So here we are. It’s now 1738 and relations between the two European powers are really not that good. War was looming, but there was no good reason to pick a fight. But perhaps there was. Although the incident of Jenkins ear gained very little attention when it happened, in 1738 the British were looking for just cause. This was their trigger.
The colonies in the Caribbean were petitioning for support from their king, and good old Jenkins wanted reprisal for his ear attack. The following summer, King George II, on the advice and request of his parliament, ordered the admiralty to begin reprisals against Spain. The war was under way.
Now, this wasn’t exactly a full out war. It was really half hearted, with neither side really putting their heart and soul into it. It slowly bludgeoned on for nearly a decade, with no real ground or political advantage going either way. The war itself didn’t really end with a truce, either. It just kind of faded away into the War of Austrian Succession.
The Spanish claimed a victory, although no boundaries ever changed. But the numbers were on their side. The Spanish suffered 4,500 dead and 5,000 wounded along with the loss of 186 ships. The British lost 20,000 dead, wounded or missing, and lost 407 ships. And it was all over one ear.