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Scarce early plan of the Harbor of St. Louis on the Island of Hispaniola (Santa Domingo), showing the the harbor at the time it was taken by Admiral Knowles in March 1748.

Charles Knowles (1704 - 1777) was an officer of the Royal Navy, who saw service during the War of Jenkins' Ear, the War of the Austrian Succession, and the Seven Years War. He also briefly served with the Imperial Russian Navy during the Russo-Turkish War.

Knowles is best known for his exploit in the West Indies, where he commanded ships and squadrons in actions against both Spanish and French ships and settlements. Despite an active naval career that saw him rise to be Rear-Admiral of Great Britain, Knowles found time to devote to his studies, working on translations of foreign scientific studies, and developing his own inventions.

In the spring of 1746, Knowles was appointed to take over as governor of Louisbourg from Peter Warren. He sailed for his new post in March, 1746. He spent nearly two years as governor, primarily engaged in repairing and improving the defenses. He was promoted to rear-admiral in July 1747, and appointed as commander in chief of the Jamaica station. He had initially intended to take his squadron and attack Santiago de Cuba, but contrary winds led to him deciding instead to attack Fort Saint Louis de Sud.

Knowles force arrived on March 8,1748, and after subjecting the fort to a heavy bombardment forced its surrender.