The Madras influence on American Independence

fireworksThe Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle of 1748, sometimes called the Treaty of Aachen, ended the War of the Austrian Succession

France regained Cape Breton Island in Canada, lost during the war, and it returned the captured city of Madras in India to Great Britain.

British colonists in New England and merchants back in Great Britain resented the return of Louisbourg to the French which they had captured the stronghold in a 46-day siege. This resentment was an early seed of the later American Revolution.

Britain did gain some advantages but the only tangible territorial advantage was the regaining of Madras. The rulers of  Britain were not really sure on what they had gained and lost and so the celebrations of the peace were not held until six months later.

It was a fireworks display in Green Park for which Handel wrote his “Music for the Royal Fireworks”. The fireworks and Handel’s music were viewed by King George II. Unfortunately, during the display, an accident occurred which set fire to several thousand fireworks and killed three spectators.


The text at the top of the hand-colored etching  reads: “A VIEW of the FIRE-WORKS and ILLUMINATIONS at his GRACE the Duke of RICHMOND’S at WHITEHALL and on the River Thames on Monday 15 May 1749. Performed by the direction of Charles Fredrick Esq.”


One Comment Add yours

  1. dhassler1 says:

    Great to make the connection with the celebration and Handel’s composition! It makes the world a bit more understandable to recognize in more detail the widespread elements that lead to that celebration.


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