Commodore Anson and the Acapulco Galleon

Glyndwr Williams describes how, in 1743, Commodore Anson captured a galleon in the Pacific Ocean, containing more than one million pieces of eight.

George Anson holds an honoured place in British naval history. A fine seaman, his greatest services to the nation came not in battle but during his years of dominance on the Board of Admiralty. There, his reforming zeal and conscientious supervision of every aspect of naval affairs helped to forge the navy into the winning weapon of the Seven Years War. Without Anson’s patient work the triumphs at Quebec, Lagos, Quiberon Bay and Havana might never have been achieved.

From the creation of a permanent Marine Corps to problems of dockyard administration, from the encouragement of able young officers to the perfection of blockading techniques, Anson concerned himself with the shaping of an efficient, disciplined navy. Chatham summed up Anson’s contribution in the Seven Years War when he remarked, ‘To his Wisdom, to his Experience and Care the Nation owes the glorious Successes of the last War.’

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