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Cape Passaro, battle of

Cape Passaro, battle of, 1718. Cape Passaro is the extreme southerly cape of Sicily. On 31 July 1718 a British fleet under Sir George Byng defeated a Spanish fleet of twice its numerical strength, destroying or capturing 17 Spanish warships. The Spanish fleet was newly built and hardly fit for action, but it was supporting an invasion of Sicily by Philip V to wrest the island from the Emperor Charles VI. Britain was not yet at war with Spain but, in part owing to the ‘personal union’ with Hanover, was already committed to supporting Charles's ambitions in southern Italy.

David Denis Aldridge

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