Battle of Trafalgar Facts

Battle of Trafalgar Facts
The Battle of Trafalgar was a major naval battle fought by the British Empire against France and Spain on October 21, 1805. The battle was fought in the Atlantic Ocean near Cape Trafalgar, Spain, which is how it got its name. The battle was the largest naval engagement of the Napoleonic Wars and was an attempt by Napoleon and his allies to break the stalemate with Britain: Napoleon was at the time the master of continental Europe, while Britain controlled the seas. The British strategy was to blockade Europe so that France and Spain wouldn't be able to get supplies from their American colonies. The actual battle was the culmination of the Trafalgar Campaign in 1805, which was a series of attacks by the French and Spanish and counterattacks by the British. Napoleon's ultimate goal was to unite the French and Spanish fleets at Brest, France and then clear the English Channel, allowing for an amphibious invasion of England. The Battle of Trafalgar was a decisive victory for the British, ending Napoleon's aspirations of an invasion of England.
Interesting Battle of Trafalgar Facts:
The British fleet was led by Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson. He commanded the gun ship HMS Victory during the Battle of Trafalgar. Around one pm. Nelson was shot by a marksman onboard the French gunship Redoubtable from a distance of about fifty feet. He was brought below deck and died about three and a half hours later.
The French were led by Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve and the Spanish by Admiral Frederico Gravina. Villeneuve was captured by the British but later released from prison and returned to France where he died under suspicious circumstances less than a year later. Gravina died from wound suffered in the battle in May 1806.
"Ship of the line" was the name for warships of the era. It was called that because the tactic they used was called the "line of battle." The cannons on these ships were lined on two or three decks of the broadside. The most common design of the era was to use seventy-four guns on two decks that were about 150 feet long.
The British and Spanish fleet had thirty-three ships of the line while the British had twenty-seven.
Despite being outnumbered, Nelson chose to go straight at the French-Spanish fleet. He reasoned that the immediate attack would send the French and Spanish into confusion and that his more experienced British sailors would be able to handle the maneuvers.
The battle began just before noon according to Nelson's strategy.
The British fleet attacked the French and Spanish fleet in two long columns, while the French-Spanish fleet was spread out in a long line that was perpendicular to the British. Due to the formation, the French-Spanish could only fire on a limited number of British ships at one time.
The French and Spanish lost twenty-one ships and more than 4,000 of their men were killed, while 458 British sailors were killed and no British ships were lost.
The British victory at Trafalgar gave the British mastery of the seas, but Napoleon continued to win battle after battle on the continent.

Related Links:
British History Facts
Animals Facts