This introductory chapter describes the events leading up to the outbreak of war between Britain and Spain in 1739, which played out in the Caribbean. It also discusses the factors that undermined British naval operations in the West Indies, namely the distance from the source of supplies; the tropical climate, which caused all kinds of supplies to rot, including food, cordage, and timber; and the diseases that were endemic in the Caribbean. The most feared of these was yellow fever, which accounted for the death of the majority of the sailors, soldiers, and dockyard workers during the war.
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