The One-Eyed History Thread

Welcome to this week’s History Thread! Discussion topic for this week: how much time do you invest in history? Do you work in a history-related field, or study it in school? Is it just a minor hobby or a lifelong interest? How does it impact your life and worldview?

Today’s picture: April 2, 1801 was the Battle of Copenhagen, a clash between the British and Danish navies during an offshoot of the Napoleonic Wars. Denmark was part of the League of Armed Neutrality and thus viewed as a threat to Britain’s blockade of France, and so Admiral Horatio Nelson was dispatched with a British fleet to bring the Danes to heel. The result was a massive naval battle as the British faced both a large Danish fleet and land batteries from Copenhagen’s defenses which inflicted heavy casualties on Nelson’s fleet. At one point in the battle, one of Nelson’s subordinates signaled for the British fleet to retreat; alerted to the signal, Nelson raised an eyeglass to his missing eye and claimed he couldn’t see it, ordering his men to fly a signal to advance. William Bligh of Bounty infamy commanded one of Nelson’s ships and spotted the conflicting signals; Bligh decided, without hesitation, to echo Nelson and the battle resumed. Eventually the British prevailed, Denmark agreed to leave the League of Armed Neutrality (though they would fight a second battle with the British fleet several years later) and Nelson became Viscount Nelson as a result of his victory.