War of Jenkins's Ear (1739–1748)

views updated

War of Jenkins's Ear (1739–1748)

War of Jenkins's Ear (1739–1748), war between Spain and England over transatlantic trade in the West Indies. The war resulted from the failure of England and Spain to negotiate disputes arising from issues addressed at the Peace of Utrecht (1713–1714), which granted England and, in particular, the South Sea Company, the asiento and the right to send a shipload of merchandise to Spanish America every year. In 1738 Captain Robert Jenkins appeared before the House of Commons and claimed that personnel on guarda costas, ships commissioned by local governors to search for contraband on English ships, boarded his vessel; in an ensuing dispute, his ear was cut off. After the English capture and destruction of fortifications at Portobelo, Panama, American trade was revitalized through the transition from the fleet system to the use of single ships licensed by the crown, the registros, which, through more rapid and frequent service, provided a greater volume of trade between Spain and its colonies. The war ended with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.

See alsoForeign Trade .


John Horace Parry, Philip Sherlock, and Anthony Maingot, A Short History of the West Indies (1987).

John Lynch, Bourbon Spain, 1700–1808 (1989).

Additional Bibliography

Woodfine, Philip. Britannia's Glories: The Walpole Ministry and the 1739 War with Spain. Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Royal Historical Society/Boydell Press, 1998.

                              Suzanne Hiles Burkholder