College of Cambridge historian Renaud Morieux was poring over supplies on the Nationwide Archives in Kew when he got here throughout a field holding three piles of sealed letters held collectively by ribbons. The archivist gave him permission to open the letters, all addressed to 18th century French sailors from their family members and seized by Nice Britain’s Royal Navy throughout the Seven Years’ Struggle (1756-1763).
“I noticed I used to be the primary individual to learn these very private messages since they’re written,” mentioned Morieux, who simply printed his evaluation of the letters within the journal Annales Histoire Sciences Sociales. “These letters are about common human experiences, they’re not distinctive to France or the 18th century. They reveal how all of us address main life challenges. After we are separated from family members by occasions past our management just like the pandemic or wars, we’ve got to work out tips on how to keep in contact, tips on how to reassure, take care of individuals and hold the eagerness alive. In the present day we’ve got Zoom and WhatsApp. Within the 18th century, individuals solely had letters, however what they wrote about feels very acquainted.”
England and France have a protracted, difficult historical past of being at battle, most notably the Hundred Years’ Struggle within the 14th and 15th centuries. The 2 international locations have been additionally nearly constantly at battle throughout the 18th century, together with the Seven Years’ Struggle, which was fought in Europe, the Americas, and Asia-Pacific as England and France tried to ascertain international dominance with the help of their respective allies. The battle technically advanced out of the North American colonies when England tried to increase into territory the French had already claimed. (Enjoyable truth: A 22-year-old George Washington led a 1754 ambush on a French drive on the Battle of Jumonville Glen.) However the battle quickly unfold past colonial borders, and the British went on to grab lots of of French ships at sea.
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