Trafalgar Day, Part I: My Thoughts

21 October, 2008 at 1:36 pm Leave a comment

After escaping the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre in 1572, my ancestor found a new home in Switzerland. For 200 years, all was fine and good until Mr. Bonaparte decided that he needed yet another cherry on his cake and sent his army here, occupying the country and killing a couple of hundred people. One of them just happened to be my great-great-great- well, grandfather by many degrees. Considering these circumstances, I still find it a little strange to remember history lessons in which I was taught that “unfortunately, Napoleon lost the Battle of Trafalgar, because he would have brought democracy to England.”

Well – yes. I guess it’s no surprise we still use Francs as currency here, long after France itself has abandoned the currency. History education has hopefully changed since the time I was a kid; after all, there’s more to history than the Stone Age and The French Revolution.

Anyway, with a family history like that, I can’t help but be biased when it comes to The Battle of Trafalgar. Am I happy Britain won? You bet! But no matter what war we’re talking about, no matter if it was one that we consider “justified” or not, we should never forget that in any war thousands, sometimes millions of people died. People who loved and were loved, on both sides of the fence.

So maybe let’s just think for a moment of all the 3692 people who never returned home after the Battle of Trafalgar, and of their families, waiting for them. If there’s one thing we, the following generations, can do with history, then it’s learning some lessons and see how to prevent wars, beyond the golden rule that giving pint-sized men in charge of a nation too much power is never a good idea.

* * *

There will be two more Trafalgar-entries from me today. One will be a contest with book prizes, so stay tuned!

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Entry filed under: cuthbert collingwood, nelson, private, resource, royal navy. Tags: , , , , , .

Resource: HMS Ganges Mast-Manning Ceremony Trafalgar Day, Part II: Nelson Memorabilia

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