Whatnot Wednesday: Reeling In the Ears

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If today is Wednesday, that must mean it is time for Whatnot Wednesday!

So, let’s jump right into it.

Today is the 280th anniversary of the  War of Jenkins’ Ear, which, as we all know, marked a turning point in the struggle for ear supremacy between Britain and Spain.

It also may or may not have been the origin of the phrase, “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears“, though how Shakespeare managed to use the phrase 140 years before the Jenkins’ ear incident remains a mystery to this day and speaks to how far ahead of his time Shakespeare was.

But let’s get back to Jenkins’ ear, for he deserves a fair hearing.

I’m sure you all remember that in 1729, the Treaty of Seville (the little-known prequel to “The Barber of Seville”) gave the Spanish carte blanche, or, more appropriately, carta blanca, to board British vessels trading with the Americas, ostensibly to maintain a sort of trading detente, though no one was particularly interested in trading with the Americas at the time due to the fact that neither Apple products nor tequila had really come into their own yet.

So, a mere 2 years after the Treaty of Seville was ratified, the Spanish Coast Guard (SCG) boarded Robert Jenkins’ ship, the Rebecca (named after the book by Kate Douglas Wiggin, a.k.a. Missus uh-Wiggin) to have a look below Rebecca’s ample decks, ostensibly under the guise of “probable cause”.  However, when Jenkins asked to see a copy of their search warrant, the SCG surgically removed Jenkins’ ear with nothing more than a cutlass and a deft flick of the wrist.  Shortly thereafter, Jenkins’ crew began referring to him as “our ear-less leader”.

Things only got worse after the founding of the British colony of Georgia in North America in the year 1732, because Spain viewed this as Britain’s attempt to muscle in on their lucrative retirement-home and amusement park businesses in Spanish Florida.

Tensions remained high and created havoc in both Spain and England, and even France, because France and Britain were playing footsie under the table and leaving Spain playing the part of the awkward and acne-riddled third wheel.

Finally, Britain’s and Spain’s relationship was in tatters and, stating “irreconcilable differences”, they sought mediation in 1739 in the forum of the Convention of Pardo (only remotely related to TV announcer, Don Pardo).  The main purpose of this Convention (as unconventional as it may be), was to resolve the dispute between Spain and England regarding the Florida-Georgia line.

And THAT, boys and girls, is how a ship captain having his ear lopped off 280 years ago led directly to the invention of “bro-country” by the band Florida Georgia Line.

I can’t make this stuff up.



How To Play Whatnot Wednesday

  1. Write a blog post entitled “Whatnot Wednesday” (it can be about anything)
  2. Add these guidelines to the bottom of your post
  3. Add a link to a Biff Sock Pow “Whatnot Wednesday” post (such as this one) in your post
  4. Add the tag #WhatnotWednesday to your post
  5. Post your post
  6. In the comments below in my post, leave a link to your Whatnot Wednesday blog post
  7. See how many bullet points you can end with the word “post”
  8. Most of all …. HAVE FUN!  (post)








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