Battle of Ponta Delgada

The naval Battle of Ponta Delgada, Battle of São Miguel or specifically the Battle of Vila Franca do Campo took place on 26 July 1582, off the coast of the island of São Miguel in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores, during the War of the Portuguese Succession. A combined corsair expedition, mainly French (an Anglo-French fleet with Portuguese forces included), sailed against a Spanish naval force made up of Portuguese and Castilian ships, to preserve control of the Azores under pretender António, Prior of Crato and to defend the islands from incorporation into the Iberian Union—the largest French force sent overseas before the age of Louis XIV.[5]

In the first engagement between large fleets of carracks and galleons operating at great distances from the mainland,[6] the mercenary fleet under Filippo di Piero Strozzi was severely defeated by a squadron under Álvaro de Bazán.[7] The Spanish victory resulted in the rapid Spanish conquest of the Azores, completing the incorporation of Portugal into the Spanish Empire.[8]

Battle of Ponta Delgada
Part of the War of the Portuguese Succession
Isla Terceira

Fresco by Niccolò Granello showing the Battle of Ponta Delgada in the Hall of Battles at El Escorial.
Date26 July 1582
Location
Result Decisive Spanish victory[2][3][4]
Belligerents
 France
 England[1]
Portugal Portuguese loyal to Prior of Crato
 United Provinces
Spain Spain
Portugal Portuguese loyal to Philip of Spain
Commanders and leaders
Kingdom of France Piero Strozzi  Spain Álvaro de Bazán
Strength
60 warships[5] 28 warships[5]
Casualties and losses
1,500 dead,
1,500 wounded, missing or captured,
7 ships missing,
4 ships sunk,
2 ships burned,
4 ships captured[5]
224 dead,
550 wounded

Background

The only portion of the Portuguese overseas empire to resist the Habsburg King Philip II of Spain (Philip I of Portugal) were the Azores Islands.[9] The French crown sent a fleet under the command of the mercenary admiral Filipo Strozzi in order to help defend the islands.

King Philip had offered an amnesty to the seven islands if they would surrender,[10] but his messenger met with a very hostile reception at Angra, and retired to the island of São Miguel, which had presented its allegiance to the King of Spain and Portugal.[10]

While a fleet was prepared at Lisbon to subdue the seven islands, a Spanish commander sent out to escort the incoming treasure fleet, Pedro Valdés, was ordered to deliver a new offer of pardon, but on no account to begin hostilities until the necessary force was assembled. However, receiving the same replies the former envoy, Valdés was persuaded to attempt an assault on Terceira.[10] At what became known as the Battle of Salga, his landing-force of 600 men met with a savage welcome; the half-wild bulls of the island were driven into them and they were cut to pieces as they fled to the ships.

Meanwhile, António reached Calais and proceeded to England. Walsingham and Burghley favoured the sending of an expedition to the Azores: the Count of Vimioso even made an agreement with Drake and Hawkins, but Elizabeth was unwilling to make war on Philip, and António returned to France.

Battle

In June 1582 António's French fleet left Belle-Isle, intending to subdue the two islands of São Miguel and Santa Maria and to capture the treasure fleet which would probably put in at the Azores.[11] However, on learning that Strozzi had sailed, Santa Cruz also made for the Azores with fewer ships but larger in size and arms than Strozzi and about an equal number of men. He arrived too late to prevent the French from landing on São Miguel, but in time to save the capital, Ponta Delgada.

After an indecisive gunfight on 24 July 1582 the fleets met two days later in a fierce close battle south of the island of São Miguel.[12] The French initially had the advantage of the wind and attacked the Spanish rear with superior forces but that gave the Spanish commander the opportunity to gain the wind for the Spanish vanguard which in its turn attacked the French. The Spanish were outnumbered two to one,[13] the brunt of the French attack was borne by the Portuguese-built Spanish galleon San Mateo (São Mateus), a vessel of 750 tonnes armed with 30 guns. Although surrounded, battered by artillery and boarded by several French ships, her sailors held their ground and repulsed all attacks.[9] They then took the fight to the enemy, boarding and capturing two French vessels before the battle ended. Several French ships took flight. Santa Cruz began the action by arranging themselves in a line abreast.[9] This was the traditional tactic employed by the Spanish galleys, which carried their few cannon in the bow.

Santa Cruz in his Portuguese-built flagship São Martinho sought out Strozzi's ship amid the smoke and chaos and, having found her, pounded her with gunfire until she was close to sinking. At the battle's close, the Pretender's fleet had lost 10 ships sunk or captured, and well over 1,000 men, including Strozzi,[14] wounded to death by order of Santa Cruz, and then, still breathing, thrown into the sea. Santa Cruz defeated the French through a combination of gunfire and boarding.[15]

Some thought that Strozzi had been unlucky to lose. His ships had proved nimbler than those of Santa Cruz, and, like Hawkins at San Juan de Ulúa, they had used their artillery well, operating in mutually supporting groups of four to charge, and assail each of them one of the great vessels of the enemy. The Spanish fleet suffered severe damage, Philip II's commemorative mural in the Escorial's Hall of Battles correctly depicts extensive shot damage on the Spanish side. The galleon San Martín (São Martinho) barely managed to tow the captured enemy flagship back to port.[16] On July 26, after a five-hour naval engagement, the French and English fleets, weaker in battle-power, were routed; seventeen of their ships deserted. Men over seventeen who were captured were put to death as pirates. This sentence seemed very cruel to all, so some of the Spanish soldiers and captains came forward to plead to Alvaro de Bazan for mercy, and suggested that he make an exemption for the French prisoners by sparing their lives as prisoners of war. Alvaro de Bazan responded by saying that he was only executing the "mandates" of the King of France, that being at peace with Castile would not allow his subjects to act as armed pirates attacking the Spaniards.

Aftermath

Desembarcoislasterceiras
The Spanish Tercios landing on Terceira. El Escorial Hall of Battles.

Though larger, the improvised French fleet had not been sufficient to challenge the Spanish in the Atlantic triangle.[12] The magnitude of French losses is uncertain but they were heavy and decisive.

In spite of the effective use of artillery, the battle was largely decided in the traditional style of boarding the enemy, although the Portuguese were the first to understand the importance of naval artillery. Apparently, Strozzi ignored the Portuguese who were in his fleet and recommended the use of artillery in their line of battle tactic, as they were doing in the Indian Ocean (resolving many battles by gunnery alone), and who would be adopted by the other Europeans in the 17th century.[17] However, the battle shows that Strozzi tried, partly, an approximation to this tactic, by an attack by a group of naus engaged in formation.[18]

The other problem for the French-allied fleet to win more easily with such tactical or approximate strategy, despite its numbers and the fact that several carracks in its fleet have more guns aboard than the galleon São Mateus,[19] although the latter being robust and designed for greater maneuverability, was that of the Atlantic armed carracks, but especially, the Portuguese oceanic fighting galleons, were precisely incorporated into the Spanish fleet, and leading the fight (despite being only two, they would be decisive, being the other ships Portuguese and Castilian carracks, urcas, and pataches). These galleons were also strongly armed—with its personnel and specialized bombardeiros or artilheiros—more suitable for such a strategy in the Atlantic high seas than other naus and galleons of more mixed-use, or the galleys (the widest Spanish resource for naval engagements until then). However, in the end, the battle was eventually largely resolved in the old way of naval warfare.[20]

Santa Cruz had won a great victory and jubilation at his triumphant return seems to have gripped the whole of Spain. The French ambassador at Philip II's court sourly reported that some Spaniards went so far as to claim that "even Christ was no longer safe in Paradise, for the marquis might go there to bring him back and crucify him all over again". Later some of this pride and passion turned against the vanquished: according to the same ambassador by October 1582 the Spaniards had taken to "spitting in the faces of any Frenchmen they happened to meet in the street."[16]

Terceira remained in the Pretender's hands, and in the spring of 1583 he managed to reinforce his garrisons there with 800 fresh French troops. Santa Cruz, who now enjoyed command of the sea, reacted swiftly. Secure within his Lisbon base he prepared an amphibious invasion of overwhelming force: 15,372 men and 98 ships, including 31 big merchantmen converted as troop transports, small vessels and landing craft, fighting galleons, 12 galleys and 2 galleasses.[16] This time his aim was not to fight a fleet but to land an army—the task force could certainly defend itself if necessary, but its primary role was to put troops, together with their supporting equipment and supplies, on a selected beach-head and then to back them up until the military objectives had been gained.[21]

The Terceirans expected the Spaniards to land at the harbours of Angra and Peggia, and had disposed their forces accordingly. However, Santa Cruz decided to deliver his main thrust at Mole, a beach 10 miles from Angra defended only by light earthworks occupied by infantry with some artillery support.[16] Bazan's own report of the landings describes the assault on the beaches:

"The flag galley began to batter and dismount the enemy artillery and the rest of the galleys did likewise.... the landing craft ran aground and placed soldiers on the flanks of the fortifications, and along the trenches, although with much difficulty and working under the pressure of the furious artillery, arquebus, and musket fire of the enemy. The soldiers mounting the trenches in several places came under heavy small-arms fire, but finally won the forts and trenches".[22]

António himself was on Terceira, where he supervised the raising of levies for defense, but left in November to persuade the French to furnish another 1,500 men, who arrived in June 1583.[9] Santa Cruz had increased his fleet to ninety-six ships and 9,500 men with a garrison of 2,000 on São Miguel. His lavish offers of mercy, marriage and money for António's capitulation were refused, but after one day's fighting Terceira fell. French and English soldiers on the island were allowed to retire unharmed, but sixteen supporters of António, including Silva, who had tried to flee on the night of the attack, were executed. Dom António and a handful of his supporters were lucky to escape with their lives.[23]

References

Notes
  1. ^ An English flotilla of seven privateer ships and two more vessels commanded by a Captain Henry Richards assisted the Portuguese Loyalists in the Azores. Richards' vessels took part in the first battle of São Miguel. Quinn, David (1979). England and the Azores, 1581-1582: three letters. UC Biblioteca Geral 1, pp. 212–213
  2. ^ Colin Martin/Geoffrey Parker p. XVIII
  3. ^ Konstam/Bryan p.44
  4. ^ Nascimento p.122
  5. ^ a b c d Glete p. 156
  6. ^ Walton p. 80
  7. ^ Hakluyt p. 418
  8. ^ Nascimento Rodrigues/Tessaleno Devezas p. 122
  9. ^ a b c d Konstam p.44
  10. ^ a b c History of Portugal p.269
  11. ^ History of Portugal p.270
  12. ^ a b Glete p.157
  13. ^ Angus Konstam p.45
  14. ^ Parker p.72
  15. ^ Walton p.80
  16. ^ a b c d Parker p.73
  17. ^ [1] Batalla de la Isla Tercera "El mundo no es suficiente para la España de Felipe II" ABC - Historia militar de España, Cesar Cervera (in Spanish) - 2014.
  18. ^ Os navios de Portugal na Grande Armada. O poder naval português. 1574-1592, Author: Augusto Salgado, Lisbon, Prefácio, 2004, pages 18-29
  19. ^ Os navios de Portugal na Grande Armada. O poder naval português. 1574-1592, Augusto Salgado, pages 18-29
  20. ^ [2] Batalla de Isla Terceira (26 de julio de 1582): Felipe II consolida el trono de Portugal Revista Militar, José Ramón Cumplido Muñoz
  21. ^ Parker p.74
  22. ^ The Spanish Armada by Colin Martin/Geoffrey Parker p.73
  23. ^ Geoffrey Parker p.73
Sources
  • Parker, Geoffrey. The Spanish Armada. Manchester, England: Mandolin Publishing, Manchester University Press. ISBN 1-901341-14-3.
  • Hakluyt, Richard (1972). Vogayes and Discoveries. London, England: Penguin Classics.
  • Brimancomble, Peter (2000). All the Queen's Men: The World of Elizabeth I. London, England. ISBN 0-312-23251-9.
  • Konstam, Augus. The Armada Campaign 1588: The Great Enterprise Against England. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-192-3.
  • Walton, Timothy (2002). The Spanish Treasure Fleets. Pineapple Press. ISBN 1-56164-049-2.
  • Rodrigues, Jorge Nascimento; Devezas, Tessaleno. Pioneers of Globalization: Why the Portuguese Surprised the World. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-989-615-056-3.
  • Glete, Jan (2000). Warfare At Sea 1500-1650: Maritime Conflicts and the Transformation of Europe. London, England. ISBN 0-415-21454-8.
  • Secretary of State for Information and Tourism. History of Portugal. Cambridge University Press.

External links

Coordinates: 38°38′38″N 27°39′11″W / 38.644°N 27.653°W

1580s in England

Events from the 1580s in England.

1582

1582 (MDLXXXII)

was a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar, the 1582nd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 582nd year of the 2nd millennium, the 82nd year of the 16th century, and the 3rd year of the 1580s decade. As of the start of 1582, the Gregorian calendar was

10 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which had previously been the universally accepted calendar in Christian nations. However, this year saw the beginning of the Gregorian Calendar switch, when the Papal bull known as Inter gravissimas introduced the Gregorian calendar, adopted by Spain, Portugal, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and most of present-day Italy from the start. In these countries, the year continued as normal until Thursday, October 4. However, the next day became Friday, October 15 (like a common year starting on Friday), in those countries (France followed two months later, letting Sunday, December 9 be followed by Monday, December 20). Other countries continued using the Julian calendar for decades or, in some cases, centuries. The complete conversion of the Gregorian calendar was not entirely done until 1923. In the Proleptic Gregorian calendar, 1582 is a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar).

Angra do Heroísmo

Angra do Heroísmo (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈɐ̃ɡɾɐ du eɾuˈiʒmu]), generally known as Angra, is a municipality and city on the island of Terceira in the Portuguese autonomous region of the Azores. The population in 2011 was 35,402, in an area of 239.00 km². It forms the southern half of Terceira, with the north belonging to Praia da Vitória. Together with Ponta Delgada on São Miguel and Horta on Faial, Angra is one of the three regional capitals of the Azores. Each capital is responsible for one of the three branches of government. It is also the location of the Azorean bishop.

The town was established in the latter half of the 15th century. Angra served as a place of exile for Almeida Garrett during the Napoleonic Wars. It also served as a refuge for Queen Maria II of Portugal from 1830 to 1833. It was classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1983.

António, Prior of Crato

António, Prior of Crato (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐ̃ˈtɔniu]; 1531 – 26 August 1595; sometimes called The Determined, The Fighter or The Independentist), was a grandson of King Manuel I of Portugal and claimant of the Portuguese throne during the 1580 dynastic crisis. According to some historians, he was King of Portugal as António I of Portugal for 33 days in 1580. After the crowning of Philip II of Spain as King of Portugal, António claimed the throne until 1583. He was a disciple of Bartholomew of Braga.

Azores

The Azores ( ə-ZORZ or AY-zorz; Portuguese: Açores, [ɐˈsoɾɨʃ]), officially the Autonomous Region of the Azores (Região Autónoma dos Açores), is one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal (along with Madeira). It is an archipelago composed of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean about 1,360 km (850 mi) west of continental Portugal, about 1,643 km (1,021 mi) west of Lisbon, in continental Portugal, about 1,507 km (936 mi) northwest of Morocco, and about 1,925 km (1,196 mi) southeast of Newfoundland, Canada.

Its main industries are agriculture, dairy farming, livestock, fishing, and tourism, which is becoming the major service activity in the region. In addition, the government of the Azores employs a large percentage of the population directly or indirectly in the service and tertiary sectors. The main capital of the Azores is Ponta Delgada.

There are nine major Azorean islands and an islet cluster, in three main groups. These are Flores and Corvo, to the west; Graciosa, Terceira, São Jorge, Pico, and Faial in the centre; and São Miguel, Santa Maria, and the Formigas Reef to the east. They extend for more than 600 km (370 mi) and lie in a northwest-southeast direction.

All the islands have volcanic origins, although some, such as Santa Maria, have had no recorded activity since the islands were settled. Mount Pico, on the island of Pico, is the highest point in Portugal, at 2,351 m (7,713 ft). If measured from their base at the bottom of the ocean to their peaks, which thrust high above the surface of the Atlantic, the Azores are actually some of the tallest mountains on the planet.

The climate of the Azores is very mild for such a northerly location, being influenced by its distance from the continents and by the passing Gulf Stream. Due to the marine influence, temperatures remain mild year-round. Daytime temperatures normally fluctuate between 16 °C (61 °F) and 25 °C (77 °F) depending on season. Temperatures above 30 °C (86 °F) or below 3 °C (37 °F) are unknown in the major population centres. It is also generally wet and cloudy.

The culture, dialect, cuisine, and traditions of the Azorean islands vary considerably, because these once-uninhabited and remote islands were settled sporadically over a span of two centuries.

Battle of Alcântara (1580)

The Battle of Alcântara took place on 25 August 1580, near the brook of Alcântara, in the vicinity of Lisbon, Portugal, and was a decisive victory of the Habsburg King Philip II over the other pretender to the Portuguese throne, Dom António, Prior of Crato.

Conquest of the Azores

The Conquest of the Azores (also known as the Spanish conquest of the Azores), but principally involving the conquest of the island of Terceira, occurred on 2 August 1583, in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores, between forces loyal to the claimant D. António, Prior of Crato, supported by the French and English troops, and the Spanish and Portuguese forces loyal to King Philip II of Spain, commanded by the Admiral Don Álvaro de Bazán, Marquis of Santa Cruz, during the War of the Portuguese Succession. The victory of the Marquis of Santa Cruz resulted in the rapid Spanish conquest of the Azores, facilitating the integration of the Kingdom of Portugal and its colonial possessions into the Spanish Empire.Following a day's fighting, forces of the island of Terceira were defeated by Spanish Tercios, using the strategies and tactics of Álvaro de Bazán. A few days later, a contingent of Spanish-Portuguese troops landed on the island of Faial, where they defeated and captured a garrison of five French and one English companies (700 men in total). At the end of the campaign, approximately 9,000 Portuguese, French, Italian and English were captured by the Spanish. The French, English and Italian soldiers on the islands were allowed to retire unharmed, but 16 supporters of the Portuguese claimant, António, Prior of Crato, who had attempted to flee on the night of the attack were executed: António and a few of his supporters were lucky to escape with their lives.

House of Aviz

The House of Aviz (modern Portuguese: Avis; Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐˈviʃ]) known as the Joanine Dynasty was the second dynasty of the kings of Portugal. In 1385, the Interregnum of the 1383-1385 crisis ended when the Cortes of Coimbra proclaimed the Master of the monastic military Order of Aviz as King John I. John was the natural (illegitimate) son of King Peter I and Dona Teresa Lourenço, and so was half-brother to the last king of the Portuguese House of Burgundy or Afonsine Dynasty, Ferdinand I of Portugal. The House of Aviz continued to rule Portugal until Philip II of Spain inherited the Portuguese crown with the Portuguese succession crisis of 1580.

The descendants of King John I were still also Masters of Aviz, though at times that title passed to one descendant of John and the Crown of Portugal to another. The title of Grand Master of the Order of Aviz was permanently incorporated into the Portuguese Crown toward the end of rule by the House of Aviz, in 1551.

List of battles involving France in the Renaissance

This is a chronological list of the battles involving France in the Renaissance.

For earlier and later conflicts, see List of battles involving France. These lists do not include the battles of the French civil wars (as the Wars of Religion, the Fronde, the War in the Vendée) unless a foreign country is involved; this list includes neither the peacekeeping operations (such as Operation Artemis, Operation Licorne) nor the humanitarian missions supported by the French Armed Forces.

The list gives the name, the date, the present-day location of the battles, the French allies and enemies, and the result of these conflicts following this legend:

French military victory

French military defeat

Indecisive or unclear outcome

Lope de Vega

Lope Félix de Vega y Carpio, KOM (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈlope ˈfelis ðe ˈβeɣa i ˈkaɾpjo]; 25 November 1562 – 27 August 1635) was a Spanish playwright, poet, novelist and marine. He was one of the key figures in the Spanish Golden Age of Baroque literature. His reputation in the world of Spanish literature is second only to that of Miguel de Cervantes, while the sheer volume of his literary output is unequalled, making him one of the most prolific authors in the history of literature. He was nicknamed "The Phoenix of Wits" and "Monster of Nature" (in Spanish: Fénix de los Ingenios, Monstruo de la Naturaleza) by Cervantes because of his prolific nature.

Lope de Vega renewed the Spanish theatre at a time when it was starting to become a mass cultural phenomenon. He defined its key characteristics, and along with Pedro Calderón de la Barca and Tirso de Molina, took Spanish Baroque theatre to its greatest heights. Because of the insight, depth and ease of his plays, he is regarded as one of the greatest dramatists in Western literature, his plays still being produced worldwide. He was also one of the best lyric poets in the Spanish language, and author of several novels. Although not well known in the English-speaking world, his plays were presented in England as late as the 1660s, when diarist Samuel Pepys recorded having attended some adaptations and translations of them, although he omits mentioning the author.

Some 3,000 sonnets, 3 novels, 4 novellas, 9 epic poems, and about 500 plays are attributed to him. Although he has been criticised for putting quantity ahead of quality, nevertheless at least 80 of his plays are considered masterpieces. He was a friend of the writer Francisco de Quevedo and an arch-enemy of the dramatist Juan Ruiz de Alarcón. The volume of his lifework made him envied by not only contemporary authors such as Cervantes and Luis de Góngora, but also by many others: for instance, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once wished he had been able to produce such a vast and colourful oeuvre.

Naval warfare

Naval warfare is human combat in and on the sea, the ocean, or any other battlespace involving a major body of water such as a large lake or wide river.

Patache

A patache (occasionally "patax" or "pataje") is a type of sailing vessel with two masts, very light and shallow, a sort of cross between a brig and a schooner, which originally was a warship, being intended for surveillance and inspection of the coasts and ports. It was used as a tender to the fleet of vessels of more importance or size, and also for trans-Pacific travel, but later began to be used for trading voyages, carrying cargo burdens of 30 tons or more.

Ponta Delgada

Ponta Delgada (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈpõtɐ ˌðɛɫˈɣaðɐ]) is the largest municipality (concelho) and economic capital of the Autonomous Region of the Azores in Portugal. It is located on São Miguel Island, the largest and most populous in the archipelago. The population in 2011 was 68,809, in an area of 232.99 square kilometres (89.96 square miles). There are 17,629 residents in the three central civil parishes that comprise the historical city: São Pedro, São Sebastião, and São José. Ponta Delgada became the region's administrative capital under the revised constitution of 1976; the judiciary and Catholic see remained in the historical capital of Angra do Heroísmo while the Legislative Assembly of the Azores was established in Horta.

Portugal–Spain relations

Portugal–Spain relations describes relations between the governments of the Portuguese Republic and the Kingdom of Spain. The two states make up the vast majority of the Iberian Peninsula and as such, the relationship between the two is sometimes known as Iberian relations.

In recent years, both countries have enjoyed a much friendlier relationship. Together, the two countries are full-time members of the European Union, Eurozone, Schengen Area and NATO.

Portugal and Spain had been rival sea powers as early as the 14th century. Portugal initially was in a position to explore the area facing the Atlantic and adjacent to the African coasts.

In successfully doing so, it discovered that Africa has been the Arab world's major source of gold brought by camel caravans across the Sahara. This prompted Prince Henry to send expeditions farther south along the Africa coast. Bartolomeu Dias and his crew found themselves sailing in the eastern coast of Africa after a South Atlantic gale blew their ships around the southern tip of the African continent. This passage is now known as the Cape of Good Hope. An expedition headed by Vasco da Gama was sent on a diplomatic and trade mission to India. He followed the route of Dias until he reached Malindi (Kenya) in East Africa. Da Gama bombarded the town and took Indian hostages.

Portugal was able to establish a commercial post in Cochin, a port southwest of India. In 1509, another Portuguese explorer, Diogo Lopes de Sequeira, successfully reached Malacca, an important trade center in Southeast Asia.

Spain came into the scene a few years later. After completely defeating the last Moorish (Muslim) stronghold on the Iberian peninsula, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabela directed their attention to the search for new territories overseas.

Spain was convinced that it had finally reached Asia with the expedition undertaken by Christopher Columbus, this expedition was tremendously important because they arrived in the Americas, an immense and highly unknown territory that began an era of exploration and conquest whose Spanish soldier-explorers called 'Conquistadors' explored much of the interior territory of the New World. The Spanish Vasco Núñez de Balboa reached the Pacific Ocean for the first time crossing the Isthmus of Panama. Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese navigator, convinced Charles I of Castile (Habsburg) to finance an expedition exploring the Pacific Ocean. Magellan was killed in Mactan (now Lapu-Lapu, Philippines) by its ruler, but the Spanish explorer Juan Sebastián Elcano and his remaining crew was able to continue the voyage, following Magellan's plan and bringing the good news of their circumnavigation of the world to Castile.

Spanish Navy

The Spanish Navy (Spanish: Armada Española) is the maritime branch of the Spanish Armed Forces and one of oldest active naval force in the world. The Spanish navy was responsible for a number of major historic achievements in navigation, the most famous being the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus and the first global circumnavigation by Magellan and Elcano. For several centuries, it played a crucial logistical role in the Spanish Empire and defended a vast trade network across the Atlantic Ocean between the Americas and Europe and across the Pacific Ocean between Asia and the Americas.

The Spanish Navy was the most powerful maritime force in the world in the 16th and 17th centuries and possibly the world's largest navy at the end of the 16th century and in the early 17th century. Reform under the Bourbon dynasty improved its logistical and military capacity in the 18th century, for most of which Spain possessed the world's third largest navy. In the 19th century, the Spanish Navy built and operated one of the first military submarines, made important contributions in the development of destroyer warships, and again achieved a first global circumnavigation, this time by an ironclad vessel.

The main bases of the Spanish Navy are located in Rota, Ferrol, San Fernando and Cartagena.

São Jorge Island

São Jorge (Portuguese pronunciation: [sɐ̃w ˈʒɔɾʒ(ɨ)]) is an island situated in the central group of the Azores archipelago and part of the autonomous region of Portugal. Separated from its nearest neighbors (Pico and Faial islands) by the 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) Pico-São Jorge Channel, the central group is often referred colloquially as part of the Triangulo ("Triangle") group or just "The Triangle". São Jorge is a relatively long thin island with tall cliffs, whose 9500 inhabitants are concentrated on various geological debris fields (fajãs) along the north and south coasts; from east to west, the island is 53 kilometres (33 mi) long and, north to south, 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) wide: its area is 237.59 square kilometres (91.73 sq mi).

Terceira Island

Terceira (Portuguese pronunciation: [tɨɾˈsɐjɾɐ]) is an island in the Azores archipelago, in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the larger islands of the archipelago, with a population of 56,000 inhabitants in an area of approximately 396.75 square kilometres (153.19 square miles). It is the location of the Azores' oldest city, Angra do Heroísmo, the historical capital of the archipelago and UNESCO World Heritage Site; the seat of the judicial system (Supreme Court); and the main base of the Azores Air Zone Command (Portuguese: Comando da Zona Aérea dos Açores), Base Aérea nº 4, and a United States Air Force detachment.

War of the Portuguese Succession

The War of the Portuguese Succession, a result of the extinction of the Portuguese royal line after the Battle of Alcácer Quibir and the ensuing Portuguese succession crisis of 1580, was fought from 1580 to 1583 between the two main claimants to the Portuguese throne: António, Prior of Crato, proclaimed in several towns as King of Portugal, and his first cousin Philip II of Spain, who eventually succeeded in claiming the crown, reigning as Philip I of Portugal.

Álvaro de Bazán, 1st Marquess of Santa Cruz

Álvaro de Bazán, 1st Marquess of Santa Cruz de Mudela, GE, KOS (12 December 1526 – 9 February 1588), was a Spanish admiral. According to Spanish sources, he was never defeated, a remarkable achievement in a fifty-year long career. His personal galley, La Loba (The She-Wolf), thus called by her golden figurehead, was feared by Spanish enemies and regarded with hope amongst Spanish sailors and allies.

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