Wednesday, 26 January 2011

ABC Wednesday B is for the Battle of Blenheim

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
English, Prussian, Dutch and Danish allies are depicted by blue arrows.
French troops are allies are shown in red.

The Battle of Blenheim, fought on 13th August, 1704, was the major battle of the War of the Spanish Succession. The war arose as a result of the Spanish King, Charles II, leaving his throne to Philip, Duc d’ Anjou, grandson of the French King, Louis XIV. Louis XIV allowed his grandson to accept the Spanish throne when Charles II died in 1700 whereupon Europe was embroiled in war. The Austrian Habsburg Emperor would not condone the Bourbons of France absorbing Spain, fearing that the unification of France and Spain would alter the balance of power in Europe (Battles were also fought in North America - Queen Anne’s War - and the West Indies.)

The defining battle of the War of the Spanish Succession was fought at Blenheim, (or Blindheim) a small village on the banks of the Danube. The English troops were led by John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, aided by Austrian, Prussian, Dutch and Danish allies.
In recognition of this great victory Queen Anne gave John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, the royal manor of Woodstock in Oxfordshire and a large sum of money with which to build a palace to commemorate the battle.

Blenheim Palace, the only non-royal, non-episcopal palace in England, was built between 1705 and 1724 and has been recognised as a World Heritage Site since 1987. It is the seat of the Dukes of Marlborough, the family home of the Spencer-Churchills and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. It is open to the public and among its many attractions and treasures is the Blenheim Tapestry, which depicts the Battle of Blenheim.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
The tapestry, by Judocus de Vos, shows the village of Blenheim in the background. In the foreground an English grenadier holds a captured French colour.

Thanks are due to the Brilliant Denise Nesbitt and her Bright and Brainy Band who organise this weekly meme. Click here to see more Bs around the world and perhaps be inspired to join in.

25 comments:

  1. We're bright AND brainy? Aw, shucks - I'm blushing.

    I could never keep all those European wars straight. Did the colonies even understand the proxy war consequences?

    This is very informative, especially considering I knew almost nothing about it except the name.

    On behalf of the ABC Wednesday team, welcome, and thanks for participating! - ROG

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  2. I always enjoy the history you share with us, Janice, and this is a great one for the B Day. Really fascinating! I would love to visit there! Hope your week has gone well so far! Enjoy!

    Sylvia
    ABC Team

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  3. Fascinating history and a lovely image of the tapesty. I need to google the castle. I'm intrigued.

    Cheryl
    ABC Team

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  4. Wonderful post, Janice, not just the historical details about the battle, but because the only palace I've visited in Britain was Blenheim Palace.
    My young sister-in-law and I chose to go there when the whole family visited England and Scotland in 1996. We had rented a house in Oxford for a week, and had two rental cars, using Oxford as a base for touring. One day, everyone went in different directions, while Caroline and I went to Blenheim Palace by bus. We enjoyed it a lot.
    -- K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

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  5. I visited the palace in 1994 when I spent two weeks in Oxford and I loved it inside and out!

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  6. Fascinating post Janice, thank you so much.

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  7. I'd love to see that tapestry up close and personal. It is much brighter and more colorful than the ones I'm used to seeing.

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  8. I feel like I'm back in school, learning new things from History. You are a good teacher, and I sure enjoy these weekly History lessons.

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  9. I can't say I'm really "brainy" since I really didn't know much about this particular battle. But I do love history and especially European and British history. This was fascinating to me and so I thank you for educating me today!

    Leslie
    ABCW Team :D

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  10. Tapestries never fail to astonish me: all that needlework! And I love the way all those little stitches combine to tell a story, or even multiple stories.

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  11. I admire Winston Churchill and have read a few books by him. I remember Blenheim, but didn't know how it came into his family. Very interesting!

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  12. I enjoyed reading this interesting post. Perfect for the B day.

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  13. So much to think about :-)

    Over the past six months or so, I've developed a fascination for history and how and why everything fits within a certain historical context. It's just mind-blowing.

    And a lot of this was new for me ... my brain is synthesizing it with other historical mini-lessons. What an amazing process :-)

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  14. A great choice for ABC Wednesday and do love the colour in the tapestry. Have never visited the interior but several times picniced in the grounds, enjoying the fantasy that that it was my garden!
    Laura

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  15. I love the way we used to have tapestries instead of history books!

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  16. Been to Blenheim Palace and thought it was an amazing place. Beautiful inside and out.

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  17. Our first trip overseas was to England and we did go to see Blenheim Palace. We had scones and clotted cream for the first time there. What a magnificent place that was! Thank you for this fabulous post!

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  18. Interesting history lesson ! When we come to "W" please write about the Waterloo battle with Wellington (that makes 2 W), lol !

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  19. I find history far more fascinating now than when I was in school. Thanks for sharing the information on this battle.

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  20. A fascinating snippet of history! Enjoyed this insight into Blenheim!

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  21. I love learning this history. Must pay a visit here

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  22. I never knew B palace is 'non-royal' and that Winston Churchill and his family was in any way related to the battle of Blenheim!
    Thanks for this history lesson:)

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  23. That's fascinating history! I learned something new.

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  24. Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.

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