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Siege at Cartagena - Late 17th Century

Siege at Cartagena - Late 17th Century Visual Arts Famous Historical Events Social Studies World History

This image depicts the siege of Cartagena when a combined force of French troops and buccaneers found a weakness in the city's heavily fortified defenses.

The attack was one of the last battles of the Nine Years War (also known as the War of the League of Augsburg) which was fought between 1688-1697.  That conflict pitted France against the combined nations of England, Holland (The Netherlands) and Spain.

French battle-planners thought an attack on Cartagena would be fruitful since the city was then the wealthiest of the Spanish Main.  The French supplied ten ships while their buccaneer partners supplied seven more.  With the French governor of St. Domingue adding a squadron of ships, the combined fleet exceeded thirty vessels.

Agreements, between the "partners," determined how the plunder would be shared.  In a way, France used "piracy as a national weapon" by cooperating with pirates to attack a Spanish possession.

The fleet arrived at Cartagena on the 13th of April, 1689.  While the ships were anchored, French army surveyors studied the city's defenses.  They found a way to penetrate what had previously seemed to be an impenetrable town.  (See Angus Konstam's Pirates:  Predators of the Seas, at page 121.)

Breaching the walls, the invaders - led by Baron Jean de Pointis - began to plunder the city of its many treasures.  At the time, Cartagena was one of Spain's wealthiest cities outside the motherland.

This 17th-century drawing illustrates the siege and battle of Cartagena.  For a colorized version, see Konstam's Pirates, at page 120.

Click on the image for a better view.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5139stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Nov 28, 2016


Media Credits

Image of a 17th-century drawing illustrating the siege of Cartagena.  Maintained by Stratford Archive; online, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

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