1860-1899 | Burning towns and cities | Looting and plunder | Nigeria

The ancient city of Benin looted and burned

[ 18 February 1897 ] The Benin Punitive Expedition On 18 February 1897, a punitive expedition of 1,200 Royal Marines, bluejackets and African troops, under the command of Rear Admiral Harry Rawson, seized the ancient city of Benin. Situated amid dense rain forest some 200 miles east of Lagos, it was the capital of the…

1800-1859 | Looting and plunder | Russia

British troops ransack the Crimean port of Balaklava

26 September 1854 On 26 September 1854, the British army ransacked the small Crimean port of Balaclava.  Professor Saul David comments that when they arrived they found ‘the port was largely deserted.: most of its 1500 inhabitants had already fled… leaving their homes to be ruthlessly pillaged.’1 At the time, the British weekly, the Examiner, explained it…

1900-1919 | China | Civilians slaughtered | Looting and plunder | Massacres

British and allied troops sack Tientsin slaughtering civilians

[ 14 July 1900 ] British and Allied troops sent to crush an alliance of Boxer rebels and Chinese imperial forces, seized the northern port city of Tientsin (Tianjin) in the early hours of 14 July 1900. The Dundee Courier noted that ‘after the city was entered, there was at first indiscriminate slaughter, and it is alleged…

1800-1859 | Afghanistan | Burning towns and cities | Civilians slaughtered | Demolishing urban areas | Looting and plunder | Massacres | Punitive operations

Kabul sacked in an orgy of fire, looting and ‘wholesale butchery’

[ 10 October 1842 ] On 10 October 1842, British troops used explosives and fire to destroy much of the Afghan capital of Kabul, including the Great Bazar and an adjacent mosque. They also burned down an unknown number of domestic dwellings, slaughtering their owners. Only two neighbourhoods, deemed ‘friendly’, were left untouched and the…

1500-1799 | Looting and plunder | United States

BRITISH TROOPS RANSACK WESTFIELD, NEW JERSEY

26 June 1777 During the American Revolution, British troops ransacked and pillaged hundreds of American communities, but there was rarely any attempt to accurately account for what was taken. One exception is the ransacking of Westfield, when 13,000 Redcoats camped outside the small New Jersey town on the night of 26 June 1777. They marched…

1500-1799 | Burning crops | Burning towns and cities | Guinea-Bissau | Looting and plunder | Slavery

HAWKINS’ SAILORS SACK CACHEU, TORTURING, KILLING AND SEIZING SLAVES

30 November 1567 Cacheu was a Portuguese trading and administrative town at the mouth of what was then called the Santo-Domingo River on the West African coast. It was situated a short distance south of Cape Roxo in what is today Guinea-Bissau. On the evening of 29 November 1567, three heavily armed British ships sailed…

1500-1799 | India

BATTLE OF PLASSEY IS FOLLOWED BY THE LOOTING OF BENGAL

[ 23 June 1757 ] On 23 June 1757, Colonel Robert Clive, commanding 3,000 troops of Britain’s East India Company, defeated Siraj-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Bengal, at the Battle of Plassey. The ‘glorious victory’ was achieved partly by persuading Mir Jafar, the Nawab’s senior military commander, to defect. Jafar was immediately installed as the new…

1500-1799 | Battlefield butchery | Civilians slaughtered | Looting and plunder

Cromwell’s troops massacre all but ‘a very few’ of the inhabitants of Wexford

11 October 1649 Today in 1649, the inhabitants of Wexford were massacred by British troops. One month earlier [ 11 September 1649 ] Oliver Cromwell, commanding British parliamentary forces in Ireland, had ordered his soldiers to offer no quarter to the royalist garrison at Drogheda, and had slaughtered almost all those who had surrendered, along…

1500-1799 | Burning people alive | Burning villages | Canada | Civilians slaughtered | Looting and plunder | Massacres

British troops massacre the Abenaki people and burn many in their homes

4 October 1759 In the early hours of 4 October 1759, 142 British troops, under the command of Major Robert Rogers, approached a large Native American settlement at Odanak on the Saint Francois river, some seventy miles south west of Quebec. Noticing that the Abenaki villagers were busily engaged in celebrations, the Redcoats waited until…

1800-1859 | Civilians slaughtered | Crimes against women | Looting and plunder | Massacres | Rape | Russia

British and Allied troops sack the Crimean city of Kerch

24 May 1855 The 24 May 1855 was a day the people of Kerch would never forget. The local population had begged general Sir George Brown, who was in command of a force of 15,000 British, French and Turkish soldiers which had captured the city, to protect them from the local Tatar population. Not only…