Jenkins' Ear Day
Jenkins' Ear Day is observed next on Sunday, April 9th, 2023 (196 days from today).
War of Jenkins 'Ear, the war and eventually merged into the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48) is the war between England and Spain that began in October 1739. It was precipitated when Captain Robert Jenkins appeared before a House of Commons committee by an incident that occurred in 1738 and exhibited what he allegedly lost his ear, severed on the 9th of April, 1731 in the West Indies by the Spanish Coast Guard, who boarded his ship, plundered it, and then set it away. Public opinion was provoked by another Spanish indignation towards British ships, and the Jenkins episode was quickly exploited by members of Parliament who opposed the government of Robert Walpole. Although this story is still controversial, it clearly carries a historical significance, an important historical turning point. And that's why, people take April 9 every year to celebrate the event called Jenkins' Ear Day.
History of Jenkins' Ear Day
On April 9, 1731, as the Rebecca was approaching Havana, the Spanish coast guard boarded the British pier. It comes from Jamaica with sugar and is on its way to England. While on board, Captain Robert Jenkins' ear was severed. Some sources say that the Spain captain, Juan de Leon Fandino, tied Jenkins to a mast and tortured him. At some point, someone tried to cut off Jenkins' ear. Apparently, they didn't succeed in completely removing it, and a Spanish sailor grabbed it and tore it apart. Jenkins was given it by him, and he told Jenkins to give it to the king of England, and told the king that he too would lose his ear.
The story had little publicity at first, but it quickly subsided. At a time in March 1738 when British nationalists were drumming up support for war with Spain, the story was revived. Some accounts claim that Jenkins brought the ear to the House of Commons, possibly wrapped in cotton wool, or soaked in a jar. Some studies indicate that he either has no ears or does not appear before Congress at all. However, his story is part of the motivation for the war; it has built support and momentum for it.
The story had little publicity at first, but it quickly subsided. At a time when British nationalists were drumming up support for war with Spain in March 1738, the story was revived. Some accounts claim that Jenkins brought the ear to the House of Commons, possibly wrapped in cotton wool, or soaked in a jar. Some studies indicate that he either has no ears or does not appear before Congress at all. However, his story is part of the motivation for the war; it has built support and momentum for it.
There are bigger issues than why the war actually started. In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht awarded the British a 30-year asiento contract with Spain, allowing the transport of an unlimited number of slaves from England to the Spanish colonies. The asiento contract is coming to an end, and it looks like it won't be renewed. Some in Britain think a war will change that. The contract also stipulated that 500 tons of goods per year could also be brought to Spain with the slaves. Over the years, this led to a large number of goods being smuggled to the Spanish colonies. The 1729 Treaty of Seville was signed on response to this. The Treaty was giving Spain the right to search British ships and take anything that was being transported illegally. This is what set the stage for the Jenkins crash, and the Spanish coast guard is known for its ruthlessness in monitoring British illegal trade. This problem is generally one of the other major causes of war. In addition, several British merchant ships were sunk by the Spaniards.
Britain declared war on Spain and started the war on October 19, 1739. It eventually became known as Jenkins' Ear's War after it was coined by Thomas Carlyle in 1858, although the name was not given to it until many years. The war lasted until 1748, though although most major action ended in 1742. Later that year the fighting became part of the larger War of the Austrian Succession, involving most of the European powers. Britain's anticipated great victory over Spain did not come to pass, and the British did not gain much in the pursuit of the war. The War of the Austrian Succession, and thus the War of Jenkins' Ears, was concluded with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. In 1750 England renounced the contract for £100,000 cause from the treaty of Madrid that finally settled the issue of the asiento contract.
How to observe Jenkins' Ear Day?
Celebrate this day by learning more about naval warfare and mutilation — the cutting of human ears as punishment. Spend the day thanking your ears by listening to your favorite music, calling someone, or getting your ears pierced. You can also share Jenkins' ear story with anyone who wants to listen. Share all your knowledge about Jenkins’ Ear Day on social media with hashtag #JenkinsEarDay.
ObservedJenkins' Ear Day has been observed annually on April 9th.
Friday, April 9th, 2021
Saturday, April 9th, 2022
Sunday, April 9th, 2023
Tuesday, April 9th, 2024
Wednesday, April 9th, 2025