Sunday, June 20, 2010

When History merged Fiction

On the first weeks of July 1713, sighting of vessels flying a previously unknown set of ensigns was repeatedly reported to naval authorities in Western Mediterranean. This caused some logical expectation at first, along with an undeniably worrying degree, for the rumours about a new Corsairs of Berbery leadership soon arose. The fact is that the flags shown by such vessels were long known by sailors of all around Mediterranean shores, but their arrangement on ships was plainly unusual -and this was the feature mostly contributing to the rumours propagation.

The first known sighting was reported by a British brig in the waters between Menorca and Majorca; it was a small and fast armed Xebec, whose crew responded to the British vessel requests by raising a courtesy Union Jack on their foremast as a salutation, but ably avoided all the brig's approaching attempts and quickly disappeared eastwards into deep waters. That same ship was a few days later reported by a Genoese merchantman to be sojourning in the Sardinian harbour of Alghero -apparently undisturbed by the local authorities. A third sighting was reported by a Provençal tuna fishing ship, whose captain stated the xebec was undoubtedly heading towards Monte Cristo waters.

However, identity uncertainties didn't last too much, for soon it was delivered an official message to all Southern European chancelleries from the Catalan Parliament -except for the Bourbon Spanish ones, to be honest- containing a formal notification of the new naval war flags adopted by this Principality, along with their detailed description. A few days later, ships from Majorca island were also reported to have switched to the new set of flags, as well as those from Sardinia -this seemed to reflect some kind of consent by the Holy Emperor Charles VI, for both islands were still garrisoned by Imperial troops, so that diplomatic unrest among most Mediterranean chancelleries began fading soon.

Related entries in the Defiant Principality blog: 1713 New Ordnance on Naval Flags and A tense War Council.


abdul666 said...

Indeed the Defiant Principality needs a respectable Navy -to break the Two Crowns blockade, prevent any attempt of landing or bombing, maintain free communication with the Islands...

Maybe this new set of ensigns will be recognized as that of a major maritime power in Western Mediterranean, as far as Sardinia (this last -Arborea- already, or soon to be, part of the Galatean Principality?)...

Soldadets said...

I've intentionally made allusion to an eventual adhesion of Majorca/Gymnesia and Sardinia/Arborea to the new Catalan warflags Ordnance, to suggest an implicit recognition of shared sovereignty... There are some contributing factors I've had in mind:

1) As a result of Utrecht (or in spite of it), both islands were still garrisoned by Imperial troops.

2) The Kingdom of Majorca had no Parliament of its own, but had representatives appointed in the Catalonian Parliament; so that in the practice the archipelago was considered a natural extension of the Principality.

3) Unlike Sicily or Naples, the Kingdom of Sardinia had not been seceded from the Crown of Aragon by Charles V in 1517, so that it kept political links to Aragon and Catalonia.

4) By 1713, both territories' Viceroys were Catalan noblemen (and therefore members of the Catalonian Parliament's Military Arm): Lord Marquis of Rubí in Majorca, and Lord A. Roger Count of Erill in Sardinia.

As they say in Italy, "si non è vero, è ben trobato", don't you believe?