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Cartagena de Indias

COLOMBIA | Tuesday, 3 January 2006 | Views [7731]

This week has been something of a theme week. I've been to Cartagena de Indias which was very much a part of the Spanish main and the site of much swashbuckling and derring do. It is still home to the Colombian Navy, Armada de la Republica de Colombia,which has its largest base here; the A.R.C. Bolivar. But they weren't around when Francis Drake sacked the place in 1586 and Admiral Vernon was sent out to pull some Spanish pants down in 1739 after complaints by English merchantmen about the behavior of the Spanish Costa Gardas. The aforesaid dagos were pissing in the soup by seizing ships and property in customary dago fashion. Vernon came down here and gave them a good hiding. He left the place unpillaged and undamaged apart from the fortifications. He took the Spanish wage money and gave it to his own men, took his pick of the ordinanace, fitted this to his ships, destroyed the rest and breezed off along the coast toward Jamaica amusing himself by terrorizing any Spanish settlements or ships he found on the way. He took the place with six ships even though he had a far greater number of ships at his disposal. He was a member of Parliament and had said in Parliament he only needed six ships to do it. He was as good as his word. Pleased with his own efforts he wrote home:
"...it has pleased Almighty God to preserve me in good health, to go through all these glorious fatigues, and in a full disposition to push this beginning with all possible vigour, to humble the proud Spaniards, and bring them to repentance for all the injuries and long-practised depredations on us." Amen to that.
The place is amazing. The only fly in the ointment is that the deep water harbour here allows upwards of three cruise liners to dock side by side and the town is occaisionally overrun with gringos. This has driven up prices a little bit. The old city is almost intact. (There are too many photos to post here but I will link this post with an album for those who are interested). I climbed the battlements of Castillo San Felipe de Barajas and it is very difficult to believe that those salty English dogs got up it in two hours against cannon and musket fire.

Tags: Sightseeing

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