Great Game Previews In History: 20 November 2013
The Battle of Porto Bello between the English and Spanish in what is now Panama begins on this date in 1739 as part of the greatest named war in the history of man: The War of Jenkins’ Ear (which was really just part of the War of the Austrian Succession, which sounds like an Arcade Fire side project).
It was a comprehensive English victory, in part because the wind forced Admiral Edward Vernon to concentrate on a single harbor garrison instead of the entire harbor as was the plan. His ships wore down the fort — in the end, only 40 of the fort’s 300 soldiers didn’t flee. Capturing the fort led to a more concentrated attack on the larger Santiago Fortress which surrendered the next day.
The battle, these days, is largely forgotten. While capturing trading posts on the Spanish Main was seen as a key part of the strategy against the Spanish, it ended up working against the English, because the Spanish simply stopped trying to trade via the captured cities. The British, not particularly inclined to maintain these towns, let them rot. Porto Bello, for example, didn’t really recover until the construction of the Panama Canal.
However, the victory was so resounding, it entered into the popular consciousness — there’s a Portobello Road in London, Portobello districts in Edinburgh and Dublin, and a Porto Bello, Virginia. Also in Virginia, a young surveyor and soldier renamed his plantation home in honor of the victorious admiral. You’ve likely heard of Mount Vernon.
Wild at Senators, 6:30 PM
Records: Wild (13-5-4, 30 points, 4th in Conference III); Senators (8-9-4, 20 points, 6th in Flortheast)
Last Time They Met: It’s been more than two years since last these two met, an Oct. 11, 2011 4-3 shootout win by the Sens.
Last 10: Minnesota 7-2-1; Ottawa 4-4-2
Historical Context: Talk about being forced into a system of battle: an injury to Niklas Backstrom and a rather generous second period by Josh Harding forced young Darcy Kuemper into action against the Canadiens last night for the Wild. Fortunately (?), that means Harding likely starts tonight.