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Rock and oak: a new naval history of Gibraltar, 1779-1830

Rock and oak: a new naval history of Gibraltar, 1779-1830
Rock and oak: a new naval history of Gibraltar, 1779-1830
Gibraltar’s historiography has traditionally placed great importance on its capability as a ‘fortress’. Besieged fourteen times in its history, and visibly brimming with fortifications to modern observers, military terminology has consequently dominated approaches to its history. But as a territory almost entirely surrounded by water, the Royal Navy - Britain’s traditional ‘safeguard’ - played an integral role in securing ‘the Rock’ as a British possession. Intersecting the naval, Gibraltarian and imperial historiographical fields, this thesis aims to challenge the dominant conceptualisation of Gibraltar as an insular, strategic fortress dominated by its military garrison. Methodologically incorporating the new cultural and social approaches to naval history, employed by historians such as Timothy Jenks and Margarette Lincoln, it builds upon previous histories by engaging more closely with the lived experience of its inhabitants. Gibraltar’s involvement in the success of Trafalgar is well appreciated, but the navy’s activities impacted its population much more regularly and in ways more complex than has been recognised within Gibraltarian historiography. Moreover, it also assesses how Gibraltar was more broadly viewed by Britons through a consultation of various forms of literary and visual culture. The ‘Great Siege’ of 1779-83 through to the end of the Napoleonic era is a crucial period in the historiographies of the ‘Rock’ and the ‘wooden walls’ of the Royal Navy that were so integral to constructions of British identity. Jenks argued that ‘naval symbols’ were increasingly important in British political culture during this period. This thesis contends that the acceptance and understanding of Gibraltar’s status as a ‘naval symbol’ was crucial to its conceptualisation as a British possession in the post Napoleonic era.
University of Southampton
Daly, Scott Jonathon
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Daly, Scott Jonathon
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Mcaleer, John
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Lambert, Craig
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Daly, Scott Jonathon (2022) Rock and oak: a new naval history of Gibraltar, 1779-1830. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 344pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Gibraltar’s historiography has traditionally placed great importance on its capability as a ‘fortress’. Besieged fourteen times in its history, and visibly brimming with fortifications to modern observers, military terminology has consequently dominated approaches to its history. But as a territory almost entirely surrounded by water, the Royal Navy - Britain’s traditional ‘safeguard’ - played an integral role in securing ‘the Rock’ as a British possession. Intersecting the naval, Gibraltarian and imperial historiographical fields, this thesis aims to challenge the dominant conceptualisation of Gibraltar as an insular, strategic fortress dominated by its military garrison. Methodologically incorporating the new cultural and social approaches to naval history, employed by historians such as Timothy Jenks and Margarette Lincoln, it builds upon previous histories by engaging more closely with the lived experience of its inhabitants. Gibraltar’s involvement in the success of Trafalgar is well appreciated, but the navy’s activities impacted its population much more regularly and in ways more complex than has been recognised within Gibraltarian historiography. Moreover, it also assesses how Gibraltar was more broadly viewed by Britons through a consultation of various forms of literary and visual culture. The ‘Great Siege’ of 1779-83 through to the end of the Napoleonic era is a crucial period in the historiographies of the ‘Rock’ and the ‘wooden walls’ of the Royal Navy that were so integral to constructions of British identity. Jenks argued that ‘naval symbols’ were increasingly important in British political culture during this period. This thesis contends that the acceptance and understanding of Gibraltar’s status as a ‘naval symbol’ was crucial to its conceptualisation as a British possession in the post Napoleonic era.

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More information

Submitted date: September 2021
Published date: September 2022

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 469020
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/469020
PURE UUID: 5cf4b99a-66a5-4d5b-a5ad-d84102591497

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Date deposited: 05 Sep 2022 16:43
Last modified: 05 Sep 2022 16:55

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Contributors

Author: Scott Jonathon Daly
Thesis advisor: John Mcaleer
Thesis advisor: Craig Lambert

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