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Eilean Donan castle was founded in the 13th century, but was destroyed in the 18th century. The present buildings are the result of 20th century reconstruction. Following the failure of the Jacobite rising of 1715, the Jacobites, supporters of the exiled James Stuart, the “Old Pretender”, sought new support from Spain. An advance party of 300 Spanish soldiers arrived in Loch Duich in April 1719, and occupied Eilean Donan Castle. The expected uprising of Highlanders did not occur, and the main Spanish invasion force never arrived.
At the beginning of May, the Royal Navy sent ships to the area. Early in the morning on Sunday 10 May, HMS Worcester, HMS Flamborough, and HMS Enterprise, anchored off Eilean Donan, and sent a boat ashore under a flag of truce to negotiate. When the Spanish soldiers in the castle fired at the boat, it was recalled and all three ships opened fire on the castle for an hour or more. The next day the bombardment continued while a landing party was prepared. In the evening, under the cover of an intense cannonade, the ships’ boats went ashore and captured the castle against little resistance. According to HMS Worcester’s log, in the castle they found “an Irishman, a captain, a Spanish lieutenant, a sergeant, one Scots rebel and 39 Spanish soldiers, 343 barrels of powder and 52 barrels of musquet shot”. The naval force spent the next two days demolishing the castle (it took 27 barrels of gunpowder). The Spanish prisoners were put on board HMS Flamborough and taken to Edinburgh. The remaining Spanish troops were defeated on 10 June at the Battle of Glen Shiel.
Camera: Canon 7D