Prince Charles has been criticized for putting in a plaque that commemorates the deaths of thousands of English troops who tried to take over the Colombian city of Cartagena in the 18th century.
The ill-fated colonial venture featured Britain sending a vast fleet that included nearly 2,000 vessels and around 30,000 military personnel to try to claim Cartagena in 1741.
But the British lost 18,000 men to death of disease, and failed to capture the city.
The moment was shunted into the corners of history by King George II, who was so embarrassed by what happened that he ordered all mention removed from newspapers while destroying prematurely cast victory medals.
But the campaign is coming up again after Charles unveiled the plaque commemorating British efforts with the blessing of Cartagena’s mayor, angering some locals with the attempt to draw more British tourists from the area.
Hernando Marrugo, a tourist guide in Cartagena, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, said that he can’t believe the plaque has been put in.
“The mayor has a nerve to commemorate the deaths of 10,000 English troops. These men intended taking Cartagena and massacring our ancestors. It makes me feel bad showing the plaque to the tourists,” he told local newspaper El Heraldo, reported the Independent.
Local historian Sergio Lozano, who has called for residents to take down the plaque themselves, added: “I believe the same thing will happen – the community took it upon themselves to remove the statue in order to remain faithful to the town’s history. The community is responsible for removing the plaque.”
The plaque is right next to a statue of Admiral Don Blas de Lezo–a Colombian hero credited for leading the counter against the British forces.
Locals call the invaders “English pirates.”
Oscar Collazos, who lives in Cartagena, said through social media the plaque “paid homage to fallen English pirates, God save our city!” reported BBC.
Not everyone is against the plauque.
“We are not only paying homage to the fallen English troops but also to the people of Cartagena who lost their lives,” Sabas Pretelt de la Vega, who is a member of the body that manages the city’ historic center, said.