16.11.

1776: German Troops Occupy a Fort in America

1776: German Troops Occupy a Fort in America
Photo Credit To http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BattleOfFortWashingtonMapBySauthier.jpg

Story Highlights

  • historical event: The Germans in question were the infamous Hessian mercenaries, whom the British hired to fight for them in the American War of Independence.

On this day a little-known but very interesting event from the American War of Independence took place. Namely, the German mercenaries seized Fort Washington, which was located in the largest American city – New York.

What were the Germans doing in America at that time? The Germans in question were the infamous Hessian mercenaries, whom the British hired to fight for them in the American War of Independence. The UK’s weakness has always been a small number of ground troops. The reason for this was the fact that Britain is an island and therefore didn’t need a lot of troops to protect its land borders. The British traditionally had a strong navy, which was the strongest in the world at the time of the American War of Independence. Therefore, they were forced to hire mercenaries in order to obtain enough ground troops. German principalities, like Hesse in central Germany, proved to be willing to provide the troops in exchange for money.

Thus the Germans fought against the young United States. Interestingly, the Hessian prince profited very well from that. Even more interesting is that the prince’s acquired wealth was used by his banker from Frankfurt, named Mayer Amschel Rothschild, to launch one of the largest banking networks in Europe. Soon the banker became richer than the Prince, and the power of what is today probably the richest family in the world – the Rothschild dynasty – was founded.

The German general who defeated the Americans and took over Fort Washington was called Wilhelm von Innhausen Knyphausen and had the title of Baron of the Holy Roman Empire (German: Reichsfreiherr). It is interesting that later on, when his army managed to occupy the whole of New York, he became the commander of that largest American city.

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