On this day in 1805, England savored one its greatest military wins in history—defeating the combined navies of France and Spain. In the Battle of Trafalgar, led on the British side by Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson, the French and Spanish lost 22 ships; England lost none. The win was so decisive, it changed the trajectory of the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) and established England’s indisputable naval superiority.
It must have been a bitter loss for Spain—for two and a half centuries earlier, England sunk Spain’s “invincible” Armada (depicted in the pair of bronze-clad bookends, pictured above) during an earlier war.
But England’s win was not without cost. Lord Nelson, mortally wounded in battle, died that day. Today one can see a sculpture of him atop the Nelson Monument, in Trafalgar Square, London.
Please click on the photo above to learn more about these bookends.
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