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Who was Admiral Rodney?
George Brydges Rodney, 1st Baron Rodney, KB was a British naval officer. He is best known for his commands in the American War of Independence, particularly his victory over the French at the Battle of the Saintes in 1782.
Rodney came from a distinguished but poor background, and went to sea at the age of fourteen. His first major action was the Second Battle of Cape Finisterre in 1747. He made a large amount of prize money during the 1740s, allowing him to purchase a large country estate and a seat in the House of Commons of Great Britain.
Rodney successfully relieved Gibraltar during the Great Siege and defeated a Spanish fleet during the 1780 Battle of Cape St. Vincent, known as the "Moonlight Battle" because it took place at night. He then was posted to the Jamaica Station, where he became involved in the controversial 1781 capture of Sint Eustatius. Later that year he briefly returned home suffering from ill health.
To some Rodney was a controversial figure, accused of an obsession with prize money and nepotism. This was brought to a head in the wake of his taking of Saint Eustatius for which he was heavily criticised in Britain. Orders for his recall had been sent when Rodney won a decisive victory at the Battle of the Saintes in April 1782, ending the French threat to Jamaica. On his return to Britain, Rodney was made a peer and was awarded an annual pension of £2,000. He lived in retirement until his death in 1792
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