Friday, June 29, 2007

War of Jenkin's Ear

Probably the best named war ever, the War of Jenkins Ear was fought between England and Spain in Florida and the Caribbean between 1739 and 1742.

The war took its name from English sailor Robert Jenkins, captain of the ship Rebecca, who claimed Spanish coast guards had cut off his ear in 1731. He exhibited said ear in the House of Commons ('ear 'ear!). The severed appendage so aroused public opinion, Prime Minister Robert Walpole was force to reluctantly declare war on Spain.

Spain sort of won but the war didn't really end in 1742. Instead it became part of another war, one that wasn't named after a body part, instead more boringly called the War of the Austrian Succession.

Jenkins went back to work with the Navy despite his impediment and became the governor and most famous resident of St Helena until Napoleon spectacularly blew that honour away in 1815.

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