Siege of Guadeloupe

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Siege of Guadeloupe
Part of War of the Spanish Succession
Guadeloupe map.png
Guadeloupe; British landed on Basse-terre
DateMarch – May 1703
Location
Result French victory
Belligerents
Flag of England.svg  England Royal Standard of the King of France.svg  France
Commanders and leaders
Flag of England.svg Christopher Codrington
Flag of England.svg Charles Wills
Royal Standard of the King of France.svg Charles Auger
Royal Standard of the King of France.svg Nicolas de Gabaret
Strength
4,000 troops and militia
45 ships
1,000 - 1,800
12 ships

The Siege of Guadeloupe took place from March to May 1703 during the War of the Spanish Succession, when a British expeditionary force led by Christopher Codrington landed on Guadeloupe in the French West Indies, and laid siege to the capital of Basse-Terre.

Contents

Although Charles Auger, the French governor, received reinforcements from Martinique led by Nicolas de Gabaret, he was forced to destroy Fort St Charles. However, lack of supplies and heavy losses from disease obliged the British to evacuate in May.

Siege

In March 1703, the British landed on the western part of Guadeloupe, in the French West Indies, near the main settlement of Basse-Terre. Codrington laid siege to Fort St Charles, held by a garrison under Charles Auger, while sending out parties of troops to burn and destroy houses, farms, works and plantations. They were also ordered to forage and plunder, because provisions were in short supply. [1]

Reinforcements arrived from Martinique on 3 April, led by its governor Nicolas de Gabaret who took over command, and blew up the fort. He adopted scorched earth tactics, destroying resources before falling back into the interior, then harassing the British while disease and lack supplies reduced their strength. While highly unpopular with French plantation owners, it proved extremely effective. [2]

By the end of April, disease began afflicting the soldiers ashore and Codrington was evacuated when he too fell ill. His deputy Charles Wills took over command and began evacuating the survivors in early May. Basse-Terre town was set ablaze as the fleet, taking captured guns, sailed on to St Christopher's Island. [1]

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Gabriel-Jean Nicolas Gabaret de Saint-Sornin was a French colonial official who was governor of Grenada in the French West Indies, and then for over twenty years was governor of Martinique. He was deputy to the governor general of the French Antilles, and was twice acting governor general of the French Antilles. In his last year he was governor of Saint-Domingue

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Charles Auger de La Motte was a French colonial administrator. He was governor in turn of Marie-Galante, Guadeloupe and Saint-Domingue.

Bonnaventure-François de Boisfermé was a French soldier and colonial administrator. He was commander or acting governor in Marie-Galante, Guadeloupe and Martinique. He was appointed governor of Grenada but died before taking office.

Georges Robert Cloche de Mont-Saint-Rémy de La Malmaison was a French soldier and colonial administrator who was governor of Guadeloupe from 1705 until his death in 1717. In 1713–15 he was acting governor general of the French Antilles

Pierre Hincelin was a French soldier who was the kings lieutenant on Guadeloupe. He fought on Antigua in 1666 during the Second Anglo-Dutch War. He was governor of Guadeloupe from 1677 to 1694. The Nine Years' War broke out in 1688 and Guadeloupe was invaded by the English in 1691. The French defenders were outnumbered and retreated, but the effect of disease, heavy rain and the arrival of French reinforcements led to the English leaving after a few weeks.

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Coordinates: 16°15′00″N61°34′59″W / 16.2500°N 61.5830°W / 16.2500; -61.5830