Cartagena de Indias under siege ...for one ear!
My name is Alfonso and first I just want to say thanks to the BBC LE Staff to give me the honor of being the blogger this month and thanks to the students for your comments on my entries as well.
I have an invitation for you guys....let´s go through the tunnel of time and have a trip down memory lane, back in the history, back to the Caribbean at 18th century, were a long list of battles and struggles, wind the Caribbean around Spain and England little fingers.
At that moment, two powerful empires were trying to take over the then richest Caribbean´s colonies. Some times, was difficult to see which way the Caribbean´s wind blew. Fairs or heads winds, back and forth between Spain and England, left the wind knocked out of the Caribbean. In one of those moments the spanish frigate La Isabela, under Captain Julio Leon Fandiño command, arrested an english captain and accused him of smuggler. As punishment, the spaniard, cut the english´s ear and told him back to England and let know the King that "I will do the same, if he dare to make the same".
Embarrased, weary and humiliated, without one of his ears, the english Captain Robert Jenkins, back to England with his already cut ear in a jar filled with alcohol and showed up on front of The English Parliament. The King George II, after heard the message and learnt from Captain Jenkins misfortunes, got offended and declared the war against Spain; therefore,one of the most powerful naval fleet, ever seen in the world, was at sea.The Brits based in Port Royal (Jamaica), under Admiral Sir Edward Vernon command:186 warships,27.600 mens and 2.000 cannons. The newly fleet took over Portobelo in Panama and, as a result, made a havoc (from here the name of Portobello Road in London). Moreover, in 1741, went against Cartagena de Indias although the cartagenians have had no word about the ear-to-be conflict. However, Sir Edward Vernon nearly destroyed the city in a siege that lasted 67 days.Cartagena de Indias was under military command of spaniard Liutenant General Blas de Lezo, of which gossip story tellers say, used to hold just "half of" his well known fishy stare look to his enemies and "half of"one hung when meet and greet his friends (as described by our famous colombian´s painter Alejandro Obregon, in his Blas de Lezo painting), and whom ;in contrast, did not care nothing about ears, have never heard of any, and; indeed,was less worry about it, because he had lost one eye, one arm and one leg in previous battles against pirates.
So, I´m wondering;on the other hand, if Blas de Lezo asked himself at that moment: What the heck! Why The Brits overreacted in that way just by one ear? He got some advice from them, in the hard way. He learnt;consecuently, why for, one cut english's ear, well worth the British Empire's rage: Litterally holding the forth, in this case de San Felipe de Barajas Castle(see actual photo below), cannons shots started to hit the chain of fortifications , that have been around Cartagena de Indias as a protection against the enemies at that time. Today, together with the castle, are just a tourist attraction and become part of the Cartagena de Indias Old City and Historic downtown.
That war become known in the story, as the Jenkins´ear War and lasted from 1739 trought 1748. Back to the 21th century,to our days,the San Felipe de Barajas Castle still standing proud and tall, fighting against time,the most powerful of his enemies. As, some elders, which say,if you are walking on night around the castle, don´t be afraid, if you see, time after time, a ghost with just one eye,one leg and one arm with a brandishing spade on top of the castle towers and don´t be afraid if you hear the cannory, screams, laments and muskets shooting out through the castle loopholes. Believed or not you may see the Liutenant General Blas de Leso, every day ,on front the San Felipe de Barajas Castle. I swear of God! The real drive behind this awful story, tainted with funny notes, cannons, gunpowder, warships, castles, military fortifications, ghosts,brandisching spades, is just to show you, how, our history, the Colombian Caribbean history, have been filled with magic,with sounds of drums, flutes, dancers, ghosts. You can hear the sounds of drums right now...can you? Follow up the link
Many things in the life of people bring happiness, but nothing have comparability, to which a father feel, with the success of a child, when, achieved a stage further in his life. My latter daughter Juliana, past month of May, took his oath as an American Citizen. I would like to share with you my friends this moment:
In the pictures you may see my daughter Juliana, showing us, her American Citizenship Certificate beside the American BCIS officer during the Oath´s Ceremony in Tampa, Florida, and then with her proud husband Ryan Lindsay. A dream became reality!
Enjoy the life!