The Battle of the Saintes

The caption for this painting reads:
Lord Rodney’s flagship ‘Formidable’ breaking through the French line at the battle of the Saintes, 12th April 1782, painted between 1784 and 1787 by Lieutenant William Elliott of the Royal Navy.
Taking place in the West Indies, the Battle of the Saintes was part of the American Revolutionary War, and took place between the 9th and 12th of April, resulting in a decisive victory for Britain.
Lord Rodney_s flagship ‘Formidable_ breaking through the French line at the battle of the Saintes, 12th April 1782, painted between 1784 and 1787 by Lieutenant William Elliott of t

On this day…

This image is of a reenactment of the First Fleet of British ships arriving in Sydney Harbour in 1788.

Taken on Australia Day (26th January), this was Australia’s bicentenary in 1988.


On this day: the Great New Orleans Fire

On the 21st of March, 1788, a fire broke out in a home in New Orleans, present-day Louisiana.

856 of the 1100 buildings in the town were destroyed.

Because the fire happened on Good Friday, priests wouldn’t allow church bells to be rung as a warning to residents.

Below is a map of the destroyed area, published in 1886. X

New Orleans Map of 1788 fire, published in 1886.

The First Fleet

A 1938 image depicting the First Fleet arriving in Australia on the 26th of January, 1788. This was the beginning of European colonisation of the continent, and the 26th is now called Australia Day.

From the collection of the National Library of Australia in Canberra.

Reproduction of John Allcot (1888–1973), The First Fleet in Sydney Cove, January 27, 1788, from The Sydney Mail, January 26, 1938. National Library of Australia, Canberra.

On this day: the premiere of Don Giovanni

On the 29th of October, 1787, Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni premiered at the Estates Theatre in Prague.

Stavovské_divadloEstates Theatre in 1797

The theatre in 1797

The opera was commissioned after Mozart made a successful trip to Prague earlier the same year.

Originally intended for a October 14 debut, it was not ready in time, and so the schedule was reorganised.

The opera was an immediate success, as Mozart was highly popular in Prague.

(A side note: I have seen this opera performed at the original theatre. 🙂 )

On this day: New London Bridge Opened

John Rennie’s 19th-century London Bridge. Albumen print 8 1.2 × 11 1.4 in. (21.59 × 28.575 cm). Transfer from the College of Architecture, Art and Planning.

New London Bridge sometime between 1870 and 1890

London Bridge has been rebuilt a number of times, and on the 1st of August, 1831, “New” London Bridge was opened, replacing the more than six-hundred year old structure that had stood before it.

The Demolition of Old London Bridge, 1832, Guildhall Gallery, London.

The Demolition of Old London Bridge

King William IV and Queen Adelaide attended a banquet in a pavilion erected on the bridge to celebrate the opening.

London Bridge and Tower Bridge

Present day London Bridge and Tower Bridge

The present-day London Bridge is from the early 1970s, and is not to be mistaken (a common confusion with tourists) with the more attractive and photographed Tower Bridge, the next one east on the River Thames.

On this day: the First Fleet in 1788

View_of_Botany_Bayengraving of the First Fleet in Botany Bay at voyage's end in 1788

On the 20th of January, 1788, the main body of the First Fleet arrived in Botany Bay, modern-day Australia.

The First Fleet, consisting of eleven ships of convicts, marines and seamen, had left England in 1787.

Botany Bay was deemed unsuitable for a colony, with concerns about the lack of fresh water and the swampy land, and the fleet moved further north, to Port Jackson. The fleet’s arrival in the second port is marked by Australia Day on the 26th of January.

On this day: the Battle of Cape St Vincent in 1780

The Battle of Cape St Vincent was fought at night – unusual for the time – on the 16th of January, 1780. Part of the American War of Independence, the battle was fought off the coast of Portugal, between Britain and Spain.

Britain defeated Spain, as seen in this painting by Francis Holman, created the same year.

800px-Holman,_Cape_St_VincentBattle of Cape St. Vincent 16th January 1780