Fiume’s hold on the Italian imagination means spinning another story in parallel, starting with how Italy and the Italians defined themselves. Historically Italians had not been unified about anything since the Roman Empire. There were other focal points in their world-view, like the Pope in the more modern Rome. But the centuries after Rome had […]Read more "The reboot of Italy"
Cities are the estuaries of humanity. Different cultures and ideologies stream into them, shaping and shifting their banks and crafting sandbars of belief and commerce. Sometimes a flash flood will change the estuary’s character, and sometimes pollution can poison it entirely. The city fitting our soggy metaphor this time is modern Rijeka, a Croatian port […]Read more "The River by Big River"
In 1748, Britain finally defeated the Spanish in a short sharp naval battle off Cuba, just in time for the war to end. The War of Jenkins’ Ear was already a historical footnote in its own time, just one of at least six side conflicts to the War of Austrian Succession. Settling the conflict with […]Read more "Historic Earrelevance"
By 1743 King George II was personally commanding an army in Germany, grappling with the Bavarian claimant Charles VII. Planning for an invasion of Britain by France was underway, and Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Jacobite contender to the throne, was realizing the Hanoverian’s worst fears by returning home and sparking an insurrection in Scotland. Far […]Read more "The Odyssey of the Centurion"
Cartagena marked the climax of the War of Jenkins’ Ear, if thousands of men dying of disease really qualified as any sort of climactic event. Even so, in the waning months of 1741/42 both the British and the Spanish would each take one smaller stakes swing at the other. In a depressing encore performance, the […]Read more "Midnight Spain to Georgia"
Well-guarded or no, all of the Spanish positions around Boca Chica were in range of the Royal Navy’s heavy guns. One by one the Spanish forts and ships were hammered by artillery. Three of the four were hammered into submission, leaving only the larger Fort San Luis guarding the mouth of Boca Chica. Wentworth’s troops […]Read more "The Halfman’s Gambit"
As early as 1739 the ministry had decided they would make at least one big play in the Caribbean. The plan called for a joint operation between an army of 12,000 British and American colonial soldiers backed by the largest naval squadron-29 capital ships and almost a hundred smaller war and support vessels-ever assembled in […]Read more "The Siege of Cartagena Begins"