For a detailed period account of Vice Admiral Edward Vernon's taking of St. Lorenzo at the mouth of the Rio Chagres in Central America, see Isaac and Edward Kimber's, 'Weekly Essay in July 1740, Admiral Vernon's Action at Chagre', The London Magazine or Gentleman's monthly intelligencer, Vol. 9, pp. 291, 341-342. In turn, the account published here is taken from the June 29th 1740 London Trade Gazette, Whitehall.
The taking and subsequent demolition of the fort at St. Lorenzo, at the mouth of the River Chagre, was considered a strategic naval victory for Britain in the struggle for control over the West Indies. Command of the confluence meant that goods traveling up river to within fifteen miles of Panama and the road to Porto Bello were now under British jurisdiction.
After a twenty-four hour bombardment, the Spanish surrendered on 24 March 1740. Captain Knowles, the newly appointed governor, along with a garrison of five lieutenants and 120 men, secured the fort. At day break the following morning Vice Admiral Vernon came ashore. As a British flag flies atop the fort, the view depicted on the present dish likely illustrates this historic moment.
Also see Louis L. Lipski and Michael Archer, Dated English Delftware, London, 1984, nos. 465-468 for a selection of plates painted with variant views of this event, including a documentary dish (no. 468) inscribed, 'The taking of Chagre in the West Indies by Admiral Vernon 1740'.
Despite a later devasting defeat in Cartagena, Admiral Vernon, a.k.a. 'Old Grog' became a popular hero, celebrated both in Britain and North America; and perhaps most famously memoralized by George Washington as the name for his plantation home, Mount Vernon.