Florida and Georgia.
result= Indecisive, Status Quo ante Bellum
combatant1= flagicon|UK|1606 Great Britain
combatant2=
commander1= Edward Vernon
James E. Oglethorpe
George Anson
Charles Knowles
commander2= Blas de Lezo
Manuel de Montiano
Andrés Reggio|

The War of Jenkins' Ear was a conflict between Great Britain and Spain that lasted from 1739 to 1748.

Its unusual name relates to Robert Jenkins, captain of a British ship, who exhibited his severed ear in Parliament, sparking outrage that Spanish coast guards had cut it off. After 1742 the war merged into the larger War of the Austrian Succession.

Causes

At the conclusion of the War of the Spanish Succession, the Treaty of Utrecht gave Great Britain a thirty-year asiento, or contract-right, to supply an unlimited number of slaves to the Spanish colonies, and 500 tons of goods per year. This provided British traders and smugglers potential inroads into the traditionally closed Spanish markets in America. This direct trade between Great Britain and the Spanish Americas was the source of constant tensions between the two nations, whose relation was already very bad. Great Britain and Spain were at war between 1718 and 1720 (War of the Quadruple Alliance) and between 1726 - 1729 (Anglo-Spanish War).

In the Treaty of Seville (1729) Great Britain had accorded Spanish warships the right to stop British traders and verify if the Asiento right was respected. The Spanish interpreted this right differently than the British, and many cargos were confiscated. On the other hand, British privateers remained active in the Caribbean Sea, targeting Spanish treasure ships.

After very strained relations between 1727 and 1732, the situation improved between 1732 and 1737, when sir Robert Walpole supported Spain during the War of Polish Succession. But the causes of the problems remained and when the opposition against Walpole grew, so did the anti-Spanish feelings amongst the British public opinion.

The incident, in which the British brig "Rebecca" was boarded by a Spanish guarda-costa "Ia Isabela" commanded by Julio León Fandiño, who cut off one of the ears of Robert Jenkins, had occurred seven years earlier, in 1731, without creating a great stir at the time. But in 1738 Jenkins was given the opportunity to repeat his story with dramatic detail before a committee of the House of Commons, producing what purported to be the ear that had been cut off. The incident was conceived as an insult to the honor of the nation and a clear casus belli. Walpole gave in to the pressure and approved the sending of troops to the West Indies and a squadron to Gibraltar under Admiral Haddock, causing an immediate Spanish reaction. Spain asked for financial compensations, which led to the British demand to annul the "Visitation Right" agreed in the Treaty of Seville (1729).
As a reaction, King Philip V of Spain annulled the "Asiento Right" and had all British ships in Spanish harbours confiscated. On August 14 Britain recalled its ambassador from Spain and officially declared war on October 19 1739.
Despite the Pacte de Famille, France remained neutral.

The War

Capture of Porto Bello

One of the first actions was the British capture, on November 22, 1739, of a minor silver-exporting town on the coast of Panama (then New Granada), called Puerto Bello in an attempt to damage Spain's finances. The poorly defended port was attacked by six ships of the line under Admiral Edward Vernon.
The battle led the Spanish to change their trading practices. Rather than trading at centralised ports with large treasure fleets, they began using small numbers of ships trading at a wide variety of ports. They also began to travel around Cape Horn to trade on the west coast.Fact|date=February 2007 Puerto Bello's economy was severely damaged, and did not recover until the building of the Panama Canal.
In Britain the victory was greeted with much celebration, and in 1740, at a dinner in honour of Vernon in London, the song "God Save the King", now the British national anthem, was performed in public for the first time. Portobello Road in London is named after this victory and the battle was the most medalled event of the eighteenth century. The conquest of Spain's American empire was widely considered a foregone conclusion.

The success of the Porto Bello operation led the British in 1740 to send a squadron under Commodore George Anson to attack Spain's possessions in the Pacific especially in the Philippines which were largely unsuccessful.

Battle of Cartagena

The major action in the War of Jenkins' Ear was a major amphibious attack launched by the British under Admiral Edward Vernon in March, 1741 against Cartagena de Indias, one of Spain's major gold-trading ports in their colony of New Granada (today Colombia). Vernon's expedition was hampered by inefficient organization, his rivalry with the commander of his land forces, and the logistical problems of mounting and maintaining a major trans-Atlantic expedition. The strong fortifications in Cartagena and the able strategy of Spanish Commander Blas de Lezo were decisive in repelling the attack, with heavy losses on the British side. In addition to the unfamiliar tropical climate, Vernon's men succumbed in large numbers to virulent tropical disease, primarily yellow fever.

Several other British attacks took place in the Caribbean with little consequence on the geopolitical situation in the Atlantic. The weakened British forces launched similar attacks against St. Augustine in Florida; Havana, Cuba and Panama; all were repelled. A 1742 Spanish counter-attack upon the British colony of Georgia at the Battle of Bloody Marsh was also repulsed by the British.

The war was also characterised by relatively indecisive naval operations and privateering by both sides. Anson's fortuitous capture of an immensely valuable Manila galleon was more than offset for the Spaniards by their privateers' devastation of the British transatlantic trade, operating as they did with virtual impunity in the West Indies and also actively in European waters. Meanwhile the Spanish convoys of high value cargoes proved unstoppable. During the later Austrian phase of the war the British would visit their high seas frustrations upon French merchantmen.

The war eventually died down due to lack of troops as resources were diverted by war in Europe — many had succumbed to disease — without any gain of territory on either side.

Aftermath

Although the half-hearted Spanish effort to turn the successful defense into offense ended in failure, Spain's victory in Cartagena de Indias was crucial in maintaining its access to the Atlantic sealanes and therefore its empire. Had the British plan succeeded the entire Spanish empire in the Americas would have been imperiled. The diplomatic resolution formed part of the wider settlement of the War of the Austrian Succession by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.

ee also

*List of conflicts in the United States

References

*Tobías Smollet (Tobias Smollett), "Authentic papers related to the expedition against Carthagena", by Jorge Orlando Melo in "Reportaje de la historia de Colombia", Bogotá: Planeta, 1989.
* The American People - sixth edition by Gary B. Nash and Julie Roy Jeffrey
* Victoria, Pablo (2005) "El día que España derrotó a Inglaterra : de cómo Blas de Lezo, tuerto, manco y cojo, venció en Cartagena de Indias a la otra "Armada Invencible" Áltera, Barcelona, Spain, ISBN 84-89779-68-6
* Quintero Saravia, Gonzalo M. (2002) "Don Blas de Lezo: defensor de Cartagena de Indias" Editorial Planeta Colombiana, Bogotá, Colombia, ISBN 958-42-0326-6, in Spanish


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • War of Jenkins' Ear — Walpole treibt den britischen Löwen hinter einem spanischen Pflüger her, der vier englische Handelsmatrosen vorgespannt hat. Im Hintergrund verliert Robert Jenkins sein Ohr, während ein englisches Kriegsschiff im Kampf gegen ein spanisches Schiff …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • War of Jenkins Ear — Walpole treibt den britischen Löwen hinter einem spanischen Pflüger her, der vier englische Handelsmatrosen vorgespannt hat. Im Hintergrund verliert Robert Jenkins sein Ohr, während ein englisches Kriegsschiff im Kampf gegen ein spanisches Schiff …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • War of Jenkins’ Ear — Walpole treibt den britischen Löwen hinter einem spanischen Pflüger her, der vier britische Handelsmatrosen vorgespannt hat. Im Hintergrund verliert Robert Jenkins sein Ohr, während ein britisches Kriegsschiff im Kampf gegen ein spanisches Schiff …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • War of Jenkins's Ear — Walpole treibt den britischen Löwen hinter einem spanischen Pflüger her, der vier englische Handelsmatrosen vorgespannt hat. Im Hintergrund verliert Robert Jenkins sein Ohr, während ein englisches Kriegsschiff im Kampf gegen ein spanisches Schiff …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jenkins' Ear, War of — War between Britain and Spain that began in 1739 and eventually merged into the War of the Austrian Succession. In 1738 Capt. Robert Jenkins appeared before a committee of the House of Commons and exhibited his own amputated ear, which he alleged …   Universalium

  • Jenkins’ Ear, War of —  (1739–48) War between Britain and Spain over trade with South America, ostensibly provoked by an incident in which Spanish sailors boarded a British vessel in the Caribbean and cut off the ear of the captain, Robert Jenkins, but this happened… …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • War of Jenkins's Ear — …   Useful english dictionary

  • War of the Austrian Succession — The Battle of Fontenoy by Édouard Detaille. Oil on canvas …   Wikipedia

  • Jenkins — may refer to:People with the surname Jenkins: *Jenkins (surname) *The Jenkins, country music groupIn places in the US: *Jenkins, Kentucky *Jenkins, Minnesota *Jenkins County, Georgia *Jenkins Township, Minnesota *Jenkins Township, Pennsylvania… …   Wikipedia

  • Jenkins (surname) — Jenkins is a surname that originated in Cornwall, England, but came to be popular in southern Wales. The name Jenkin originally meant little John or son of John . The kin portion is of Dutch origin ( kijn ), which then gained a certain popularity …   Wikipedia


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