<<<BACK    NEXT>>>
CLOSE

The Battle of Leghorn
1653
Reinier Nooms

The Battle of Leghorn 1653 Reinier Nooms

An interpretation of an action during the First Dutch War, 1652–1654. The increasing conflict of trade interests between England and the Netherlands in the first half of the seventeenth century made armed conflict inevitable. All three Anglo-Dutch wars which followed were solely maritime conflicts. By early 1653 the English forces were split and their position in the Mediterranean became critical. Captain Badiley was trapped with four men-of-war at Porto Longone in Elba, and Captain Appleton with the 'Leopard' and five hired merchantmen, was similarly placed at Leghorn, where the Dutch fleet was also hovering.

To make matters worse, the British had incurred the displeasure of the Grand Duke of Tuscany when they violated the neutrality of this port by recapturing the 'Phoenix'. This hardened the Duke's opinion against the English and by the beginning of March 1653 Appleton was ordered to leave Leghorn. The news of the Dutch victory off Dungeness convinced the Grand Duke that the Dutch might win the war. When the Dutch massed all of their ships off Leghorn, it enabled Badiley to leave Elba and attempt to join Appleton. Unfortunately Appleton sailed from port prematurely and attacked the Dutch before Badiley arrived to join him. Only one of Appleton's squadron, the merchantman 'Mary', fought her way through to join Badiley, who, seeing the hopelessness of the situation, retreated to Elba and then returned to Britain. 150 men out of 200 were killed or wounded before Appleton surrendered his ship.

As a consequence of the battle, the Dutch were left in command of the Mediterranean. In the foreground Appleton, in the 'Leopard', is fighting a losing battle between two Dutchmen. The ship on the left is the Dutch 'Zon' which was subsequently sunk. It has the emblem of the sun carved on its stern. To the right, the rest of the ships are depicted in action.

<<<BACK    NEXT>>>
CLOSE