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July-August 2017

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Retrospect: August 24–25, 1814: Burning of Washington, D.C.

The War of 1812 pitted the fledgling United States of America against its former foe and parent country, Great Britain. It was fought mainly over trade issues and Britain's practice of impressment, or forced recruitment into service of American sailors captured at sea.

After America declared war upon the United Kingdom on June 18, 1812, a series of battles raged on both land and sea for the next two-and-a-half years. Early into the war, Britain viewed the conflict as a minor one, as most of its forces were occupied fighting Napoleon in Europe. After the invasion of France and capture of Paris in the spring of 1814, Napoleon was exiled to the Island of Elba, allowing Britain to refocus its military strength on its former American colonies. 


Contributing Editor SEAN POTTER is a Certified Consulting Meteorologist (CCM), Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM), and science writer with an interest in weather history. He currently lives in Washington, D.C.

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