January 4th, 2010

Anglo-Spanish relations 1797 - 1801... especially at sea

Anglo-Spanish wars at sea at the very end of the 18th century.

I've googled all the obvious: Spain history;  Spain war Britain; Spanish history timeline; Britain and Spain at war; Iberian Peninsular War etc., and bounced around Wikipedia checking Nelson and Napoleon, but there's a big fat gap between what seems to be a brief war at sea from 1796 (when Spain declares war on Britain) and 1797 (when the British navy defeats the Spanish) and 1804 when Spain declares war on Britain again. Then in 1805 Spanish ships join the French against the British at Trafalgar.

Specifically would Spanish shipping in the Atlantic have been fair game for British Privateers between 1797 and 1804? Did the defeat of the Spanish end that short war or was it just a temporary setback for Spain?

According to http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/H/history/napoleon/timeline1.html Spain declares war on Britain in 1796 but in February 1797, the British navy defeats Spain at the battle of St Vincent, off Portugal, and seizes Spanish Trinidad and Dutch Tobago (West Indies).

But what happens then between the two countries? I can't find any details of whys or wherefores; whether it's an uneasy peace, sometimes broken, or whether Spanish shipping is completely off limits to British navy and privateers. What exactly is the state of play in 1800 in the Atlantic when much of my action takes place?

My British privateer is sailing the Atlantic from 1797 to 1801 with Letters of Marque from the Crown. Which countries' shipping (apart from the obvious France) are fair game without them being branded as pirates?

witty charming and elegant

Not-Quite Hungarian street names

I am trying to name streets and districts for a fantasy novel. The city itself is in not-exactly Hungary, and I had a look at addresses from Budapest, but, not being Hungarian, these made no sense to me. What sort of names would districts in a Hungarian city have? And what street names would be popular? What is the equivalent of 'George Street'? If it makes any difference, the country is German-influenced.

Thank you.

Restoring metalwork decorations on a medieval shield

...or something like that, I think.

Setting: It's a fanfic for the Princess Tutu anime, so it's based off a German town. The time is... not current, but perhaps in the first half of the 20th century? I'm at a loss for how to pinpoint it further.
Searches: Wikipedia "metalworking" and related articles; Google "medieval shield making" "medieval shield making metal decoration" "shield repair" and other things of that nature; Google "Achilles' shield." But I still can't seem to stumble upon the right keywords to get at what I want to ask.

The character owns an antiques shop, but seems to stock mainly (what I would think of as stereotypical medieval) armor and weapons and to do things like repair swords. I need him to be busy with a project. Because it would work nicely with the story, I'd like him to be restoring/repairing a shield reminiscent of Achilles' or Aeneas' shields--that is, metal and ornately decorated and telling a story through the pictures. I imagine something that detailed would keep him occupied and require a lot of his attention.

The only problem is, I have no idea what he would be doing with it. What kind of damage might need to be repaired--nicks and scratches to the metal due to battle or to carelessness in later storing it or using it as a decoration at home? Could parts of the decorated figures get knocked off? I don't really have the first clue as to how such a shield would be constructed, so I can't accurately imagine how it would fall apart. How could the character then restore these damages?

I don't really need specific details and terminology, but I'd like to be able to have some description at least in passing of what he might be doing at the moment. "He was heating the shield in the fire so that he could smooth out the nicks"? "The decoration was worked in gold, so he carefully beat and reshaped the figures"?

Any help you could give me to make my ignorance less obvious in this scene would be appreciated.