Don Pacifico affair

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Henry John Temple, Lord Palmerston (1784—1865) prime minister


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An international incident provoked by the actions of a Greek mob, who in 1847 ransacked and burnt the house of Don Pacifico, a Portuguese moneylender who was also a Jew, injuring his wife and children. Pacifico, who had been born in Gibraltar and could therefore claim British nationality, demanded compensation from the Greek government. Insisting on Pacifico's rights as a British subject, the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Palmerston, took up the case in 1850 and decided to reinforce his entitlement to compensation by blockading Greece with the British fleet. He defended his action, which almost precipitated a war with France, with a masterly speech in Parliament.

Subjects: World History.

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