The Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars that spanned more than two decades are rightly famous for the epic battles that helped to decide the fate of a continent; Valmy, Waterloo, Trafalgar, Austerlitz, and Borodino amongst many others. But what is less well known are the machinations of countless traitors, spies and confidential agents that did as much to shape the progress of the war as any general or admiral. With almost constant political turmoil, especially in the early years of the conflict, France always had a ready supply of disgruntled former generals or ministers with axes to grind that were all too receptive to the approaches of foreign agents. Napoleon’s minister of police, Joseph Fouché and his foreign minister, Charles Talleyrand, both actively plotted against him on more than one occasion. Sometimes such men involved themselves in plots or conspiracies to protect their own positions and sometimes it was just for cold hard cash. Continue reading
Come on lets face it. We’re all suckers for a good Swashbuckler, corny or not, accurate or completely bonkers there is a huge soft spot for the daring do of the past. Give us a couple of big ships with allot of cannons, give us a jolly roger and a yo ho ho, give us cutlasses, rapiers and baggy shirts and you’re set for a good time.
I’m no different, as I have found that the real life adventures of these people were no less exciting or colourful. Indeed though in some parts those old fashioned pirate movies that people laugh at all the time, are sometimes closer to the truth than they are given credit for, I have never seen the reality to be a let down. So mateys, sign aboard my good ship and lets set sail with the greatest Buccaneer ever to lift a bottle of rum (a thing he did so frequently there’s even a brand named after him), a man who would have sent all the varying Hollywood pirates scurrying for their mamma’s – the notorious Welsh admiral of the brethren of the coast, Sir Henry Morgan. Following him to the fabled city of Panama in what was to prove the last of the Great Buccaneer raids, and what would prove one of the inspirations for the Golden Age of Piracy, Arrrrrr (Or whatever). Continue reading