Posts Tagged ‘Britain’
Via Collective History.
As we look both ways, we might send covert birthday greetings to Ian Lancaster Fleming; he was born on this date in 1908. The scion of a wealthy merchant banking family, Fleming worked as a journalist and served as a naval intelligence officer before finding his stride, starting in 1952, as the author of a series of spy novels featuring a suave MI6 agent who was licensed to kill. While he also wrote such well-known works as Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang, his James Bond novels have sold over 100 million copies; the films based on his novels have grossed over $12 billion (adjusted for inflation), second as a series only to the Harry Potter films.
What do Guatemala, Tajikistan, Luxembourg, and the Marshall Islands have in common?
Every schoolboy used to know that at the height of the empire, almost a quarter of the atlas was coloured pink, showing the extent of British rule. But that oft-recited fact dramatically understates the remarkable global reach achieved by this country.
A new study has found that at various times the British have invaded almost 90 per cent of the countries around the globe.
The analysis of the histories of the almost 200 countries in the world found only 22 which have never experienced an invasion by the British.
[TotH to Laughing Squid]
As we reach for our hair-dryers, we might recall that it was on this date in 55 BCE that Julius Caesar first landed in Britain (or so historians reckon). It’s unclear whether the expedition to the (then Iron Age) island was intended as an invasion (he crossed from Gaul with two Legions) or a reconnaissance-in-force; in any case, it succeeded in establishing a beachhead in (what’s now) Kent– where, the following year, Caesar’s successful invasion landed.
During World War II, German aircraft from Norway would fly on missions to northern England; because of the icy weather conditions, the barrels of their guns had a small dab of wax to protect them. As they crossed the coast, they would clear their guns by firing a few rounds at the golf courses there. Undaunted, the British played on…
There will always be an England…
As rethink our aversion to bunkers, we might recall that it was on this date in 1805 that a force of U.S. Marines and Berber mercenaries attacked the Tripolitan port city of Derna on a mission to depose Yusuf Karamanli, the ruling pasha of Tripoli, who had seized power from his brother, Hamet Karamanli, a pasha who was sympathetic to the United States. Lieutenant Presley O’ Bannon, commanding the Marines, performed so heroically in what one might now think of as “the first Libyan War” that Hamet Karamanli presented him with the elaborately-designed sword that serves as the pattern for the swords carried by Marine officers; the phrase “to the shores of Tripoli,” from the official song of the U.S. Marine Corps, is a reference to the Derna campaign.
Presley O’ Bannon (source)