For over three and a half years, from 1779 to 1783, the tiny territory of Gibraltar was besieged and blockaded, on land and at sea, by the overwhelming forces of Spain and France. It became the longest siege in British history, and the obsession with saving Gibraltar was blamed for the loss of the American colonies in the War of Independence.
Located between the Mediterranean and Atlantic, on the very edge of Europe, Gibraltar was a place of varied nationalities, languages, religions and social classes. During the siege, thousands of soldiers, civilians and their families withstood terrifying bombardments, starvation and diseases. Very ordinary people lived through extraordinary events, from shipwrecks and naval battles to an attempted invasion of England and a daring sortie out of Gibraltar into Spain. Deadly innovations included red-hot shot, shrapnel shells and a barrage from immense floating batteries.
This is military and social history at its best, a story of soldiers, sailors and civilians, with royalty and rank-and-file, workmen and engineers, priests, prisoners-of-war, spies and surgeons, all caught up in a struggle for a fortress located on little more than two square miles of awe-inspiring rock. Gibraltar: The Greatest Siege in British History is an epic page-turner, rich in dramatic human detail - a tale of courage, endurance, intrigue, desperation, greed and humanity. The everyday experiences of all those involved are brought vividly to life with eyewitness accounts and expert research.
'A fascinating, well-crafted account of a siege that defined Britishness' Andrew Lambert, BBC History Magazine
A definitive new book . . . it recounts in detail the stirring story of the conflict and Lord Heathfield's key role in ensuring a momentous British victory
Roy and Lesley Adkins are husband-and-wife historians and authors of widely acclaimed books on naval and social history, including Jack Tar, Trafalgar, The War for All the Oceans and Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England, which have been translated into seventeen languages. They are Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of London and the Royal Historical Society, as well as Members of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists. They live in Devon. See www.adkinshistory.com