jueves, diciembre 30, 2010

Jorge Rial (mercenarios)

La armada brasilera debió buscar oficiales y tripulantes en otro lado:

The subsequent loss of the schooner Maria Teresa and its convoy of transports, taken to Montevideo by a pro-Portuguese officer in January 1823, led to a general questioning of the
loyalty of naval personnel and further predisposed Brazilian patriotic circles to accept the decision to hire Cochrane and other foreign officers. By then all of the Spanish American
republics had established navies commanded primarily by British and American officers idled after 1815; indeed, the migration had been so extensive that, in the British case, it inspired Parliament to pass the Foreign Enlistment Act of 1819, which among other provisions denied inactive British officers their half-pay while they were employed by another country.
The navy of Chile, which Cochrane had served since 1818, provided the most dramatic example of the decisive difference foreign naval talent could make within the context of the Latin
American Wars for Independence. Thomas, Lord Cochrane, later 10th Earl of Dundonald, was a highly decorated British veteran of the Napoleonic wars, living in exile in France (after being disgraced in a stock market scandal in 1814) when he accepted command of the Chilean navy. His brilliant campaign against the Spanish navy ranged as far north as the coast of California; the high point came in 1820–21, when his fleet transported the army of General José de San Martín to conquer Peru, the last bastion of Spanish rule in South America.

Thereafter he fell out with San Martín, who established himself as dictator of Peru and tried to lure Cochrane and his British officers and seamen into Peruvian service. Cochrane refused, but enough of his officers and men accepted seriously to cripple the Chilean navy. Once Spain had been defeated, Cochrane’s relationship with the Chilean government soured over issues of pay and prize money. As early as May 1822 Dom Pedro’s chief agent in Britain suggested Cochrane as a potential commander of the Brazilian navy. When offered the position six months later, he accepted: ‘The war in the Pacific having been happily terminated by the total destruction of the Spanish naval force, I am . . . free for the crusade of liberty in any other quarter of the globe.’

Dom Pedro accepted Cochrane’s stiff demands regarding rank and salary. A vice admiral in Chile, he received the rank of ‘first admiral’ in Brazil, with compensation at an annual rate of 11,500 milréis (£2,304) when ashore and 17,290 milréis (£3,458) while at sea, sums three times as great as the salary of any other Brazilian admiral, and £500 per year more than what he would have earned as a British admiral commanding a fleet. Cochrane brought four British officers with him from Chile, and another 47 British subjects entered the Brazilian naval officer corps during 1822–3. Six more followed in 1824, one in 1825 and two in 1826, bringing the overall total (including Cochrane) to 61. Most were young, 56 entering at the rank of lieutenant or lower. The British were neither the first nor the only foreign officers hired by Brazil. The prospect of serving under a monarchy made Brazil somewhat less attractive than the Spanish American republics in the eyes of officers from the United States, yet Captain David Jewitt, an American most recently in the service of Argentina, was the first foreigner commissioned by the Brazilian navy, in October 1822. Other early signings included Teodoro de Beaurepaire, formerly of the French navy.15 Thus the leadership of the fleet Cochrane took
into action against the Portuguese had a truly multinational character. The commanders of the nine warships that left Rio de Janeiro in April 1823 included four Brazilians, three Britons,
the American Jewitt and the Frenchman Beaurepaire; aboard Cochrane’s flagship Pedro I, the officers and staff included eight Brazilians, six Britons, two Frenchmen and one German.
Cochrane spent the next nine months campaigning against Pernambuco and its allies among the other northern provinces.
In consolidating Dom Pedro’s rule, the navy continued to place a special trust in its British officers: in midsummer 1824–5 they accounted for 57 of the 170 officers at sea and served as commanders of 13 warships. Cochrane remained an effective commander despite becoming increasingly preoccupied, even obsessed, with prize money. In a development disturbingly reminiscent of his last months in Chile, he argued constantly with the Brazilian government over the sums he felt that he and his men had earned in vanquishing the Portuguese navy during
1823. After leaving the flagship Pedro I for the frigate Piranga, in May 1825 Cochrane sailed directly from Maranhão to Britain, ostensibly to repair his ship. Having declared his sympathy with ‘the struggle for the liberties of Greece’ as early as 1822, he was receptive to an overture from the Greek navy and by August 1825 had negotiated the fabulous sum of £57,000 to serve as its commander-in-chief. After he ignored repeated appeals to return to Brazil, in April 1827 the navy formally dismissed him, one month after he finally arrived in Greece to assume his new

While the British influence remained strong, during 1825 other foreigners entered the officer corps in unprecedented numbers. The navy employed sixteen American, French and Scandinavian officers, including nine who arrived that year. During 1826 a Danish officer served as the first commander of the steamer Correio Brasileiro. After suffering no fatalities in the War for Independence, four of Brazil’s British officers lost their lives in the war against
Argentina, killed outright or mortally wounded in the action.
Just two deserted to the Argentinians; one, a lieutenant, who took a schooner with him, crossing paths during 1827 with an Argentinian British lieutenant who defected to Brazil. The
same high degree of loyalty did not hold true for the British seamen recruited into Brazilian service, at least in the Cisplatine War. Because the Argentinian navy was even more dependent
upon British manpower (for two-thirds of its officers and half of its seamen, compared to one-fifth of the officers and one-sixth of the seamen for the Brazilian navy, as of 1827), deserters
moved easily between the two navies, selling their services to the highest bidder. Captured British seamen typically accepted the offer to change sides rather than spend months idle (and
unpaid) as prisoners of war.
Over the months that followed Brazilian agents offering able seamen 13 milréis (£2.60) per month, significantly more than the £1.60 they could earn in the British navy, found no shortage
of volunteers. The first 170 British sailors reached Rio de Janeiro in March 1823, coinciding with Cochrane’s arrival from Chile. Another 250 departed from Britain in April and May, still in time to participate in the War for Independence. The next great wave of recruits left Britain for Brazil between July and November 1825, as the navy prepared for the Cisplatine War. Of 400 seamen in this cohort, 150 sailed aboard the frigate Piranga when it returned to Brazil without Cochrane. By 1827 there were between 1,000 and 1,200 British sailors in Brazilian service.

domingo, diciembre 26, 2010

Matías Ale

Otro capítulo de este librito sobre las armadas, esta vez sobre la brasilera en la década de 1820:

The navy’s most formidable warships were its large sailing vessels, but these were of little use on the rivers and inshore coastal waters where the Cisplatine War was fought. The three largest warships Brazil lost were corvettes, one (the Itaparica) captured on a river and two (the Duqueza de Goias and Maceió) abandoned after running aground in shallow water. Under such conditions the brigs, schooners and gunboats of the Brazilian and Argentinian navies saw most of the action, often in bitter fighting, with several of the smallest warships changing hands two or three times during the course of the conflict. As of May 1827, the Argentinian navy (not counting privateers) included two corvettes, four brigs and ten schooners, of which exactly half (one corvette, two brigs and five schooners) had been captured from the Brazilian navy.8 By 1828 the Brazilian fleet included one ship of the line, nine frigates, five corvettes and sixty-one brigs, schooners and gunboats, with another nine warships (including a ship of the line, two frigates and two corvettes) under construction. That year the naval budget consumed 3,500 contos of réis (£700,000), triple the outlay of 1823, and the fleet quite rightly was held to blame for Brazil’s huge budget deficit and spiralling inflation.

The rising cost of the navy in particular and the Cisplatine War in general occasioned fiery speeches in the Brazilian assembly. But Deputy Cuhna Mattos, speaking in 1827, summed up the thoughts of many patriotic Brazilians in concluding that ‘to maintain our honour and dignity at sea, we must maintain a large naval force’.Thanks to Dom Pedro’s naval build-up, by 1830 Brazil could boast of having the world’s eighth largest navy and, in the western hemisphere, the second largest, trailing only that of the United States. In larger warships built-and-building the Brazilian navy’s force of two ships of the line and eleven frigates remained clearly inferior to the American navy’s ten ships of the line and sixteen frigates but, if measured either in larger warships or in total warships, the Brazilian fleet was stronger than all the other navies of Latin America combined.

Op cit, p. 82-83

lunes, diciembre 20, 2010

La Mole Moli

En el 36 Japón se largó a una carrera naval que no podía ganar.

The sheer number of ships being built between 1937 and 1941 was impressive enough, but in ships completed during those years the us navy still outpaced the Japanese in every type but aircraft carriers, where the United States commissioned just four. In a further ominous sign, Japan’s build-up reflected practically the maximum that its economy and industry could support, while the concurrent American effort was a relatively insignificant sideshow to an economy still on a peacetime footing.
In 1937, the first year since 1921 with no international limits on naval construction, both the United States and Japan spent just over $1 billion on defence, but while the us total represented just 1.5 per cent of a national income of $68 billion, the Japanese figure was 28 per cent of a national income of only $4 billion.

Between 1942 and 1945 the Japanese navy fell only further behind, overwhelmed by the wartime production of the United States. During those years Japan completed 1 battleship (the Musashi), 10 carriers, 5 cruisers, 61 destroyers and 121 submarines, while the us navy added 8 battleships, 112 carriers (including 82 escort carriers), 48 cruisers, 354 destroyers and 203 submarines.

Lawrence Sondhaus, Navies in Modern World History, p. 213

lunes, diciembre 06, 2010

430 años para duplicar el ritmo de crecimiento

BBC History Magazine
In medieval England, average income was more than double that of the poorest nations today, says Warwick Uni report

Abstract: We provide annual estimates of GDP for England between 1270 and 1700 and for Great Britain between 1700 and 1870, constructed from the output side. The GDP data are combined with population estimates to calculate GDP per capita. We find English per capita income growth of 0.20 per cent per annum between 1270 and 1700, although growth was episodic, with the strongest growth during the Black Death crisis of the fourteenth century and in the second half of the seventeenth century. For the period 1700-1870, we find British per capita income growth of 0.48 per cent, broadly in line with the widely accepted Crafts/Harley estimates. This modest trend growth in per capita income since 1270 suggests that, working back from the present, living standards in the late medieval period were well above “bare bones subsistence”. This can be reconciled with modest levels of kilocalorie consumption per head because of the very large share of pastoral production in agriculture.

jueves, diciembre 02, 2010


El Bric sigue demostrando ser prometedor, ahora con la designación del mundial de 2018 en Rusia. Decían que el pais era demasiado grande (17.000.000km2) para un mundial. Como para no poder decir lo mismo, eligieron sede de 2022 a Qatar, un pais de 11.000 km2, del tamaño de las malvinas, casi la mitad de Tucumán. Dicen que hace demasiado calor en Qatar en verano, por eso habrá aire acondicionado en los estadios. Una cosa: ¡ojo también con el verano ruso!
Tras el mundial de México 86 vino una serie de organizaciones en el primer mundo (Italia, EEUU, Francia, Korea-Japon y Alemania). La nueva serie muestra el buen momento no solo del BRIC sino de las materias primas en estos tiempos: Sudáfrica, Brasil, Rusia y Qatar. Esto debe servir de nuevo llamado de atención a India y China, si quieren estar a la altura de las circunstancias.