Battle of Pul-i-Sanghin, 1511

Battle of Pul-i-Sanghin, 1511

Battle of Pul-i-Sanghin, 1511

The battle of Pul-i-Sanghin or Abdara (1511) was the first victory won by Babur early in the campaign that led to his third and final occupation of Samarkand. Babur had lost control of Samarkand and his original kingdom of Fergana to the Uzbek conqueror Shaibani, and while Shaibani lived there was little or now chance of Babur regaining his homeland.

In 1509 Shaibani became involved in a war with Shah Isma'il of Persia, and in December 1510 he was killed at the battle of Merv. With the great Uzbek leader gone many of his Mongol troops left the Uzbek army, and rebels broke out across his former empire. Babur, who since 1504 had been ruler of Kabul, eagerly responded to a call for help from Mirza Khan, and crossed the mountains to Kunduz. His next target was Hisar (modern Hisor), further to the north.

A first expedition to Hisar had to be abandoned when Babur ran into strong Uzbek forces, but on his return to Kunduz Babur found a party of Persians who were returning his elder sister, the widowed former wife of Shaibani. Babur sent Mirza Khan to ask for help from Persia, and then advanced back towards Hisar. This time he camped on the southern banks of the Surkh-ab River (now the Vakhsh, one of the main rivers of Tajikistan), at the Pul-i-sangin (stone-bridge). The Uzbek sultans (key amongst them Hamza Sultan, Mahdi Sultan and Timur Sultan) camped on the far side of the river and both sides then waited for reinforcements.

After about a month Babur had still not received strong reinforcements, although Mirza Khan did rejoin the army, certainly with news of the new Persian alliance, and possible with some Persian troops. The Uzbeks either received reinforcements of their own, or decided that Babur was weak enough to attack, and one morning swam across the river below the bridge. Babur was informed of this at the time for afternoon prayers, and decided to retreat into the mountains. After an over-night march the army reached Abdara at about midday. Babur and his senior commanders decided to make a stand there, taking advantage of a strong position on a hill top.

When the Uzbeks arrived on the scene Timur Sultan decided to take possession of a second hill to the left of Babur's position. Babur responded by sending Mirza Khan to defend this hill. This position on Babur's left would see the only fighting during the battle - Babur's own position was too strong, and the Uzbeks were unwilling to risk an attack on it.

At first the fighting on the left went well for Timur Sultan. Most of Mirza Khan's men were forced back, and he was in danger himself. At this point reinforcements arrived, from a detachment by the future historian Mirza Haidar (author of the Tarik-i-Rashidi). These reinforcements restored the situation, and the battle on the left continued for the rest of the day.

Towards evening the Uzbeks realised that with no fresh water available at the base of the hill they would have to retire. As the troops facing Babur's main position began to withdraw his men charged down the hill. For the moment the Uzbek centre held its ground, but the fighting in the centre discouraged the troops facing Mirza Khan. They attempted to withdraw, but this retreat turned into a rout. This in turn spread to the Uzbek centre and soon the entire army was in retreat.

Although Timur Sultan escaped, Hamza and Mahdi were less fortunate. They were captured and immediately executed as traitors, having served Babur in the past. The defeated Uzbek army was pursued as far as the borders of Hisar province. Babur then advanced to Hisar, where he was joined by reinforcements that gave him 60,000 men.

Most of the remaining Uzbek Sultans were in Samarkand, to the north-west of Hisar, while Ubaid Ullah Khan, who should have been defending Bokhara, instead attempted to defend Qarshi (west of Hisar, south-west of Samarkand). Instead of attacking Qarshi Babur advanced one day beyond it, towards Bokhara. This forced Ubaid Ullah to abandon the fortress and attempt to reach Bokhara, but a vigorous pursuit prevented him from doing this. Bokhara fell to Babur without a struggle. When news of this defeat reached the Uzbek leaders in Samarkand they fled into Turkistan.

In mid October 1511 Babur entered the city in triumph, and became its ruler for the third and final time. His triumph would be short-lived. In order to gain Persian support Babur had agreed to try and impose Shah Isma'il's Shi'a beliefs on the Sunni inhabitants of Samarkand. This lost Babur the support of his new subjects, and meant that when the Uzbeks returned to the attack in 1512 Babur would be outnumbered. Defeat would follow, at Kul-i-Malik.


As Chinese merchants brought news of the Spanish withdrawal to the Dutch, telling them that the Spanish intended to abandon Formosa altogether and were merely waiting for permission from the king. The Dutch were growing interested in northern Taiwan because they had heard reports of gold mines in the northeast and felt they could not go prospecting until the Spanish had been removed. After making contact with the aborigines of Danshui, the Dutch decided to launch their attack.

In courteous terms, the Dutch Governor Paulus Traudenius informed the Spanish governor of their intentions.

Sir,
I have the honor to communicate to you that I have received the command of a considerable naval and military force with the view of making me master by civil means or otherwise of the fortress Santissima Trinidad in the isle of Ke-lung of which your Excellency is the Governor.
In accordance with the usages of Christian nations to make known their intentions before commencing hostilities, I now summon your Excellency to surrender. If your Excellency is disposed to lend an ear to the terms of capitulation which we offer and make delivery to me of the fortress of Santissima Trinidad and other citadels, your Excellency and your troops will be treated in good faith according to the usages and customs of war, but if your Excellency feigns to be deaf to this command there will be no other remedy than recourse to arms. I hope that your Excellency will give careful consideration to the contents of this letter and avoid the useless effusion of blood, and I trust that without delay and in a few words you will make known to me your intentions.
May God protect your Excellency many years,
The Friend of your Excellency,
PAULUS TRAUDENIUS [1]

The Spanish governor was not inclined to give in so easily and replied in kind.

Sir I have duly received your communication of August 26th, and in response I have the honor to point out to you that as becomes a good Christian who recalls the oath he has made before his king, I cannot and will not surrender the forts demanded by your Excellency, as I and my garrison have determined to defend them. I am accustomed to find myself before great armies, and I have engaged in numerous battles in Flanders as well as other countries, and so I beg of you not to take the trouble of writing me further letters of like tenor. May each one defend himself as best he can. We are Spanish Christians and God in whom we trust is our protector.
May the Lord have mercy on you.
Written in our principal fortress San Salvador the 6th of September 1641.
GONSALO PORTILIS [1]

In August 1641, a Dutch expedition sailed to the Bay of Jilong to study the Spaniards' situation and, if possible, capture San Salvador. Warned by an aboriginal friend, the Spanish prepared for an attack. The Dutch soldiers landed on the shore of the bay across from the island. Since the Spanish governor had refused to allow aborigines to seek refuge in the fortress, many fled into the mountains. The Dutch brought with them some 500 northern aborigines, they entered Kimaurri without opposition. They spent the night there and the next morning climbed the hill behind the village and proceeded methodically to count the Spanish infantry by telescope, "seeing in this way everything that they wanted to." Later, even though the Dutch outnumbered the Spanish and had the support of hundreds of aborigines, the Dutch commander realized he did not have enough cannons to mount a proper siege. The Dutch disengaged and left, burning Kimaurri on the way.

As the Spanish watched the Dutch depart, they were impressed by the number and orderliness of their enemies' aboriginal allies. "The enemy," wrote one, "convened the entire Danshui River and all the villages that are under their jurisdiction, which was a very large number of Indians, and, when from this fortress we saw them arrayed at intervals on the hills and beaches, we [realized] that they [the Indians] were an army." Indeed, on their way back from San Salvador to southwestern Taiwan, the Dutch made an agreement with the "natives of Danshui," promising them protection against their enemies. Not long afterward, emissaries from Danshui went to the Dutch headquarters in Zeelandia and, according to Dutch sources, officially handed over their lands to the Dutch, in the same manner that the villages of the southwestern plains had done in the 1630s. The balance of power had changed in Formosa. Without help from Manila, the Spanish had little means of withstanding a Dutch attack, which is exactly what happened in the Second Battle of San Salvador.

The Spanish celebrated the departure of the Dutch with a procession of thanksgiving. But the Dutch had already delivered a major blow to Spanish authority in Taiwan. By making peace with the aborigines in Danshui, the Dutch turned an area that had once been a central part of the Pax Hispanica into enemy territory for the Spanish. Moreover, by burning Kimaurri and mocking the Spanish beneath their very fortress, the Dutch had denigrated the Spaniards' military reputation, an attribute most necessary in the warlike world of seventeenth-century Formosa. The Spanish governor complained to Governor-General Corcuera that he could no longer persuade the aborigines to cooperate even in small matters: "They are traitors and are risen against us, being of a nature that they only help those who vanquish them."


Contents

During the Second World War, Bamber Bridge hosted American servicemen from the 1511th Quartermaster Truck regiment, part of the Eighth Air Force. Their base, Air Force Station 569 (nicknamed "Adam Hall"), was on Mounsey Road, part of which still exists now as home to 2376 (Bamber Bridge) Squadron of the Royal Air Force Air Cadets. The 1511th Quartermaster Truck was a logistics unit, and its duty was to deliver materiel to other Eighth Air Forces bases in Lancashire. [2] The 234th US Military Police Company were also in the town, on its north side. [1]

The US Armed Forces were still racially segregated, and the soldiers of 1511 Quartermaster Truck were almost entirely black, and all but one of the officers were white, as were the MPs. Military commanders tended to treat the service units as "dumping grounds" for less competent officers, and the leadership in the unit was poor. [3] Racial tensions were exacerbated by the race riots in Detroit earlier that week, which had led to 34 deaths, including 25 black casualties. [4] The people of Bamber Bridge supported the black troops, and when US commanders demanded a colour bar in the town, all three pubs in the town reportedly posted "Black Troops Only" signs. [5]

On the evening of 24 June 1943, some soldiers from the 1511th Quartermaster Truck regiment were drinking with the English townsfolk in Ye Old Hob Inn. Two passing MPs, Corporal Roy A. Windsor and Private First Class Ralph F. Ridgeway, entered the pub and attempted to arrest one soldier (Private Eugene Nunn) upon seeing that he was improperly dressed (in a field jacket, rather than class A uniform). An argument ensued between the black soldier and the white MPs, with local people and British servicewomen of the Auxiliary Territorial Service siding with Nunn. [1] Even a white British soldier challenged the MPs by saying, "Why do you want to arrest them? They're not doing anything or bothering anybody." [6]

Staff Sergeant William Byrd, who was black, defused the situation but as the MPs left, a beer was thrown at their jeep. After the MPs picked up two reinforcements, they spoke to Captain Julius F. Hirst and Lieutenant Gerald C. Windsor, who told the MPs to do their duty and to arrest the black soldiers. A group of MPs intercepted the soldiers on Station Road as they returned to their base at Mounsey Road. A fight broke out in the road, which led to shots being fired. One struck Private William Crossland in the back and killed him. [6]

Some of the injured black soldiers returned to their base, but the killing caused panic as rumours began to spread that the MPs were out to shoot black soldiers. Although the colonel was absent, acting CO Major George C. Heris did his best to calm the situation. Lieutenant Edwin D. Jones, the unit's only black officer, managed to persuade the soldiers that Heris would be able to round up the MPs and see that justice was done. [1] [3]

However, at midnight, several jeeps full of MPs arrived at the camp, including one improvised armoured car armed with a large machine gun. That prompted black soldiers to arm themselves with weapons. Around two thirds of the rifles were taken, and a large group left the base in pursuit of the MPs. [1] British police officers claimed that the MPs set up a roadblock and ambushed the soldiers. [4]

The black soldiers warned the townsfolk to stay inside when a firefight broke out between them and the MPs, which resulted in seven wounded. The shooting stopped around 04:00 the next morning. Eventually, the soldiers returned to the base, and by the afternoon, all but four rifles had been recovered. [1] [3]

The violence left one man dead and seven people (five soldiers and two MPs) injured. [3] Although a court martial convicted 32 black soldiers of mutiny and related crimes, poor leadership and racist attitudes among the MPs was blamed as the cause. [1]

General Ira C. Eaker, commander of the Eighth Air Force, placed most of the blame for the violence on the white officers and MPs because of their poor leadership and the use of racial slurs by MPs. To prevent similar incidents happening again, he combined the black trucking units into a single special command. The ranks of that command were purged of inexperienced and racist officers, and the MP patrols were racially integrated. Morale among black troops stationed in England improved, and the rates of courts-martial fell. Although there were several more racial incidents between black and white American troops in Britain during the war, none was on the scale of that of Bamber Bridge. [2] [5]

Reports of the mutiny were heavily censored, with newspapers disclosing only that violence had occurred in a town somewhere in North West England. [7] The author Anthony Burgess, who lived in the Bamber Bridge area after the war, wrote about the event briefly in The New York Times in 1973 and in his autobiography, Little Wilson and Big God. [5] [8]

Popular interest in the event increased in the late 1980s after a maintenance worker discovered bullet holes from the battle in the walls of a Bamber Bridge bank. [6]

In June 2013, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the incident, the University of Central Lancashire held a symposium. [9] It included a screening of the 2009 documentary Choc'late Soldiers from the USA [A] which was produced by Gregory Cooke, and a performance of Lie Back and Think of America, a play written by Natalie Penn of Front Room, which had played at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. [9]


The Fall Of Malacca Changed The Course Of History

Exactly 508 years ago a thriving city on the western coast of the Malay Peninsula became the axis upon which history spun toward a new direction. Founded by a martial prince generations prior, Malacca flourished from the trade between China and the Middle East, its location was such that the single narrow body of water it commanded–a narrow strait buttressed by Sumatra–kept its name. Yet in the summer of 1511 a small fleet of Portuguese carracks blockaded its port and effected a siege. At the head of the invaders was Afonso de Albuquerque (b. 1453 – d. 1515), fresh from his conquests of Aden and Hormuz, who saw to it that the “Moors” who ruled Malacca and its lucrative spice exports would fall.

The events that led to the war between a faraway European kingdom and Malacca has its origins in a crusading spirit that animated the Portuguese monarchy in the years when its neighbor Spain finished its Reconquista against the Granadan Moors in 1492. Since Portugal also battled Muslim states in North Africa there was an incentive not just to defeat a historic enemy but use the conflict as a springboard for empire-building. An aristocrat and veteran of his country’s own Moorish wars, Albuquerque was ordered by the Portuguese monarch to launch an Asian expedition in 1506, with the desired outcome being multifaceted: Find viable sea routes, build a presence in India, and determine the source of the lucrative spices. (It turned out these commodities were grown in the Moluccas that are now part of Indonesia.)

Rather than a daring explorer with a cosmopolitan worldview the accounts of Albuquerque’s actions in the succeeding years paints a less than heroic figure. A fighting man in charge of a small army, once Albuquerque’s fleet rounded the Cape of Good Hope and reached the Indian Ocean they ascertained the main trade routes that enriched the Mamluks, Persians, and Ottomans. The Portuguese saw few distinctions between these Islamic empires and, years later, the inhabitants of Malacca were identified as Moors. Having attempted conquests of Aden, the scenic port guarding the Red Sea, and Hormuz, which commanded the entrance to the Persian Gulf, Albuquerque’s men were close to breaking the established trade routes connecting China and the Middle East.

The momentary weakness of the local Muslim rulers allowed the Portuguese, outnumbered on land and at sea, to wrest Goa in 1510 and establish a base where they could maraud the Arabian Sea. The scale of this belligerence can’t be dismissed Albuquerque’s grand strategy was to dominate an entire ocean and monopolize its trade for the benefit of his king, the ambitious Manuel I. In 1511 Albuquerque launched his most daring campaign yet: traveling farther east to claim the Spice Islands!

With just 18 warships and less than 2,000 men, almost half were South Asian mercenaries, the battle for Malacca began in July and lasted the better part of the month. Of course, the city’s ruler gathered his fleet and put up a determined resistance. The Malays had ample weapons to defend themselves, including thousands of small cannon, and their ships were enormous. To claim the Portuguese enjoyed a technological advantage is dubious since an easy victory eluded them for weeks. But Albuquerque’s men were driven by the prospect of looting Malacca’s treasures and once the city was theirs the historical details are muddled. Did the Portuguese exact cruel vengeance on the Malays? Were the inhabitants massacred?

Having won himself a fortune and immeasurable prestige at home, Albuquerque passed away just four years later in 1515 it was his 58th year. But a tragic chain of consequences were now in motion. It was another veteran who served under Albuquerque, one Magalhaes or “Magellan” to the Spanish, who circumnavigated the globe seeking the elusive Spice Islands only to meet his end at the Battle of Mactan in 1521. Yet as the 16th century wore on the Europeans kept breaking off little Asian territories until full conquests were possible.

The Fall of Malacca stands as the first open conflict between a European state and a polity in “maritime Southeast Asia.” If Albuquerque had failed and was killed in battle, perhaps Portugal and later on Spain would never have bothered sending ships to Asia, reversing the inevitability of Europe’s rise. But what happened instead was the slow conquest of a unique geography, a great archipelago the Europeans named the “East Indies” that supplied the world with its most valued products.

The veteran journalist and author Philip Bowring coined the term “Nusantaria” to assert the importance of Southeast Asia in world history. In his masterful new book Empire of the Winds the region encompassing the ASEAN bloc is given a refreshing historical narrative dating to the last Ice Age, which created a vast archipelago connecting the Indian and Pacific oceans, until the present. The Nusantarians imagined by Bowring were masters of seaborne trade and their lasting contribution to the world is enabling its commerce, whether it’s cloves or semiconductors.

In Bowring’s assessment what happened after Malacca’s conquest was the steady encroachment of Spanish, Dutch, English, and French expeditions who were determined to subjugate Asia and hijack its economy. The reader should bear in mind this process went on until World War 2. Bowring makes it clear the past holds the key to the region’s future. Just as the Nusantarians struggled to resist the brunt of colonization, only succeeding in the 20th century, so must Nusantarians be prepared for a coming struggle between great powers over the Indo-Pacific.


List of Wars in Pax Islamic History (c. 624—c. 1999)

A chronological list of battles and wars across the Islamic World and beyond, from the seventh century to the present spans at least 1,432 years of Islamic history. There have been 254 campaigns in total, averaging an outbreak of conflict every 5.64 years. Although large parts of the Muslim world are very safe from war, a few countries in the Near East, Africa and South Asia are quite vulnerable to conflict. In addition persecution of the Muslim community also currently presents a danger in lands such as India and Serbia, which are not listed as parts of battles or wars (such as the Gujurat pogrom in 2002 in India). The most peaceful period was between the eighth and tenth centuries, in the middle of the Islamic Golden Age (a cultural, intellectual, political and technologically advanced age), and the worst during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries during the White European imperial age. The Early Middle-ages (7th-10th Centuries) saw twenty-seven campaigns, the High Middle-ages (11th-13th Centuries) thirty-seven campaigns, the Late Middle-ages (14th-16th) sixty-one campaigns, and in the Contemporary Era (18th-19th Centuries) fifty-nine campaigns, with the Post-Early Modern Era (19th-20th Centuries) registering at least eighty-seven campaigns in total.

The list of battles in not fully complete and only includes additions made in Alexander Mikaberidze's "Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia"' (where for example the Siege of Silistria (1854), is not mentioned). However the number of campaigns appears accurate and are listed chronologically. Certain campaigns known elsewhere may also have names different to those remembered in Islamic history. In addition there are more than several notable battles in Islamic history that have had several important implications in relation to Islamic warfare. Some of the most famous battles have included Yarmouk, (636), Masts (655), Xeres (711), Manzikert (1071), Maritsa (1371), Nicopolis (1396), Mohacs (1526), Preveza (1538), Algiers (1541), 2nd Panipat (1556), Djerba (1560), 3rd Panipat (1761), Pollilur (1780), Gallipoli (1915), Kashmir (1947) and Chechnya (1994). Some of the most famous campaigns have consisted of the Turkish War of Independence (1919-1922) and the advent of the Crusades (1096-1272) in which the Muslims eventually triumphed. Throughout Islamic history, some notable weapons were also invented during warfare such as the torpedo, giant bombards, trebuchets, rockets and scimitars.


When Catherine of Aragon Led England’s Armies to Victory Over Scotland

She was, in the words of historian John Edwards, Henry VIII’s “greatest queen.” But though Catherine of Aragon’s marriage to the Tudor king lasted 24 years—collectively, his five other marriages spanned just 14 years—she has long been overshadowed by her successors.

The daughter of Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, Catherine came to England as the bride of Henry’s older brother, Arthur, Prince of Wales. But Arthur died shortly after the pair’s wedding, leaving his 16-year-old widow in a precarious position. Though Spain and England initially sought to maintain their alliance by marrying Catherine to another member of the Tudor family (both Henry and his father, Henry VII, were suggested as potential suitors), negotiations soured as diplomatic relations shifted. Ultimately, Catherine spent seven years mired in uncertainty over her future.

The princess’ fortunes shifted when Henry VII died in 1509, leaving the throne to his sole surviving son, who promptly married his alluring young sister-in-law. The couple’s loving relationship, however, eventually deteriorated due to a lack of a male heir and the king’s infatuation with Anne Boleyn.

Catherine is often portrayed as a dowdy, overly pious, stubborn old woman who refused to yield her position for the good of the kingdom. The truth, however, is more nuanced—a fact increasingly reflected in cultural depictions of the queen, including Starz’s “The Spanish Princess” and West End hit Six: The Musical, which features a fictionalized version of Catherine chiding her husband for forgetting that “I’ve never lost control / No matter how many times I knew you lied.”

Far from being the troublesome, unappealing wife of popular imagination, Catherine was actually a charismatic, intelligent and much-loved queen. Three years into the royal couple’s marriage, Henry was still so besotted with his consort that he invited a Spanish visitor to look at her “just to see how bella and beautiful she was.”

In 1513, the queen, then 27 years old, was entrusted with command of the kingdom while her 22-year-old husband waged war against France’s Francis I. Henry left behind a small group of advisors, but as newly discovered documents demonstrate, Catherine didn’t simply defer to these elderly men’s counsel. Instead, she assumed an active role in the governing—and protection—of England.

“When she is left as regent, she is in her element,” says Julia Fox, author of Sister Queens: The Noble, Tragic Lives of Katherine of Aragon and Juana, Queen of Castile. “… She has the power to summon troops, to appoint sheriffs, to sign warrants and to get money from the treasurer of the chamber.”

As Henry and his troops besieged the French town of Thérouanne, Catherine and her council readied for a clash closer to home. Just over a month into the queen’s regency, France’s ally, Scotland’s James IV, had declared war on England, bringing a period of peace between the neighboring nations to an end.

The fact that James was married to Henry’s older sister, Margaret, did little to dissuade either him or Catherine from entering the fray. According to 17th-century chronicler William Drummond, the pregnant Scottish queen pleaded with her husband to desist, noting that he was poised to fight “a mighty people, now turned insolent by their riches at home and power abroad.” But James, buoyed by the possibility of conquest (and of dealing a blow to his egotistical brother-in-law), refused.

Catherine, for her part, appeared to “relish the opportunity” to exercise her full authority, says Giles Tremlett, author of Catherine of Aragon: Henry's Spanish Queen. In an August 13 letter, the queen wrote, “My heart is very good to it.” Wryly referencing women’s traditional role in warfare, she added, “I am horribly busy with making standards, banners and badges.”

Michael Sittow portrait of Catherine, c. 1502 (left), and portrait of Henry VIII around the time of his first wedding (Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Though Catherine did, in fact, order the royal wardrobe to furnish two banners bearing the arms of England and Spain, as well as “standards of the lion crowned imperial,” such tasks made up just a small portion of her preparations. Working with councilors, she mobilized forces across England, communicating with local authorities to determine how many men and horses their parishes could provide. When the mayor and sheriffs of Gloucester failed to respond in a timely fashion, she gave them a deadline of 15 days and emphasized that “writing and news from the Borders show that the King of Scots means war.”

In addition to recruiting soldiers, the queen dispatched money (㾶,000, to be exact), artillery, gunners, a fleet of eight ships and supplies ranging from grain to pipes of beer and armor. She had Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey—a combat-hardened, 70-year-old veteran of the 1485 Battle of Bosworth—and his army of around 26,000 mount a first line of defense near the border with Scotland and asked Sir Thomas Lovell to lead a secondary force in England’s Midlands.

What Catherine did next was unprecedented, particularly for a kingdom where warfare was considered an exclusively male domain. As records recently found at the United Kingdom’s National Archives testify, this daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella—two famously bellicose rulers who’d spent Catherine’s childhood driving the Muslim Moors out of the Iberian Peninsula—left the safety of London and headed north toward the English-Scottish border with 1,500 sets of armor, as well as a golden “headpiece with crown” that Tremlett likens to “an armored sun hat,” in tow.

“The new details involve the queen more deeply as a director of events rather than a passive figurehead managed by those of Henry’s counselors left in England,” Sean Cunningham, the archivist who discovered the papers, told the Times’ Mark Bridges in May. “… [They] let us know that Catherine was heading for Warwick [Castle] and the Tower [of London] had pretty much been emptied of armor.”

Catherine and her troops were ready to face the Scots if James IV managed to defeat both Surrey’s and Lovell’s forces. One contemporary, Peter Martyr, reported that the queen, “in imitation of her mother Isabella,” regaled her reserve army with a speech compelling them to “defend their territory” and “remember that English courage excelled that of all other nations.”

This incident is widely referenced—including in an upcoming episode of “The Spanish Princess,” which will feature a highly exaggerated version of Catherine, clad in armor fashioned to accommodate her visible pregnancy, riding directly into battle—but many historians now consider Martyr’s account apocryphal. (Ambassadors’ correspondence indicates that the queen delivered a premature son who died shortly after birth in October 1513, but the pregnancy’s veracity remains a point of contention in Sister Queens, Fox argues, “[I]it seems unlikely that she would have risked a much-wanted child by accompanying the army from London.”)

Tremlett deems the speech “almost certainly invented” but points out that this “doesn’t mean it [didn’t] reflect the spirit of the moment.” Fox, meanwhile, says Catherine probably made “a speech, … but whether it was quite as rousing or as wonderful, I don’t know.”

Memorial to the dead at the site of the Battle of Flodden (The Land via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 4.0)

As it turned out, neither Lovell nor the queen ended up seeing action. On September 9, Surrey’s troops and James’ army of more than 30,000 engaged in battle. The English wielded the bill, a simple hooked weapon derived from an agricultural tool, while the Scots opted for the longer, steel-tipped pike. An afternoon of “great slaughter, sweating and travail” ensued, and by its end, some 10,000 Scots—including 12 earls, 14 lords, an archbishop, a bishop, 2 abbots and James himself—lay dead. Comparatively, the smaller English army only lost around 1,500 men.

The Scottish king’s brutal fate was, in a way, evocative of the broader blow inflicted on his country in the wake of the defeat: As historian Leanda de Lisle explains, “James’ left hand was almost severed, his throat gashed, and an arrow was shot through his lower jaw.” (Additional ignominies, including one at Catherine’s own hand, awaited the king’s corpse.) With the Stuart monarch’s passing, his infant son, James V, became the leader of a grieving, much-reduced nation.

According to Fox, the Battle of Flodden (which draws its name from nearby Flodden Edge) left Scotland “in a powerless situation.” She adds, “Not only have you just defeated them in a spectacular way, but [the kingdom is] in disarray. Scotland is practically at [England’s] mercy.”

Prior to Cunningham’s find, historians had only known that Catherine was in Buckingham, around 60 miles north of London, when she received word of Surrey’s victory. But the new evidence suggests that the queen intended to travel further north, if not directly into battle like Joan of Arc, then at least into the vicinity of combat.

“Many a queen would have quite simply hotfooted it to the Tower of London, pulled up the drawbridge and sat there fairly safely,” says Fox. “… But she doesn't do that. She’s no milk sop. She’s not taking refuge. She really is out on the road.”

Three days after the battle, Catherine penned a letter to her husband, who had successfully captured Thérouanne and was now besieging Tournai. She began by emphasizing Flodden’s significance, writing, “[T]o my thinking this battle hath been to your grace, and all your realm, the greatest honour that could be, and more than should you win all the crown of France.” As one might expect of such a deeply religious individual, the queen proceeded to thank God for the victory—and subtly remind Henry to do the same.

Catherine’s missive then took a rather unexpected turn. She’d sent her husband a piece of the Scottish king’s bloodied surcoat (“for your banners”) but lamented that she’d originally hoped to send a much more macabre trophy: the embalmed body of James himself. Unfortunately, the queen reported, she soon realized that “our Englishmen’s hearts would not suffer it.”

This “gleeful and somewhat bloodthirsty” sentiment may seem out of character for a woman renowned for her piety, but as Tremlett points out, “Plenty of pious people were also violent, [and] plenty of people were violently pious.” Few exemplify this seemingly contradictory mindset as well as Catherine’s own parents, who waged a relentless, violent campaign against all non-Christians in their kingdom.

Catherine and Henry later in life (Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Ferdinand and Isabella’s reconquest of Spain culminated in the January 2, 1492, fall of Granada, which marked the end of 780 years of Muslim rule in the Iberian Peninsula. Then an impressionable 6-year-old, Catherine witnessed the Moors’ surrender, as well as her mother’s leading role in the military crusade.

“This [stays] with her,” says Fox. “This idea of a woman involved in battles is there. And when she actually comes to the divorce question, she sees it as a battle. She sees fighting for her own marriage as just as important as fighting for the Catholic faith.”

Though Catherine was careful to praise her husband’s success in France, she and other contemporary observers knew that Henry’s triumphs paled in comparison to Flodden.

As Antonia Fraser writes in The Wives of Henry VIII, “[T]he Scottish threat was removed for a generation by the slaughter of its leaders. … Compared to this, the Battle of the Spurs won over the French, although part of an expensive campaign, was a purely temporary check, forgotten the next year when the King turned his foreign policy on its head.”

Catherine wasn’t the first English queen to assume the reins of power in the absence of a male monarch. Sixty years prior, another foreign-born princess, Margaret of Anjou, took charge of the kingdom amid the Wars of the Roses, fighting for her son’s inheritance and making major decisions on behalf of her disastrously incompetent husband, Henry VI. More recently, Henry VIII’s grandmother Margaret Beaufort—an “uncrowned queen,” in the words of historian Nicola Tallis—had acted as regent in the brief period before the young king came of age. (Years after Catherine’s death, her beloved daughter, Mary I, followed in her mother’s footsteps by rallying troops to her cause and seizing the throne from those who had sought to thwart her.)

Combined with the example set by Isabella and other relatives, says Tremlett, “Catherine had some very strong role models for women who could rule, for women who could fight.”

Whereas Margaret of Anjou’s seizure of power made her deeply unpopular, Catherine’s regency cemented her already sterling reputation. In the mid-1520s, when Henry first raised the question of divorcing his wife, he found that public opinion was firmly on the queen’s side. She viewed the survival of her marriage as inextricable from the survival of the Catholic Church, according to Fox, and refused to back down despite immense pressure.

Catherine’s legacy, adds the historian, “is that of a wronged woman … who did not accept defeat, who fought for what she believed to be right until the breath left her body.”

Henry, for his part, never forgot the tenacity his wife had demonstrated in the days leading up to Flodden. As he later reflected with no small amount of trepidation, she was perfectly capable of carrying “on a war … as fiercely as Queen Isabella, her mother, had done in Spain.


The Battle of the Spurs

The Battle of the Spurs is also known as the Battle of Guinegate. It took place on August 16 in 1513.

Essentially Henry VIII had a full treasury and wanted to be a traditional monarch which meant going to war in Europe, preferably against the French. He was encouraged in this by the young men of his court who wanted fortune and glory. Polydore Vergil noted that the king was aware of his responsibility to seek military fame – and what better way to do it that to retrieve the Empire. All that remained of Henry V’s campaign victories and the early empire of the medieval kings was Calais and its Pale. This fitted nicely with his father-in-law Ferdinand of Aragon’s military plans.

0n 17 November 1511 Henry signed up to Treaty of Westminster and the Holy League which promised to protect the papacy. The only thing better than fighting the French was to fight the French as part of a holy war – you might describe it as a win-win situation so far as Henry was concerned.

The Holy League was formed by Julius II with the intention of removing the French from Italy – so really and truly it is part of the Italian Wars which began in 1495 and were concluded in 1559. Julius II realised the threat that the French posed and entered into an alliance with the Venetians in 1510. Let us leave the tooings and froings of the European powers aside – suffice it to say that in March 1512 Julius II withdrew the title “Most Christian King” from Louis XII and then gave France to Henry VIII of England. There was the small matter of the French not wanting to hand France over to Henry.

Thomas Grey, Marquess of Dorset arrived in the basque regions with 10,000 men. They marched to Fuenterrabia where the plan was that an Anglo-Spanish force would capture Aquitaine. Thomas Grey was the second marquess and the third son of Thomas Grey the eldest son of Elizabeth Woodville – meaning that our marquess was one of Henry’s half-cousins. The family had a bit of a colourful relationship with the Tudors but now he was sent off to acquire Aquitaine. This suited Ferdinand of Aragon’s (pictured at the start of this paragraph) desire to put the French off invading Northern Spain. He had his eyes on Navarre. The English stayed put until August 1512 during which time Ferdinand didn’t provide the support to capture Aquitaine that he had promised to his son-in-law (which didn’t help Katherine of Aragon’s relationship with her spouse) and also tried to persuade Grey to help him in his campaign in Navarre. Grey refused to deviate from his task.

Whilst all this was going on finances ran low as did food and all I can say is that troops turned to wine and became rather unwell due to lack of food, poor hygiene and bad weather. 3,000 of them caught the bloody flux. They blamed it on foreign food but generally speaking dysentery isn’t caused by garlic or wine. Sir Thomas Knyvet died at this time. Ultimately Grey’s army mutinied and when he arrived home Grey was in the doghouse. Henry considered trying him for dereliction of duty. It can’t have helped that Henry was hardly covered in glory at this point.

Somehow Grey managed to extricate himself and went with Henry the following year on campaign to France. He was at the Siege of Tournai and the Battle of the Spurs. In May 1513 English troops began to arrive in Calais. By then the Emperor Maximilian had joined the Holy Roman League and Louis XII of France was trying to persuade the Scots to attack the English – which ended disastrously for the Scots at Flodden. By the end of June Henry VIII was also in France having been outfitted by Thomas Wolsey who increasingly had the king’s ear at the expense of Katherine of Aragon – whose father had made something of a fool of Henry encouraging him to make an attempt on Aquitaine the previous year with the intent of using him as a distraction for his own ends. Despite that Henry left Katherine as regent during his French campaign and to ensure that there wasn’t any unrest had the Earl of Suffolk executed before he went – and let’s not forget that he was a cousin of sorts as well. Edmund de la Pole was the Yorkist heir. The Earl’s younger brother was in France so escaped Henry’s precautionary executions but it probably didn’t help that he called himself the White Rose.

On 24 July Henry and emperor Maximilian laid siege to Thérouanne. The Duc de Longueville was sent to relieve the town but when the English saw the French cavalry make an attempt to supply the town they chased after it. The French fled – hence the name Battle of the Spurs- suggesting that the French did more fleeing than fighting!

Part of the reason for the French confusion was because Henry Percy, the Fifth Earl of Northumberland appeared with English cavalry in front of the French forces whilst they were also potentially outflanked by English archers.

There was an undignified chase with the French trying to get their men to stop and fight. Henry and the Holy Roman Emperor captured six French standards and the Duc de Longueville. The duc, Louis d’Orleans, was packed off back to England where he was ensconced in the Tower. Whilst he was a prisoner he began a relationship with Jane Popincourt, a Frenchwoman who had been in the household of Elizabeth of York, who is also alleged to have been one of Henry VIII’s mistresses. Certainly when all the shouting was over and Henry’s sister Mary Tudor was married off to the aged Louis XII he struck Jane’s name from a list of women in Mary’s household. When Jane did eventually go to France to join Longueville, Henry gave her £100 which might have been for loyalty to Elizabeth of York, might have been for tutoring the Tudor children in French and it might have been for other things – unfortunately the accounts don’t give that kind of information.

Really and truly the Battle of the Spurs is not a battle in the truest sense of the word but it did bulk up Henry VIII’s martial reputation and answered what he’d arrived in France for in the first instance – i.e. glory and prestige on a European stage.

Thérouanne surrendered on the 22 August.

Hutchinson, Robert. (2012) Young Henry: The Rise of Henry VIII. London: Orion Books

Weir, Alison. (2001) Henry VIII: King and Court. London: Jonathan Cape


The true story behind The Battle of Bamber Bridge in World War 2

The American race riot that kicked off in a Lancashire town.

Anglo-American relations have been seemingly and inextricably linked for decades.

But in 1943, the violent reality of American social division, politics and racial division was brought violently, and forcibly to Britain&aposs front door.

When American troops flooded into England, readying themselves for the invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe, no one could have predicted that politics in the states would spill over into fighting and gunshots in Lancashire.

This is the story of battle fought between American troops in Bamber Bridge, Preston, where racial politics in the US caused troops on the other side of the world to take up arms.

The War, D-day plans and Americans in Britain

In 1942 the Second World War had entered a crucial phase.

Germany had ultimately failed in its grandiose plans to invade Britain following the Battle of Britain and the blitz which, despite destroying thousands of homes and killing hundreds of citizens, had not quelled Winston Churchill&aposs war effort.

The RAF had covered itself in glory defending our island home and, with much of its own airforce out of action, Nazi Germany had to come to terms with the realisation that Churchill&aposs Britain would stand firm.

It was the first time Germany had been halted during the whole war and it gave the allies the breathing space to decide upon a counter attack.

Hitler moved to invade Russia soon after failing to cajole Britain, making one of history&aposs greatest mistakes: never, EVER, invade Russia. Napoleon had made the same mishap more than hundred years before and lost his Empire within months, for Hitler, it signalled the beginning of a long and terrible end to his plans for European domination.

Whilst the Russian&aposs began a slow and bloody push from the eastern front to topple Germany, the allies devised a plan to open up a second front.

The second front would see Hitler&aposs armies caught in a trap between two large forces bearing down on Germany, a pincer movement that would surely shove him towards surrender.

The plans for D-day centred around landing on the beaches of occupied France with the largest possible force. Like a nail striking a hammer, the pressure of such numbers on a small area would see the allies break through the lines at Normandy and begin the push towards Berlin from the west.

More than 150,000 Troops from Norway, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, as well as dissidents from the now occupied France, Poland and Czechoslovakia all gathered in England, ready to make the crossing in June 1944. They would train along British coastlines, simulating parachute drops and landings from flat-bottomed crafts. Their soldiers would be drilled in British fields and live in British barracks. They would live and breathe British life until the eventual invasion in 1944.

In 1943, the 1511 Quartermaster Truck Regiment, a logistics unit for the Us Eight Air Force, were based in Bamber Bridge where they ran supplies to other US regiments across the county. They were decamped next to the 234th US Military Police Company who had quarters on the north side of the town.

The military police naturally keep order within the army and could impose law and order upon fellow troops who had broken the law or were using their own prowess as soldiers to do as they pleased.

At this point racial segregation was still thriving in America. Much like South Africa&aposs Apartheid, people of colour were separated from white people in the Confederate states who had lost the civil war in 1865. Despite freedom being grants to slaves across these states, the old Confederacy adopted the Jim Crows Laws which introduced segregation in America on a &aposseparate but equal&apos basis.

Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Florida and eleven other states had active segregation, with laws governing where people of colour could live, eat, shop, walk, sit on public transport, go to school and even work.

These laws covered almost every facet of social life. Black men in the state of Georgia could not be attended to by white nurses and black barbers could not cut the hair of a white person in Alabama.

Another four states, including New Mexico and Arizona, also had some kind of Jim Crow Law which prohibited people of colour from doing certain things like marrying a white person or even being buried in the same funeral plot as them. In 23 of the 50 states Jim Crow had some say.

The US army was also segregated. People of colour served in their own units and it was rarely seen that white and black soldiers fought alongside on another.

It just so happened that almost all of those in the 1511 regiment were black American citizens and were being led by white officers whilst the MP&aposs were also all white.

They were also largely incompetent. As mentioned, the truck regiments were for logistical purposes, requiring little military intellect to run and so these regiments became dumping grounds for incompetent officers. Moral was low amongst the regiment and leadership lacking.

The stage was therefore set for tensions to rise, as the racially segregated truck regiment continued to operate in the town whilst racial tensions grew across the pond.

Black power state-side: The Detroit Race Riot

Detroit, the state of Michigan. One of the largest US cities and still considered to be one of the most dangerous.

During the early 20th century it saw an influx of Americans from the deep south, Jim Crow strongholds, and as a result the infamous Ku Klux Klan developed a huge presence there from as early as 1915.

Whilst the second embodiment of the Klan (there was to be a third in the 1960s) had begun to collapse following the rape and abduction of Madge Oberholtzer in 1925, the ideals of white supremacy and support for segregation would have still held sway there.

As American prepared for war, several industries in Detroit were taken over and used for arms production with its thriving automobile industry being used to surplus the US army.

The dramatic change in industry and the sudden, startling demand for arms, led thousands more to emigrate from the deep south of the country, and from Europe, to find work in Detroit, flooding the city with outsiders who were competing desperately for employment and a place to live.

People of colour were treated horrifically, they received less rations during the war and were employed in the factories but given no housing to accompany their jobs. As a result black workers, some 200,000 of them, were accommodated in just 60 blocks in the city&aposs, ironically named,Paradise Valley.

When more African American, white and European workers streamed into the city looking for work, the government was forced to start a new black housing project in amongst a white neighbourhood to accommodate the city&aposs new arrivals.

As the housing project was introduced, more than a thousand whites, some armed, picketed the arrival of African Americans into the city. They held a burning cross. Part of the ritual introduced by the KKK in their revival.

But things would really come to ahead in June 1943.

It became commonplace for whites to halt production to protest the promotion of their African American co-workers whilst other factories faced habitual slowdowns by bigoted whites who refused to work alongside African Americans.

Pitched, racial-motivated street battles exploded into life all around the city and on June 20, 1943, more than 200 African Americans and whites fought each other at Belle Isle.

Things got out of hand as rumours spread across the city, causing larger mobs from both races gathered to fight one another.

Cars were overturned and set on fire, men on both sides were beaten, businesses pillaged and property damaged. A white doctor visiting Parade Valley was beaten to death whilst men of colour exiting the Roxy Theatre in Woodward were brutally attacked by a white mob.

The violence continued for three days and was stopped only by the arrival of 6,000 army armed with automatic weapons and accompanied by tanks.

The streets eventually emptied around midnight on June 22, with most residents too terrified to leave their homes.

Nine white people and 25 African Americans had lost their lives.

It is worth noting that no white individuals were killed by police, whilst 17 African Americans died at the hands of officers. 700 people were reportedly injured, another 1,800 were arrested and the city was dealt $2m worth of damage - amounting to more than £26m in today&aposs money.

Whilst the city mourned a bitter waste of life, they could not have guessed that a small town in Lancashire would feel the aftershocks of the riot.

The Battle of Bamber Bridge

US soldiers transferred to Britain in 1942 were given a pamphlet published by the United States War Department.

It was entitled &aposInstructions for American Servicemen in Britain.&apos Many servicemen in the US had never left the states and the guide was supposed to help those men settle across the pond.

The pamphlet included helpful tips and hints like &aposBritish are reserved, not unfriendly&apos we can probably agree with that one as well as such gems as &aposBritish like sport&apos, &aposthe British are tough&apos and, my personal favourite: &apos&aposThe British have theaters and movies (which they call "cinemas") as we do. But the great place of recreation is the pub.&apos

It seems that Americans loved the ideological movement of &aposthe pub&apos and the pubs loved them back.

Following the race riots in Detroit, the military police called for a &aposcolour ban&apos in Bamber Bridge - hoping that this would curtail any of the black soldiers from replicating the riot in Lancashire. The three Bamber Bridge pubs reacted by putting up signs that read: &aposBlack Troops Only.&apos It was clear who the people of Britain supported.

On the night of June 24, several American troops of the 1511th were taking the pamphlet as gospel and drinking with the locals of Bamber Bridge at the Ye Olde Hob Inn, which still stands on Church Road.

Two passing MPs were alerted after soldiers inside the pub attempted to buy beer after last orders had been called.

They attempted to arrest Private Eugene Nunn for a minor uniform offence and an argument broke out with the military police on one side and the African American troops, with locals, on the other.

Things began to escalate when Private Lynn M. Adams brandished a bottle at the MPs causing one of them, Roy A. Windsor, to draw his gun. A staff sergeant was able to diffuse the situation but as the MPs drove away, Adams hurled a bottle at their jeep.

The MPs picked up two more of their number before intercepting the black soldiers, who were now at Station Road, making their way back to base.

What happened next was a source of contention but it lead to Private Nunn punching an MP causing a violent melee to break out. An MP fired his handgun, hitting Adams in the neck. Rumours spread like wildfire there after, much like the Detroit riots, causing the soldiers to arm themselves against the MPs, for fear that they were targeting black soldiers.

By midnight several jeep loads of MPs had arrived with an armoured car, fitted with a machine gun. British officers claimed that the MPs then ambushed the soldiers and a fire fight began in the night.

Troops warned locals to stay in doors as they exchanged gun fire but the darkness ensured that the fighting had quelled by 4am and that there were few casualties.

One solider, Private William Crossland, was killed whilst seven others were wounded.

Aftermath: Court martial and lessons

No less than 32 soldiers were found guilty of several crimes including mutiny, seizing arms, firing upon officers and more at a court martial in October 1943, in the town of Paignton.

Their sentences were, rather understandably, reduced following an appeal, with poor leadership and the obvious racism of the MPs used as mitigating factors.

General Ira Eaker of the Eight Air Force made several decisions following the battle which would improve the morale of black troops stationed in the UK.

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He combined the black trucking units into a single special command. The ranks of this command were purged of inexperienced and racist officers, and the MP patrols were racially integrated.

Although there were several more minor conflicts between black and white American troops in Britain during the war, the battle was somewhat of a turning point, especially amongst troops in Lancashire.

Sadly the American troops would return to America after the war, where the Jim Crow laws existed for another 20 or so years before the civil rights movement made waves in the states.


Into Battle Over Bosworth

Chris Skidmore praises Colin Richmond’s 1985 article, which offered a new theory, later confirmed, about the true location of one of the most famous battles in English history.

Articles that turn history on its head are rare, but this is what Colin Richmond’s piece, The Battle of Bosworth, achieved, demolishing centuries of accepted wisdom about where the fateful encounter between Richard III and Henry Tudor in 1485 was fought, so transforming our entire understanding of the event.

Historians have long known that the original name for Bosworth was the battle of Redemore that the battle had been fought upon a plain and that Richard III had been swept off his horse by Sir William Stanley’s men into a marsh. But where exactly was Redemore? Ever since the publication of William Hutton’s Battle of Bosworth Field in 1788 it had been assumed that the fighting had taken place at the base of Ambion Hill, near Sutton Cheyney in Leicestershire. The only problem was that its terrain did not reflect the geographical features mentioned in the sparse contemporary sources. Yet this had not prevented the opening of a battlefield centre at Ambion in 1974, complete with an ‘authoritative’ account of where Richard III’s last stand took place, commemorated by a marker stone.

Richmond had been leafing through signet warrants from Henry VIII’s reign, held in the National Archives, when he came across one from August 1511 allowing the churchwardens of Dadlington parish, near the battle site, to collect contributions for a chapel ‘standing upon a parcell of grounde wher Bosworth feld otherwise called Dadlyngton feld . was done’. The warrant had been catalogued in the Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, but the crucial line mentioning Dadlington field had been omitted. Here was evidence, surely, that the battle of Bosworth had not been fought at Ambion Hill, but a few miles down the road, near Dadlington.

Published on the eve of the 500th anniversary of the battle, when Prince Charles and Princess Diana would come to visit the heritage centre, Richmond’s article seemed to throw a hand grenade into the celebrations. The media interest was immediate. ‘Was the Battle of Bosworth at Bosworth?’ The Times asked, devoting its front page to the discovery. But supporters of the traditional site at Ambion Hill would not go down without a fight. The curator of the battlefield centre, Daniel Williams, responded in History Today two months later, dismissing Richmond’s claim.

Richmond’s standard was taken up by Peter Foss, who combined his expert knowledge of local topography, geology and a close reading of the original sources to produce The Field of Redemore (1990), the first revisionist account, which sought to locate the exact site of Redemore. Foss’s further discovery in local records that ‘Redmor’ lay ‘in the fields of Dadlington’ reinforced Richmond’s argument. Other historians weighed in to the debate, including David Starkey in the October 1985 edition of History Today and Michael K. Jones in Bosworth 1485: The Psychology of a Battle (2002), claiming that it could have been fought much closer to Merevale Abbey, near the present A5.

In 1995 English Heritage decided to include the fields around Dadlington in its Register of Historic Battlefields, but it was not until 2004 that the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Battlefields Trust and Leicester County Council together secured funding for an archaeological project led by Glenn Foard to locate the battlefield site. The painstaking work would take years before, on March 1st, 2009, a small lead ball, 30mm in diameter, was discovered further west of Dadlington. By December 2010 33 lead projectiles had been uncovered, a greater number than from all other archaeological surveys on battlefields of the 15th century combined. The coup de grâce was the unearthing of a small silver gilt badge of a boar: Richard III’s insignia. Here, then, was proof that Richmond had been right: Bosworth had never been fought at Ambion Hill, but on the plainland several miles west near to Dadlington, around the marshy terrain of ‘Redemore’. Once again the media circus assembled, claiming the battlefield had been ‘rediscovered’. But it is perhaps thanks only to Richmond’s History Today article that we ever started to look elsewhere in the first place.

Chris Skidmore is Member of Parliament for Kingswood. His book Bosworth: The Birth of the Tudorsis published by Phoenix in paperback in June 2014.


Hernán Cortés: Legacy

While Cortés was conquering Mexico, Velázquez was busy crucifying his reputation in Spain. Cortés responded by sending five now-famous letters to Spanish King Charles V of Spain about the lands he had conquered and life in Mexico.

Never content for long, Cortés continued to seek opportunities to gain wealth and land. He sent more expeditions out into new areas, including what is present-day Honduras. He spent much of his later years seeking recognition for his achievements and support from the Spanish royal court. He died in Spain in 1547.


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