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[A magnificent wall map of the West Indies showing the War of Jenkin's Ear]

image of Grand Theatre de la Guerre en Amerique Suivant les Plus Novelles observations des Espagnols, Anglois, Francois & Hollandois.

image of Grand Theatre de la Guerre en Amerique Suivant les Plus Novelles observations des Espagnols, Anglois, Francois & Hollandois.


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OTTENS, Reinier & Joshua.
Grand Theatre de la Guerre en Amerique Suivant les Plus Novelles observations des Espagnols, Anglois, Francois & Hollandois. Amsterdam: Ottens, c.1741. Original colour. Six sheets conjoined, total 850 x 1590mm. Verdigris weaknesses reinforced on verso.
A monumental map of the West Indies published to illustrate the War of Jenkins' Ear (1739-1742), which broke out because of Spanish attempts to hamper British trade with Spain's colonies in the Americas. The eight inset maps shown St. Augustine, Havana, 'la Ville Espagnole de S. Domingue'; Porto Bello, Carthagena, Curaçao, Acapulco & Vera-Cruz. The war gained its name from an incident of eight years earlier: in 1731 Robert Jenkins was returning home from Jamaica in his brig the 'Rebecca' when the Spanish coastguard stopped him on suspicion of smuggling. Jenkins was tied to a mast and had one of his ears cut off by the Spanish captain, who handed it back instructing him to tell King George II that the 'same will happen to him if caught doing the same'. Trade rivalry continued and, at the end of the decade, Britain was concerned that Spain would withdraw the 'asiento' (permission for the British to sell slaves in Spanish America). In a Parliamentary debate about the possible loss of this lucrative trade, Jenkins waved his ear at the MPs and gave the pro-war faction a cause that the general public could understand.
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