James II defeated by William III, Ireland.

Event
Tuesday, 11 July, 1690
A Lost Cause: Flight of King James II after the Battle of the Boyne by Andrew Carrick Gow, 1888.(© Image, Tate Collection, Reference N01530)

The Williamite War In Ireland, the War of the Two Kings.


The River Boyne flows some 30 miles north of Dublin. It was the last natural barrier confronting King William as he marched south towards Dublin. James chose to make a stand at the River Boyne and it was the last time two crowned Kings of England, Scotland and Ireland met in battle.

William personally reconnoitred the river's crossing points and was fired on by Jacobite officers. A rumour spread that William had been killed, but the bullet had grazed his shoulder and he was reported as saying, 'The ball came close enough, but it's nothing'.

William, at 40, was an experienced battle commander and a veteran of many military campaigns. After four hours of fierce fighting, William's army established a landing force on the southern bank. James' cavalry checked its progress, but when it clung on, James ordered a retreat. His French cavalry covered his withdrawal and prevented William's army achieving a rout. The battle ended on the high ground on the south side of the Boyne. Despite James's army retiring in good order, King James fled and within days had returned to exile in France; meanwhile William marched into Dublin.

The Battle of the Boyne was fought on 1 July 1690, as in the old Julian calendar. The Gregorian calendar replaced the Julian calendar in 1752 and the date of the Battle of the Boyne was recalculated to 11 July 1690.

Above right, A Lost Cause: Flight of King James II after the Battle of the Boyne by Andrew Carrick Gow, 1888. reproduced by permission of Tate (gallery) under Creative Commons Licence CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported).

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