Mir Sayyad's dagger

Contributed by Elizabeth Castle

The Indian fighting dagger used by Mir Sayyad during the Battle of Jersey, 1781.

The Battle of Jersey was the only battle of the American War of Independence fought in Europe.This Indian style fighting knife was brought to the Island by an Indian mercenary, Mir Sayyad, who was fighting with the Baron de Rullecourt and his French forces during the Battle of Jersey in 1781. Little is known of Mir Sayyad although he appears to have been a Muslim leader who having lost his lands travelled to France and sided with the French who supported the United States during the American War of Independence. Jersey was of great military importance to the British and a base for privateers against French shipping. The battle is commemorated in the painting of 1784, The Death of Major Peirson, the British commander, by the American-born artist John Singleton Copley (Tate, London).

The Battle of Jersey, which was fought in the market square outside the Island's parliament building is a key moment in the Jersey identity. The French expedition failed and until the German Occupation in 1940, it was the last time the island was invaded by a foreign force.

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