This picture commemorates Lord Rodney's victory over the French fleet off Guadeloupe on 12th April 1782. Towards the end of the American War of Independence, by which time both France and Spain had allied themselves to the colonists' cause in the hope of gaining territory at England's expense, the French campaign in the Caribbean had already been disturbingly successful. When, in the spring of 1782, the French made ready to mount an offensive against Jamaica, Admiral Lord Rodney realised that a full-scale fleet action was his only means of stopping them. The French fleet, under the Comte de Grasse, weighed from Fort Royal, Martinique, on 8 April; Rodney intercepted it and a partial engagement took place the following day. De Grasse initially seemed to have the advantage but soon lost it and the battle developed into a running fight which lasted three days. On the morning of 12 April, Rodney brought the French to action off Les Saintes, a group of small islands in the channel between Guadeloupe and Dominica. Initially adopting the traditional strategy, Rodney then bewildered the French by piercing their line of battle in two places and threw them into utter confusion. Before long their flagship, the 104-gun Ville de Paris, was surrounded and forced to strike her colours, and even though a number of ships managed to escape the battle, it was nevertheless a decisive defeat for the French which saved the valuable island of Jamaica from invasion.