Sir George Rooke

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Rooke, George (1650–1709). Admiral. One of the most successful naval commanders of his day, promoted admiral in 1690, Rooke was unusual among his naval contemporaries in being a Tory and was linked, through two of his three marriages, with the prominent Tory earl of Nottingham, William III's secretary of state (north) and de facto navy minister 1689–94. Rooke was at Bantry Bay (1689), Beachy Head (1690), and La Hogue (May/June 1692), where he distinguished himself and gained his knighthood. A year later he commanded the ill-fated 300-ship Smyrna convoy, but escaped blame for this débâcle. An MP for Portsmouth 1698–1708, Rooke held a command with the Dutch at the Copenhagen Sound in 1700 which called for prudent diplomacy between Denmark and Sweden. In 1702 he burnt a Franco-Spanish fleet at Vigo, and in August 1704 commanded at the capture of Gibraltar, subsequently fighting a bitter though drawn battle with the French Toulon fleet off Malaga. His success invited the jealousy of the Marlborough faction and this command proved his last.

David Denis Aldridge

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Lagos, battle of, 1759. In the summer of 1759 the nucleus of a French invasion fleet under de la Clue left Toulon and slipped past Edward Boscawen's squadron at Gibraltar. A running fight developed and on 18 August four French vessels sought refuge in Lagos Bay in southern Portugal. They were attacked, two captured and two burned, and de la Clue killed. The Portuguese protested at the violation of their neutrality.

J. A. Cannon