West Indies Expedition

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West Indies Expedition

Post by SirGarnet » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:12 am

Here is suggested background text:

This expedition was part of Oliver Cromwell's "Western Design" to take Spanish possessions in the Caribbean, and was the campaign initiating the Anglo-Spanish War that ended only with the Stuart Restoration in 1660. The expedition's commanders, Admiral William Penn and Gen. Robert Venables, first attempted to repeat Drake’s 1586 success against Santo Domingo on Hispaniola, which was defended by only 2400 Spanish troops but well fortified and surrounded by inhospitable country for European troops. The English landed and made two attempts against Santo Domingo in April 1655, but without success. The English were greatly weakened by days of cross-country marching, suffering from heat, thirst and dysentery. The steadiness of the sailors of the “sea regiment” in the face of aggressive Spanish ambushes enabled successful withdrawals in both cases. There were serious losses, including many from illness, and the failure reflected badly upon the commanders upon their return to England (they were imprisoned).

After the failed attacks in Hispaniola, Penn and Venables chose a safer target - the weak minor Spanish station on Jamaica. The landing in May 1655 was virtually unopposed, the Spanish evacuating to the countryside and formally surrendering shortly thereafter. This, however, was not the end of the fight. The Spanish released their slaves to organize a resistance against the invaders (these “Maroons” in fact continued to raid the English into the 1700s). The Spanish made two major attempts to recapture Jamaica. The first led to defeat by a large force of English militia in the Battle of Ocho Rios on October 30, 1657. Next year another Spanish force was crushed by the superior firepower of the Governor’s picked troops in the Battle of Rio Nuevo (June 25-27), which with no more than 700 men per side was the largest Jamaican battle.

Although the exiled Charles II had promised to return Jamaica to Spain, he managed to avoid having to do so once on the throne and Spain ultimately ceded occupied Jamaica in 1670. Port Royal became an famous port and haven for anti-Spanish pirates and privateers after changing hands, and indeed the Jamaicans gave the name “buccaneers” to the pirates of the Caribbean.

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Post by nikgaukroger » Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:37 pm

Mike - many thanks, I've put it in.

Is there any chance you could do the intro for the book as well? Or at least part to cover the Americas? I suspect that being American you'd hit the right note on the tone and approach :D
Nik Gaukroger

"Never ask a man if he comes from Yorkshire. If he does, he will tell you.
If he does not, why humiliate him?" - Canon Sydney Smith


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