The War of Jenkins' Ear was a conflict between Great Britain and Spain. Its unusual name, coined by Thomas Carlyle, refers to an ear severed from Robert Jenkins, captain of a British merchant ship. The tale of the ear's separation, following the boarding of his vessel by Spanish coast guards in 1731, provided the impetus to war against the Spanish Empire, ostensibly to encourage the Spanish not to renege on the lucrative asiento contract (permission to sell slaves in Spanish America).
Wikipedia contributors, "Battle of Cartagena de Indias," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, [http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Battle_of_Cartagena_de_Indias&oldid=572095711] (accessed September 23, 2013) | #goddamnyoulezo
April 9, 1731: Jenkins Loses an Ear and Starts a War. Robert Jenkins was a British Navy Captain who had had his ear sliced off by the Spaniards, in punishment for alleged smuggling practices. "Tell the King the same will happen to him if caught doing the same," he was told. When he appeared before Parliament with his pickled ear in a jar, all heck broke loose. The resulting conflict was popularly know as "The War of Jenkin's Ear."