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History Coursework - Kings bastion

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Introduction

KING'S BASTION EXPLAIN WHETHER YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS:- 1. KING'S BASTION WAS A MAJOR IMPROVEMENT TO THE EXISTING DEFENCES OF GIBRALTAR? 2. 'THE CONSTRUCTION OF KING'S BASTION WAS A WISE RESPONSE TO THE INTERNATIONAL SITUATION IN THE 1770s AND IT PROVED HIGHLY VALUABLE IN THE DEFENCE OF GIBRALTAR'. 1. Gibraltar is a small British colony at the South end of Spain. It is a small peninsular only about 6 km long by 1km wide and rises abruptly to a height of 426m above sea level. This unique structure together with its strategic vantage point at the meeting place of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea and dominating the narrow straits which separate the continents of Europe and Africa, has been a key base for all its rulers. In defensive terms, Gibraltar seems to have been designed as a natural fortress. The flat sandy isthmus linking it to the mainland of Spain did not allow an enemy to approach under cover. The sea would lap the causeway on one side, while on the other side there was water from the Inundation, dug on the orders of the Prince of Hesse-Damstadt. Although Gibraltar was a 'natural fortress' the moors fortified Gibraltar by building walls around the town and Castle during the period 711 to 1462. ...read more.

Middle

2. When the North American Colonies (now USA) revolted against the British rule, France became their ally, but Spain had no desire to lose her own colonies in the New World and had many scores to settle with Britain especially over the West Indies and Gibraltar. Hostilities grew between Britain and Spain. During the first few years after the capture of Gibraltar, the British did little more than upgrade and maintain the existing structures, but as the 18th Century progressed and it became clear that Spain wanted to regain Gibraltar, improving the defences became utmost priority. The Grand Battery was strengthened providing defences for the Landport entrance, the Watergate and the Cooperage. The inundation was enlarged and many pits were excavated in it to enable sharp shooters above King's Lines to fire at anyone attempting to cross the causeway. The Devil's Tongue Battery on the Old Mole provided an extension of the Landport defences. The King and Queen's Lines along what had originally been the access path up to the Gate of Granada, and the Prince's Line above these, were repaired and improved under William Green using white Portland limestone. Scarping made it impossible to climb the face of the Rock. The glacis was improved by the addition of places of arms to the coveredway and a ravelin-shaped Covreporte Battery protecting the entrance to the fortress, the stone bridge having been replaced by a wooden structure with drawbridge. ...read more.

Conclusion

Fortunately for the British gunners, ten floating batteries where positioned in a line half a mile from the Line Wall, enabling the gunners to fire at maximum speed. The cold shots rolled off the ships, but the red hot roast potatoes were fired and eventually nine out of the ten floating batteries were burnt, sunk or taken. The Franco-Spanish forces did not make another attack either by land or by sea after this. The pivotal efficiency of the King's Bastion together with the fact that the bastion had been built to be self-sufficient whilst under attack till supplies lasted (i.e the supplies would prevent the garrison from starvation and disease which could at times be worse than the actual attack), therefore proved highly valuable in the defence of Gibraltar (see Appendix 2). "These invincible floating batteries, that could neither be burnt, sunk or taken, were burnt, sunk and taken by plain English men who stood to their guns". (Ford's Handbook for Spain, 1845) Since the end of the Great Siege no military attempt has ever been made to take the Rock of Gibraltar by land or by sea, although Spain has shown hostility on a number of occasions. Gibraltar progressed from being a pawn in the European dynastic power games during the 18th Century to becoming a strategic fortress in Britain's growing empire, guarding the Mediterranean Sea. ?? ?? ?? ?? Chris Pitto ...read more.

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