18th Century

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Washington and Yorktown

George Washington earned a place in the pantheon of leaders who led both militarily and politically through the storms of revolution. Combining a determination to destroy the status quo with exceptional tactical skill, the General transformed an insurgency into the first triumph of a new country. Our special this time surveys Washington’s military triumph at Yorktown.

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The Battle of Prestonpans, 1745

Overshadowed by Culloden the following year – the battle that finally terminated the century-old Jacobite cause – Prestonpans is little known. Chris Bambery describes how an army of Highland Scots outmanoeuvred the Redcoats at the marshes of the Firth of Forth.

Charles

Battle Royal: Charles XII of Sweden

Patrick Boniface on the deaths in combat of regal warriors. On 17 June 1682, the Swedish Prince Charles, also known as Carl, became King of Sweden at the age of 15 following the death of his father, Charles XI. During his 36-year reign, Sweden would go on to lose between 10% and 20% of its population […]

Jane-Austen

Jane Austen: a wartime writer?

War and violence are the last things one would associate with that 19th-century doyenne of English literature, Jane Austen. Ambles in the countryside, flirtatious glances, frocks with lace and frills, and the relentless pursuit of wealthy bachelors are the more likely images conjured by her name.

Yet conventional interpretations of the novelist’s work lack reference to a crucial context – that of war. For most of Jane Austen’s life, Britain was involved in conflicts of varying existential significance across the globe.

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What really happened at the Battle of Culloden?

  Culloden has been frequently presented as a battle fought by an incompetent, ill-equipped, and badly led Jacobite army wielding swords against superior, professional Redcoats armed with muskets. A new book by Murray Pittock, Bradley Professor of History at the University of Glasgow, challenges this consensus. Murray shows that Government forces actually won the battle by blade, while the Jacobites, though few in number, were professionally managed and […]

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BRIEFING ROOM: Nader Shah

Look at that bling – who was he? Hailed by historians as ‘a second Alexander’ and ‘the Napoleon of the East’, Nader Shah was Shah (monarch) of Persia from 1736 to 1747. He was a gifted military commander and used his prowess to build a huge empire that included Iran, Afghanistan, the North Caucasus, northern India, and much of central […]

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After Culloden: from rebels to Redcoats

Robbie MacNiven explores the fate of the Scots who survived Culloden. On a bitterly cold April afternoon in 1746, on moorland just east of the town of Inverness, the power of Scotland’s Highland clans was forever broken. The Battle of Culloden Moor marked not just the final defeat of Charles Edward Stuart and his Jacobite […]

North America and Quebec

The Battle of Quebec, 13 September 1759

James Wolfes’ victory at Quebec gave the British dominion over North American. It was the victory of an army forced to adapt fast to the demands of colonial warfare  in the wilderness The Battle of Quebec on 13 September 1759, below, showing the deployment of the British (shown in red) and French forces (shown in […]

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