#ThrowbackThursday: the War of Jenkins’ Ear
Posted at 3:01 p.m. on July 10, 2014
No, not that ear, which belongs to singer Katherine Jenkins, pictured here as she attends a reception for the Best of Britain’s Creative Industries at The Foreign Office on June 30 in London. (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
If you’ve ever wondered why there’s a town called Goochland in Virginia, it’s because it’s named after Sir William Gooch, a former Virginia governor who served with distinction in the War of Jenkins’ Ear. It’s Throwback Thursday…
His name was Robert Jenkins. He’d been the captain of a commercial trading vessel named the Rebecca. On April 9, 1731, the Spanish coast guard from Havana, Cuba, boarded the vessel. The Spaniards suspected that the Rebecca was carrying smuggled goods and demanded to inspect the ship’s cargo and its manifest. Once they did, they found there was, indeed, contraband aboard the ship.
As punishment, the Spanish captain, Juan de Leon Fandino, drew his sword and severed Capt. Jenkins’ ear from his head. According to Jenkins, Fandino claimed, “Were the King of England here and also in violation of the laws, I would do the same for him!”
Seven years later (?) Jenkins would dangle his severed ear before the British Parliament, which in turn would thereupon declare war on Spain. The two sides also had some hostility at the time over the border between Spanish-controlled Florida and British-controlled Georgia, which is where much of the War of Jenkins’ Ear was fought.
Nobody won the short-lived War of Jenkins’ Ear.