August 14

A big day for battlefield fans.

1040 Macbeth’s forces slay King Duncan

William Shakespeare was not one for historical accuracy if altering the facts could make for a better plot. His 1606 thriller Macbeth portrayed Duncan’s death as a midnight murder at the hands of the thane of Cawdor and his wife, but, in reality ,the king of Scotland was killed in a punitive raid on Macbeth territory. Serves him right.

1385 Battle of Aljubarotta

This was the fight that secured Portuguese independence from Spanish kingdoms. Aided by French heavy cavalry, King John I of Castile invaded his neighbour in an attempt to incorporate the Portuguese realm into his own. He was met by a combined force of English longbow men and Portuguese infantry protected by ditches and the slope of a hill. The result was a bloody encounter that ended in a massacre of the invaders and the establishment of the Aziz dynasty.

1720 Defeat of the Villasur expedition

In the early 18th-century, penetration of the interior of North America by the French and the Spanish led to clashes as claims to territory overlapped. In 1720 the Spanish authorities in New Mexico sent a small force of cavalry and native Apache and Pueblo warriors into the Great Plains, where French priests and traders had been becoming active. At the confluence of the Loup and Platte Rivers in what is now Nebraska, the Spanish were ambushed by Otoe and Pawnee fighters who resented the intrusion. Very few survivors made it back to Santa Fe and the result of the battle was an end to Spanish interest in that area.


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