On This Day

John Churchill

General John Churchill

Full Name: 1st Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill
Profession: General

Nationality:
England
English

Why Famous: As a soldier and statesman, Churchill's career spanned the reigns of five monarchs. He helped to installed James to the throne by putting down the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685, but then played a key part in the conspiracy which led to the deposition the self-same James in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

While William III rewarded him for this service, he fell from grace and was briefly imprisoned; before Queen Anne's accession in 1702, following the death of William III.

Churchill's marriage to Sarah Jennings, the closest friend of Queen Anne, led to a period of success for the oft-troubled statesman. His string of victories ensured him a place in English military history: Blenheim (1704), Ramillies (1706), Oedenarde (1708), and Maplaquet (1709).

Ultimately, however, it was his wife, who had ensured his rise, that also caused his fall. Tensions arose between her and Queen Anne, with Sarah Churchill placing pressure inappropriate for one considered foremost as a friend.

While Churchill returned to power with the accession of George I in 1714, he was not long for it, suffering a stroke in 1716. However his career ended, he is remembered for his military successes and had a lasting effect on strategy of the day—particularly in moving away from siege warfare, which had previously been a dominant tactic.

Born: May 26, 1650
Birthplace: Ashe House, Devon, England
Star Sign: Gemini

Died: June 16, 1722 (aged 72)

Historical Events

  • 1688-11-24 General strategist John Churchill meets William III
  • 1688-12-04 General John Churchill (later 1st Duke of Marlborough) changes allegiance from James II to William of Orange
  • 1704-08-13 Battle of Blenheim (Second Battle of Höchstädt): A combined British, German and Dutch army led by John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, decisively beats the French and Bavarians
  • 1706-05-23 Battle of Ramillies during War of the Spanish Succession.: John Churchill (1st Duke of Marlborough) defeats French; 17,000 killed
  • 1711-12-31 John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, fired as English army commander

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