18th Century

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 […]

Plan-of-Dettingen

The Battle of Fontenoy, 11 May 1745

The War of the Austrian Succession found the British Army run down and neglected, its proud military traditions grown sclerotic. Yet in May 1745, at Fontenoy in Belgium, 15000 British redcoats mounted a doomed assault every bit as courageous as Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg The ‘mousetrap’: the Battle of Dettingen, 27 June 1743. George II […]

Plan of Blenheim

The Battle of Blenheim, 13 August 1704

The British Army emerged from the crisis of revolution and civil war that had given it birth with a distinctive military doctrine based on movement, firepower, and aggression. But realising its potential required a master of war in the Army’s own image. Below: The Storming of the Schellenberg, 2 July 1704. The weight and determination […]