Category: British Empire

Did you know Cromwell attacked Jamaica?

It was part of Oliver Cromwell’s war on Spain. In 1654, a huge fleet – one of the largest English fleets ever assembled – left Portsmouth headed for the Caribbean. Its target was the rich prize of Hispaniola. Unfortunately, it was a fiasco, and 3,000 English marines failed to take the island’s capital of Santo Domingo./p>

The “invincible” New Army was defeated and the victors of the English Civil War were exposed as ineffective on the world stage. How could the head of the expedition save face? Attack Jamaica of course!

It was another Spanish island, but much less well defended. On May 10th, 1655 the admiral attacked, easily defeated the small Spanish garrison at Cagway Bay. It was hopeless for the Spanish and the admiral had a treat of surrender from the Spanish commander in 6 days. England annexed Jamaica just like that. And Jamaica speaks English to this day.

Recent Historical Analyses Reveal More About B…

Some tidbits that interested me:

  1. Blackbeard was born Edward Thache, son of a moneyed Englishman who brought his family to the Caribbean when Edward was 4 or 5 years old, to become a plantation owner. They owned slaves.
  2. Edward’s mother Elizabeth died in 1699, and sometime around then, Edward had a daughter he named Elizabeth.
  3. By 1699, Edward Thache was working on merchant ships, and in April 1706, he joined the British navy.
  4. In late 1706, his father passed away. Edward signed over his inherited estates to his stepmother, choosing life at sea over life as a planter
  5. Thache almost certainly fought in Queen Anne’s War (1701 – 1714) and probably enjoyed the fighting, because when the war was over, he turned pirate

The First Cavalry Corps From North America?

The first Canadian horse-mounted unit – and perhaps the first horse-mounted unit from North America – was raised in 1759. Named the Corps de Cavalerie, it was created from 200 local Quebec volunteers by the French leader Montcalm, to help repel the British invasion of Quebec during the Seven Years War.

neoprusiano: @Neoprusiano Rey Jorge III del Re…


Rey Jorge III del Reino Unido
Rex Georgius III Britanniarum Regni
König Georg III. des Vereinigten Königreiches
King George III of the United Kingdom
Roi George III du Royaume-Uni

William Beechey (1753-1839)

Did you know Queen Victoria was less than five…

Did you know Queen Victoria was less than five feet tall? She was 4 foot 11 inches, or 149 cm.

The North China Drought

Between 1876 and 1879 a serious and large-scale drought occurred in China, leaving some 13 million people dead out of the total of 108 million. As the world was emerging from its last period of cooling known as “The Little Ice Age,” a drought in the Yellow River basin area began in earnest in 1876, worsening the following year with the almost total failure of rain. This was by far the worst drought to hit the region in the past 300 years, and definitely caused the largest number of casualties. Shanxi province was the most affected by the famine, with an estimated 5.5 million dead out of a total population of 15 million.

Previous droughts had been less devastating because a strong centralized state stored grains for such disasters, and redistributed the stored grain when harvests failed. But in the 1870s, the Qing Dynasty was weak thanks to rebellions and increased western imperialist incursions, the greatest of which were the Opium Wars with Great Britain. The Qing Dynasty had not been stockpiling grain for a disaster, and would not have been able to redistribute any stockpiled grain anyways. So 13 million died.

Popham: The Forgotten Colony

It was founded the same year as Jamestown, Virginia, but you had probably never heard of it. Popham, Maine was started in 1607 by the Virginia Company of Plymouth, the second group of investors chartered by King James I to settle Virginia. The plan was the start this northern settlement as a shipbuilding colony, just south of French Canada, and presumably supply both the English and the French with all their ship-related needs.

Located just south of what is today Bath, Popham managed to survive its first Maine winter by the skin of its teeth: half of the 125 settlers chose to return to England as winter set in. Unfortunately, that was their first and only milestone. The founder George Popham died after the first winter, which was so discouraging that the remaining settlers packed up and headed back to England too!

Side note: the map below was what was planned. Archaeological excavations are currently ongoing, but it looks like they never finished the fort.

The one thing that Popham managed to do, in its year of existence, was build a 30-ton ship and christian it the Virginia. This ship was the first ship built by Europeans in North America. It was also the ship that the settlers used to get back home.

Australia’s Shame


Aboriginal people of the Stolen Generation were given criminal records for being taken away from their families by the Australian government. Their crime was being “a child in need of care.” They could be as young as two.

It was standard practice in Australia until 1989. Many are alive today who have a criminal record, solely for being born an Aboriginal person.

byronfowler: This just not only happen in Australia. It was and still is a world wide problem. The truth is, it was not Australian born people who done this. It was those pommy born bastards. Let’s get that right.

@byronfowler is saying that the British colonialists, not Australian-born British citizens, who gave Aboriginal persons criminal records for being born Aboriginal.

They are correct that the practice likely started under British rule. It was up and running by 1950. But even if this practice started under the British, it continued until 1989, and Australia became fully independent from Great Britain by 1948 

when the Nationality and Citizenship Act passed. After 1948, everyone who had been born in Australia was an Australian citizen, and it was Australian-born Australians running the provincial and national government.

For those of you doing the math, 1989 is forty-one years after Australian independence. It was not being “forced” on Australians by a British colonial government for forty-one years. Australians – white Australians – wanted to take Aboriginals away from their families.

And Australians cannot blame the British for the fact that those criminal records can still be used to legally discriminate against Aboriginal persons. Today! Those criminal records, given as young as two, can deny someone housing, a job, a loan, or even kinship rights in 2017.

It would be nicer, easier, cleaner if Australians could lay all the blame on the British. But they cannot. 

Penang, Malaysia, is a fascinating city. The British hoisted the…

Penang, Malaysia, is a fascinating city. The British hoisted the Union Jack on Penang in 1786. Before the British, in the early 1700s, ethnic Minangkabaus from Sumatra and Arabs had set up trading posts on Penang Island, but it was basically undeveloped. The British set out to change that, and work began to create a new city – George Town. There’s a story that the British founder, Captain Francis Light, shot silver coins from a canon into the jungle to encourage people to clear the land as they searched for them!

George Town grew quickly and it became an important part of trading routes that linked countries like China and India. There was also a nearby tin mining boom, and local spice production. In short, by the 1830s Penang Island was a major port in the region and the economy was booming. Chinese and Indians as well as Armenians, Arabs, Jews, and Germans moved to George Town to make their fortunes. They made Penang Island a meeting of cultures, which can still be seen today as you walk George Town’s streets.

Was The First Thanksgiving In Florida?

On September 8th, 1565, more than fifty years before the famous Pilgrims and Wampanoag “First Thanksgiving,” one Spanish Admiral Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés waded onto a sandy shore in Florida. A number of curious members of the indigenous Timucua tribe watched as he kissed a cross, then claimed Florida for both his God and his country.  Avilés was not alone, but had brought 800 new colonists with him. They were there to start an outpost of the great Spanish Empire. The colonists set up a makeshift alter, still watched by the Timucua, and celebrated a thanksgiving Catholic mass performed by one of the priests they had brought along, to bless their safe arrival.

Then the Spanish and the guest Timucua sat down for a communal meal. Was this the “true” First Thanksgiving? It could be argued both ways. In the end, what I take away is that the Pilgrims’ claim will always be disputed.