Frances Wilson

Triumph and disaster in the War of Jenkins’ Ear

David Grann returns to the greatest sea story ever told: of Captain Anson’s piratical feat, and ‘the mutiny that never was’ aboard the Wager

‘The Capture of the Spanish Galleon Nuestra Señora de Covadonga’, by John Cleverly the Younger. [Bridgeman Images]

It all began in 1731 when Robert Jenkins, the captain of the Rebecca, had his ear sliced off by Juan de León Fandiño of the Spanish patrol boat La Isabela. Storming the British brig in the Caribbean, Fandiño accused Jenkins of smuggling sugar from Spanish colonies. He would cut King George’s ear off too, Fandiño threatened, were he to be caught stealing from Spain.

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