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"There is one certain means by which I can be sure never to see my country's ruin; I will die in the last ditch." - William III

"{A toast} To the little gentleman in black velvet who did such service in 1702, and may the white horse break his neck over a mound of his making!" - Laird of Balmawhapple, in Sir Walter Scott's Waverley

Born in 1702:

Died in 1702: Events of 1702:
  • (April) Kira Yoshinaka's mental cruelty goads his student Asano Naganori to attack him in the Imperial Palace.  For this offense,the shogun orders Naganori to commit seppuku and confiscates his fiefdom.
  • (December 14)  Forty-seven ronin (lordless samurai), former retainers of Naganori, avenge the death of their lord by attacking Yoshinaka's residence (Kira) and beheading its lord. The forty-six survivors are ordered to seppuku. This event is later commemorated in a the 1748 Bunraku play Kanadehon Chushingura, a cornerstone of Japanese theater.
  • William III is thrown from his horse after it stumbles upon a mole hill near Hampton Court.  Who, when he seemed about to recover, suddenly felt the icy hand of death upon him.   Actually, he catches pneumonia while riding back from the accident in his carriage and dies weeks later.   Legend has it that the horse had belonged to Jacobite supporter Sir John Fenwick, whom William had had executed in 1697.  William has no surviving children. Although French King Louis XIV supports "The Old Pretender" James Edward Stewart as king of England and Scotland,  Parliament has prepared for this moment, and the crown is given to Queen Mary's sister Anne, a Protestant member of the House of Stewart.
  • Maryland, once a refuge for Catholics, and having once passed an act religious toleration, makes the Anglican faith its official religion.
  • The colonies of East Jersey and West Jersey are united into one colony, called "New Jersey".
  • The War of the Spanish Succession (aka Queen Anne's War) breaks out.  England, The Netherlands, and the Holy Roman Empire (well, Austria and the League of Augsburg)  had formed a "Grand Alliancethe previous year in opposition to Louis XIV's grandson Philip's acession to the Throne of Spain Spain, Bavaria, Portugal, and Savoy support France.
    • (February 1) Prince Eugene of Savoy, an Austrian general, catches the French soldiers carousing through Cremona (in the Duchy of Milan, a Spanish possession) and quickly occupies the city. However, an Irish Brigade, led by Major Daniel O'Mahoney, is entrenched at the city's Po Gate, and puts up enough resistance that Eugene has to withdraw. Eugene takes 535 prisoners, including French commander (the duc de Villeroi), with him.
    • (May 4) England declares war against France and Spain.
    • Admiral Rooke's attack on Cadiz is a failure.
    • (July 29) Margrave Ludwig Wilhelm von Baden lays siege to Landau in the Palatinate near the French border.
    • (September 8) The Elector of Bavaria declares war and seizes Ulm.
    • (October 14) Battle of Friedlingen French Duc Claude Louis Hector du Villars fords the Rhine River at the "Schusterinsel" (half in Baden, half in Switzerland)  and exhausts the Margrave of Baden's army. However, the Elector of Bavaria fails to advance to meet up with Villars, and any advantage is lost.
    • (August 15) The Duc de Vendôme and Prince Eugene bloody their forces at the Battle of Luzzara.
    • (August 19) Admiral Benbow attacks a French squadron (led by du Casse) off Santa Marta (now in Colombia).  Several of his captains decline to join the attack
    • (August 24) Benbow's leg is destroyed by French fire.  His captains convince him to withdraw to Jamaica, where he has two of them shot for insubordination before dying of his wounds.
    • (September 23) The Spanish Treasure fleet sails into Vigo harbor hearing that hte Anglo-Dutch fleet is attacking their regular destination, Cadiz.
    • (October 22) Battle of Vigo Bay The Anglo-Dutch fleet arrives at Vigo harbor; there are 16 Spanish treasure ships and 17 French ships defending them. English and Dutch soldiers overrun the hill-forts, and the fleet smashes through the French defenses.  The French commander orders all of the ships scuttled, but several are captured.
    • (October 23) The French army blows up one of the towers oif the forterss at Luzzara.
    • Louis XIV orders Louisiana Governor Iberville to move his headquarters to Mobile.  Iberville returns to France; he will never see Louisiana again. His 22-year-old brother Bienville takes over in Louisiana.
    • (December) John Churchill is created Duke of Marlborough by Queen Anne.
  • Swedish King Charles XII is still fighting the Great Northern War against Russian Tsar Peter the Great and Augustus, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland:
  • Antonio Stradivari manages to construct a violin despite the chaos and destruction wrought upon Cremona.

1701 - 1702 - 1703

How they Were Made - 18th Century

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