WDF 21: The War of The League of Cambrai

I feel it would be safe to wager that very few will have heard of this war, but as an introduction to the sheer confusion of European power politics as Europe scraped itself out of the middle ages, there are few better. This war waged from 1508-1516, and managed during that time period to drag in everyone from France, to Venice, to the Papacy. More incredible than the list of interested powers was just how often everyone changed sides in the 8 years of war. It is one which really has to be heard to be believed, and thus I felt there was few better to present after the First World War than this, I hope you enjoy it!

One of the numerous sieges of Florence, as Italy during this war became a battleground for the interested parties.

One of the numerous sieges of Florence, as Italy during this war became a battleground for the interested parties.

WDF 22: The Dutch Revolt

A critically important event in its own right, the Dutch Revolt which began in the 1560s would continue intermittently for the next 80 years, and would only conclude upon the end of the 30 Years War in 1648. Thus the revolt between Spain and its Dutch holdings has been termed the 80 Years War, and it shaped European relations during that period to a remarkable degree. In the years that followed, one was either with Spain, or trying to prop up the Dutch against them. All the while Europe's wars waged, the Dutch and Spanish remained at one another's throats. But why did it happen at all, and how did Spain come to possess lands as far from Madrid as the Netherlands? Have a listen here, and if you're interested, have a further listen to the TALK episode I did with Sean for added context. I hope you enjoy it! Thanksssssssss! 

The striking individual centre is Maurice, Prince of Orange and inheritor of that critical but curious Dutch House. Maurice would revolutionise military tactics, and would take the fight to Spain like never before.

The striking individual centre is Maurice, Prince of Orange and inheritor of that critical but curious Dutch House. Maurice would revolutionise military tactics, and would take the fight to Spain like never before.

WDF 23: The Greek War of Independence

Between 1821-32, the Balkans were alight with a revolt from a proud, deeply cultured and historically critical people - the Greeks. After years of nationalist lessons following the French Revolution, and accepting the growing ideals about Ottoman decline, Greek leaders sought to throw off the Ottoman yolk which had kept them as Ottoman subjects for over 500 years. It was a seriously traumatic event for the Ottomans, whose Balkan domains were the most prosperous and stable in their Empire, but for the Greeks it was the culmination of years of nationalistic rhetoric and dreaming, which they put into practice with great thanks from the spiritual sympathy and actual support of Russia, their Orthodox benefactors, and Britain, their concerned paternalistic ally. All in all, it led to further revolts down the line, but it also contributed greatly to South East European ideas of nation and self, which would explode over the coming decades. Meanwhile, the Ottomans looked on, and the Russians licked their lips.

The surrender of Ioannina by the Ottomans was a significant national act, as the Ottomans were finally accepting the Greek flag, and thus saying goodbye to a great portion of their Empire in the process.

The surrender of Ioannina by the Ottomans was a significant national act, as the Ottomans were finally accepting the Greek flag, and thus saying goodbye to a great portion of their Empire in the process.

WDF 24: The Spanish Armada

Perhaps the most infamous of England's triumphs, the Spanish Armada of 1588 was neither a foregone conclusion nor a straightforward case of victory over tremendous odds. Francis Drake wasn't playing any kind of sport as the Spanish ships approached, and England had significant help from its true saviour - the waves and the weather. That being said though, the Armada is an incredible tale, and sets up England for the next few years to partake in the increasingly complex systems that were seeking to divide up Europe. This is, in a sense, England's first foray into European affairs since its previous years of turmoil. We examine the hows and whys behind perhaps the greatest underdog story in history.

C. C. van Wieringen's painting of the Spanish Armada off the English coast.

C. C. van Wieringen's painting of the Spanish Armada off the English coast.