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Anglo-Californian War (New Albion)

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Anglo-Californian War
Date1590-1594
ResultDraw
Combatants
Kingdom of Spain Flag of Spain Kingdom of England Flag of England
Commanders
Juan Ponce de Leon II Sir Francis Drake, Charles P. Littleton
Manpower
Spain

Royal Navy: 1,200
Royal Land Army: 4,000

EnglandRoyal Navy: 800

New Albion Militia: 2500

Indigenous peoples

Tongva: 800
Chumash: 400
Cumellai: 600

Indigenous peoples

Miwok: 800

Casualties
Spain:

Killed in action: 2,300
Wounded in action: 4,200
Executed: unknown
Other deaths: 1,700 (disease)
Civilian deaths: unknown

EnglandKilled in action: 800

Wounded in Action: 400 Other deaths: unknown

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The Anglo-Californian War was fought between British and Spanish forces, mostly at sea, on the Coast of New Albion from 1590-1594.

Outbreak

The Anglo-Californian war was essentially an off-shoot of the Anglo-Spanish war in the waters in western Europe. But the war broke out in Pacific America because of:

  • The Spanish made a claim on the Pacific coast of North America. The English attempted to found a colony at Roanoke twice and failed, so the King of Spain felt unthreatened by England's exploits. Sir Francis Drake, however, had already declared a colony.
  • However, Spain suffered a humiliating naval defeat at Gravelines. The English government was hesitant to pay their veteran sailors. Instead of leaving them to die on perpetual patrol, Drake relocated them to what is now the City of New Albion.
  • An English-speaking spy was discovered in the New Albion colony named Diego de Limantour, who had written a report on "El conspiracion Ingles del Bayo gigante." Limantour was taken as prisoner in order to conceal the location of what is now St Francis Bay.

Commanders

  • Spain
    • Juan Ponce de Leon II knew of Drake well. As governor of Puerto Rico, his outposts had been raided by Drake more than a decade earlier. Thirsty for revenge, he commanded the navy around Mt Lyonesse.
  • England
    • Sir Francis Drake left the City for a hidden fortress, where he assembled a second fleet (he was going off to the European front soon after) and arranged 2500 ground militia. To command ground forces he chose Charles P. Littleton.
    • Charles P. Littleton wasn't well known, but had served in the Netherlands a few years before. Since the interior of New Albion was unknown, Littleton's new ground force was oringinally meant to block the Albion River from Spanish troops coming in from up the San Joaquin River, but it would be much more important in establishing England's presence in North America.

Indigenous Involvement

Many Native Americans were pulled into the conflict because both sides wanted their knowledge of the land and support- whoever had more natives on their side would win.

  • The Miwok Nation was the dominant tribe in present-day North California. The Miwok people had settlements near the City, around St Francis Bay, where the Albion and San Joaquin rivers meet, and along roads which extended into nearby valleys. At a population of 12,000, they were told by ambassadors from the City that the Spanish would seek the help of the Tongva in the south.
  • Coincidentally, Spain enlisted the help of The Tongva. The Tongva regularly sailed and lived in a giant ring around the site of present-day Dublin. The site at which they lived was the most densely populated area north of Mexico City. The Spanish government built a castle at Mt Lyonesse originally to defend against the Tongva, but they now realised that they were the best defense against an English landing.

Albion River Campaign

Battle of San Joaquin

In September of 1590, Ponce de Leon sent Spanish and Tongva soldiers from Fort Lyonesse to find an interior route to the English. After only two weeks, the enemy had reached the Miwok. It is suspected that they reached the Kern river and travelled down the San Joaquin. Either way, the eight hundred Miwok waiting at the Albion river delta outnumbered the Tongva and Spaniards, and decimated the forces. As many as two hundred invaders were killed, and no one returned to the south. The English now knew of a land route south, and the Spanish didn't.

Tongva Campaign

The brunt of the war was quickly spreading across the Atlantic. Drake returned from fighting elsewhere in December of 1590, mustering for a daring attack deep in Spanish territory. But on New Years' Day, 1591, several Spanish galleons attacked the City by surprise. Many citizens were taken to the secret fortress, which was then dubbed "New Years' Haven" Amidst the confusion following the lightning attack, the prisoner Limantour had escaped, and Drake became obsessed with finding him, even if that meant journeying into Tongva land.

Battle of St Catherine

Drake's plan was to set up a base on one of the California Channel Islands, from which to attack the Tongva. The Island chosen was St Catherine, 26 miles across from Mt Lyonesse. However, the island was populated by a formidable Tongva population under Torqua I. The English landed at the isthmus of the island in the afternoon of January 6 and were able to make camp by dusk. The entire island had been investigated by January 20, and to Drake's delight, it was discovered that the majority of the island had a silver foundation. A fortress was built over the isthmus over two months.

Battle of Lyonesse

The Fortress on the Hill of San Pedro was necessary if the English had any chance of taking the south. This meant taking the castle before the harbor so that their ships wouldn't be destroyed. It was decided that the castle had to be attacked from the north, and that Drake would have to make a dangerous landing at Pt St Monica. St Monica was the center of a massive Tongva settlement called Topanga, and a landing attempt could only be made on the day of attack. In the early morning of January 21, the attack was made. Littleton's forces easily passed through the unprepared Tongva and began the 20-km march south. Drake's ships made a wide circle around the mountain while Littleton's ground force attacked the Castle. Drake's ships met with more from St Catherine, who invaded the harbor and destroyed all but one Spanish ship: Ponce de Leon's. The Spanish garrison had no escape and surrendered. Littleton discovered that St Francis Bay was undiscovered, and their prisoner was nowhere to be found.

Battle of Cucamonga

With captured native guides, Littleton led an expedition into the desert divide at Cucamonga in February. Littleton wanted to strike the Cumellai/Spanish stronghold at what would later be called Jamestown from the interior, while Drake's fleet would attack from the islands. However, the Tongva ambushed Littleton, separating the ground forces across the valley and into the St Bernard Mountains. After three hours of fighting, Littleton was left in the desert without a guide, during Pacific storm season. They would have to navigate their way south alone. This marked the turning point in the war at which Spain gained the upper hand.

Battle of Jamestown

Drake's fleet scuttled down the coast, destroying native settlements. Finally, they came into battle with Spanish ships. The battle ran in a circle around St Clement Island before terminating at the Cumellai camp on March 17, 1591. With no knowledge of Littleton's fate, Drake had assembled a second ground force to advance against Spain. More Spanish ships arrived, and cornered the English fleet. The English still managed to hold off wave after wave of the Spanish fleet. After three days of fighting, Littleton's forces appeared from Anza-Borrego, exhausted, dehydrated, and weak. Drake knew the battle was over and fled.

Revenge of Spain

Although the English could no longer advance, they had established a major presence on St Catherine and Mt Lyonesse. Both fortresses remained unharmed for an entire year, but in the Summer of 1592, Spain's military reappeared. All ships had been called to defend St Catherine, Lyonesse was abandoned (and its residents crept back to the secret bay by the new land route), and as the Tongva had lost contact with the Spaniards, most of the tribe defected to the English side. Utter chaos erupted across South California, and as native sailors joined Drake, the morale of both sides slipped. Drake sent unmanned ships into the sea. Disguised as Tongva, his forces let the Spanish proceed. They returned home by land.

Second Spanish Armada

A massive convoy of Spanish Galleons traveled north, but were separated. Some got lost in the fog, and drifted harmlessly north, Juan de Fuca among them. The rest were never seen again. Assaults continued, but as many ships simply vanished, the Viceroyalty of New Spain simply gave up, ending their search in 1594. Of course, some of the lost ships were found again- in the service of England.

Aftermath

The Offensive was pointless. Nothing had been accomplished from it, and as New Albion's population grew, so did disapproval of Drake; who was often away fighting Spain elsewhere. He died of dysentery near Puerto Rico in 1596. After Elizabeth I's death, more need was required for peacetime explorers. A great deal of California had been hastily explored by Charles P. Littleton, who led seven expeditions deep into the continent. He was made Governor of New Albion in 1610, aged 52.

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