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Weather and the Jacobite Rebellion of 1719

Patrick J. Klinger

Environment and History 23 (2017): 197-216. doi: 10.3197/096734017X14900292921752

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In late 1718, King Philip of Spain and his Prime Minister Giulio Alberoni joined with James Francis Edward Stuart and the Duke of Ormonde of the Jacobites to fight a common enemy. Together in early 1719, they launched a remarkably ambitious naval invasion of Britain whose purpose was to raise a rebellion of Scots and disaffected Englishmen in order to overthrow Hanoverian monarch, George I. This paper examines the weather that affected the invasion attempt. Although weather affects many events, the interference of weather is greater at certain times than others. The success of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1719, at least for some of the participants, was thwarted by a storm. This example showed that not all storms are equal in their effect on events, and understanding the distinct features of different storms is important. Because of this, studying the nature of storms and studying the (meteorological) knowledge of those who planned the military expeditions becomes important to our understanding of the events themselves. The Jacobite Rebellion of 1719 was an example of this and this paper argues that the storm and related weather events that occurred in 1719 were beyond the meteorological understanding of the Rebellion's planners. The reactions of contemporaries to this storm and the failed Jacobite Rebellion of 1719 are important to our understanding of early modern meteorological knowledge and of the effect of weather on war and politics during the same period.

KEYWORDS: Jacobite, weather, Stuart, Ormonde, Alberoni, cut-off low

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