Great Sea Fights: Cape St Vincent (1797) Part 2 – The Analysis

February 2021

This second episode in our special series on the Battle of Cape St Vincent offers an analysis of the battle from two of the world’s leading Nelson scholars: John Sugden and Marianne Czisnik. Dr Sam Willis speaks to them both and explores the realities of battle at sea in the age of sail. This battle is famous because of the extraordinary event that occurred when Horatio Nelson boarded one Spanish ship from another he had already captured. But how should we see this event as historians? To what extent was Nelson acting independently? Was he breaking his orders and if so was he right to do so? How did the battle affect the war? This episode gets to the very foundations of the nature of seapower in the Age of Sail.Videos produced with the assistance of the Lloyds Register Foundation and with thanks to the National Museum of the Royal Navy.