1500-1799 | Burning towns and cities | Collective punishments | Punitive operations | United States

THE ROYAL NAVY PUNISHES THE AMERICAN TOWN OF FALMOUTH

17 OCTOBER 1775 On 6 October 1775, a squadron of Royal Naval ships, commanded by Captain Henry Mowat, sailed from Boston. Vice Admiral Samuel Graves ordered Mowat to discipline coastal towns deemed sympathetic to the American Revolutionary cause, which earlier that year had erupted into a full scale war against the tyranny of British colonial…

1980-1989 | Backing Apartheid

Thatcher insists she can’t meet the ‘terrorist’ A.N.C.

17 October 1987 On 17 October 1987, at a press conference at the Vancouver Commonwealth Summit, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher called the African National Congress ‘a typical terrorist organisation,’ adding that she would have ‘nothing to do with any organisation that practices violence. I have never seen anyone from the ANC or the PLO or…

1970-1979 | Northern Ireland | Torture

Routine use of torture in Ulster exposed

17 October 1971 On 17 October 1971, the Sunday Times published a front page article entitled ‘How Ulster Internees are Made to Talk,’ in which former detainee Pat Shivers recounted how, over a period of several days, he was hooded and forced into agonizing stress positions and fell unconscious repeatedly.  The Ministry of Defence immediately held a…