Marlborough, Duke of

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Marlborough, Duke of


(John Churchill). Born May 26, 1650, in Ashe, near Musbury, Devonshire; died June 16, 1722, at Cranbourn Lodge near Windsor. Duke (1702); English military leader and political figure; general (1702).

Marlborough was obligated to the duke of York (who became King James II in 1685) for helping him begin his career. He entered the army in 1667 and took part in the Anglo-Dutch War of 1672-74. In 1685 he was ambassador to France, and in the same year, after returning home, he directed the suppression of the uprising by the duke of Monmouth in southern England. In 1687, because of his closeness to the Protestants, he fell into disfavor and in 1688 went over to the side of William of Orange, who became King William III. In 1690 he directed the fight against the Jacobites in Ireland, but in 1692 he made contact with them for the purpose of restoring James II; he was arrested but was acquitted.

When Anne became queen (reigned from 1702), because of the close friendship of his wife S. Jennings and his friend S. Godolphin with the queen, Marlborough played a large part in the Whig government. In 1701 he became commander of English forces on the Continent during the War of the Spanish Succession of 1701-14; he won victories at Blenheim (Hochstadt; 1704), Ramillies (1706), Oudenarde (1708), and Malplaquet (1709). In 1711, when the Tories came to power, he was removed from command and was sentenced to pay an enormous fine for embezzlement. In response, Marlborough emigrated. In 1714-16 he returned to serve the English king George I. An able military leader and diplomat, Marlborough displayed personal courage and was popular among the troops; nevertheless, he was unprincipled and mercenary.


Churchill, W. S. Marlborough, His Life and Times, vols. 1-4. London New York, 1933-38.
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