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  1. General John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, 1st Prince of Mindelheim, 1st Count of Nellenburg, Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, KG, PC (26 May 1650 – 16 June 1722 O.S. [a]) was an English soldier and statesman. From a gentry family, he served as a page at the court of the House of Stuart under James, Duke of York, through the ...

    • Overview
    • Military career
    • Political rise and fall

    John Churchill, 1st duke of Marlborough (born May 26, 1650, Ashe, Devon, England—died June 16, 1722, Windsor, near London) one of England’s greatest generals, who led British and allied armies to important victories over Louis XIV of France, notably at Blenheim (1704), Ramillies (1706), and Oudenaarde (1708).

    John Churchill was the son of Sir Winston Churchill, member of Parliament, who possessed only a moderate property but was sufficiently influential at the court of Charles II to be able to provide for his sons there and in the armed forces. John, the eldest, advanced rapidly both at court and in the army but, marrying for love, remained throughout his life dependent upon his career in the public service for financial support.

    Churchill received a commission in the foot guards in 1667 and served at Tangier from about 1668 to 1670. In the third Dutch War (1672–74), he served with the allied fleet that was defeated at Solebay on May 28, 1672, and was promoted captain. He went with the English troops sent in December 1672 to assist Louis XIV against the Dutch and distinguished himself at Maastricht with the duke of Monmouth. He was appointed colonel of the English regiment by Louis XIV in 1674 and served with distinction at Enzheim.

    After his marriage to Sarah Jennings, an attendant upon Princess (later Queen) Anne, Churchill rose rapidly. On the accession of James II in 1685, he was made a lieutenant general and effective commander in chief, in addition to a peer of the realm. He demonstrated his political acumen by surviving the expulsion of the Roman Catholic James II in 1688, transferring his allegiance to the Dutch prince of Orange (who was to become William III, three weeks after his landing in England), having already given William assurances that he would in all circumstances stand by the Protestant religion. He was rewarded by William with the earldom of Marlborough, membership of the Privy Council, confirmation of his military rank, and a succession of commands in Flanders and in Ireland between 1689 and 1691, in which he was uniformly successful.

    Marlborough seemed on the threshold of great achievements when, suddenly, at the end of 1691, he was removed from all his appointments. The next May he was imprisoned in the Tower of London on suspicion of being implicated in the intrigues to restore James II, with the support of a French invasion to be launched from Cherbourg in the summer of that year. He was released soon afterward but remained wholly out of favour at court for three years and out of employment for the remainder of the war. Responsible contemporaries, however, never suspected him of treason. Although Marlborough certainly acted like all leading politicians of his age by making comforting assurances to the contender for the throne, as an insurance lest the regime be overthrown again, as it had been twice already in Marlborough’s lifetime, his quarrel with William did not originate in any suspicion of treason. He was dismissed, rather, because he led a substantial English faction opposed to the favours William bestowed on his Dutch associates.

    In 1701 Louis XIV made it clear that he was again intent on advancing, through war, his claims upon the now-vacant throne of Spain and the Spanish empire. William III, now a sick man and in what turned out to be the last year of his life, appointed Marlborough to be, in effect, his successor in the struggle against the ambitions of Louis XIV, to which, in England as in Holland, William had devoted his life. On her accession, Queen Anne confirmed the appointment, and Marlborough crossed to the European continent to undertake the first of 10 successive campaigns in command of the English and Dutch forces and their auxiliaries. In this first campaign he captured Kaiserswerth in 1702 and cleared the territory between the Rhine and Meuse rivers. For these services a grateful sovereign created him duke of Marlborough.

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    At home Marlborough was an important political figure whose support was indispensable to any ministry. The key to this influence lay with his wife, who had been Anne’s firm companion and guide through all the political upheavals of the past two decades. Anne, though a woman with decided views and prejudices of her own, was, for the time being, content to leave her affairs in the hands of Sarah’s husband and his friend and political ally Sidney, earl of Godolphin, whom Anne made lord treasurer and, in effect, prime minister.

    Both Marlborough and Godolphin were Tories of a traditional kind and so were staunch supporters of the crown and the court as well as of the church. They allied themselves at first with Robert Harley, later the 1st earl of Oxford, leader of a new breed of Tory hostile to the financial interests nurtured by the war. This alliance provided backing for the war against Louis XIV that produced the great victories of Blenheim and Ramillies, but increasingly, as the old Tories left the government one by one, Marlborough and Godolphin could find effective and consistent support for the war only from the Whigs. Sarah strongly advocated a Whig alliance, with the result that her influence over Anne, among whose prejudices was a strong dislike of the Whig leaders, rapidly declined. A political crisis in January 1708 resulted in Harley’s dismissal, and Marlborough and Godolphin were now entirely dependent upon the Whigs. Although Marlborough continued to win his battles, the Whigs proved unable to secure peace, and, by now weary of war, the people endorsed Anne’s dismissal of Godolphin and his Whig colleagues in the general election of 1710. Marlborough, who had already found himself increasingly isolated and without influence during the Whig predominance, was left in command of the army for another year, but when he endeavoured to take a political stand over the terms of peace being negotiated by the new government, he was dismissed in December 1711 from all his appointments after charges of misuse of public money had been made in the House of Commons. He took no further part in public life under Anne, retiring abroad when condemned by the Commons for misappropriation of public money. Although restored to favour under George I, Marlborough was already a sick man and lived in retirement up to his death.

  2. John Churchill, 1st duke of Marlborough: Nacimiento: 26 de mayo de 1650 jul. Musbury (Reino Unido) Fallecimiento: 16 de junio de 1722 jul. (72 años) Cumberland Lodge (Reino Unido) Causa de muerte: Enfermedad cerebrovascular: Sepultura: Palacio de Blenheim: Nacionalidad: Británica: Familia; Padres: Winston Churchill Elizabeth Drake: Cónyuge ...

    • John Churchill, 1st duke of Marlborough
    • Henrietta Godolphin
    • Título creado
  3. It was created by Queen Anne in 1702 for John Churchill, 1st Earl of Marlborough (1650–1722), the noted military leader. In historical texts, unqualified use of the title typically refers to the 1st Duke. The name of the dukedom refers to Marlborough in Wiltshire .

  4. John Churchill, 1st duke of Marlborough, (born May 26, 1650, Ashe, Devon, Eng.—died June 16, 1722, Windsor, near London), British military commander. He served with distinction at Maastricht (1673), was promoted rapidly, and advanced at court, in part because his wife ( see Sarah Jennings, duchess of Marlborough) was a confidant of Princess ...