The battle of Cape Celidonia took place on 14 July 1616 during the Ottoman-Habsburg struggle for the control of the Mediterranean when a small Spanish fleet under the command of Francisco de Rivera y Medina cruising off Cyprus was attacked by an Ottoman fleet that vastly outnumbered it. Despite this, the Spanish ships, mostly galleons, managed to repel the Ottomans, whose fleet consisted mainly of galleys, inflicting heavy losses.
Cyprus, officially the Cypriot Republic, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel, north of Egypt, and southeast of Greece.
Galleons were large, multi-decked sailing ships first used by the Spanish as armed cargo carriers and later adopted by other European states from the 16th to 18th centuries during the age of sail and were the principal fleet units drafted for use as warships until the Anglo-Dutch Wars of the mid-1600s. Galleons generally carried three or more masts with a lateen fore-and-aft rig on the rear masts, were carvel built with a prominent squared off raised stern, and used square-rigged sail plans on their fore-mast and main-masts.
A galley is a type of ship that is propelled mainly by rowing. The galley is characterized by its long, slender hull, shallow draft and low freeboard. Virtually all types of galleys had sails that could be used in favorable winds, but human strength was always the primary method of propulsion. This allowed galleys to navigate independently of winds and currents. The galley originated among the seafaring civilizations around the Mediterranean Sea in the late second millennium BC and remained in use in various forms until the early 19th century in warfare, trade and piracy.
In mid-1616 a Spanish fleet under the command of Captain Don Francisco de Rivera y Medina sailed from the Spanish Kingdom of Sicily to Eastern Mediterranean waters in order to undertake privateering against Ottoman vessels and ports in the area between Cyprus and the region of Çukurova. It was composed of 5 galleons and a patache. These ships were the 52-gun Concepción, flagship of Rivera; the 34-gun Almirante, commanded by alférez Serrano; the 27-gun Buenaventura, under Don Ínigo de Urquiza; the 34-gun Carretina, commanded by Balmaseda; the 30-gun San Juan Bautista, commanded by Juan Cereceda; and the 14-gun patache Santiago under Gazarra. Aboard the ships were about 1,600 Spanish soldiers, of whom 1,000 were musketeers.
The Kingdom of Sicily was a state that existed in the south of the Italian peninsula and for a time the region of Ifriqiya from its founding by Roger II in 1130 until 1816. It was a successor state of the County of Sicily, which had been founded in 1071 during the Norman conquest of the southern peninsula. The island was divided into three regions: Val di Mazara, Val Demone and Val di Noto; 'val' being the Arabic word meaning 'district'.
The Eastern Mediterranean denotes the countries geographically to the east of the Mediterranean Sea. The Eastern Mediterranean populations share not only geographic position but also cuisine, certain customs and a long, intertwined history.
A privateer is a private person or ship that engages in maritime warfare under a commission of war. The commission, also known as a letter of marque, empowers the person to carry on all forms of hostility permissible at sea by the usages of war, including attacking foreign vessels during wartime and taking them as prizes. Historically, captured ships were subject to condemnation and sale under prize law, with the proceeds divided between the privateer sponsors, shipowners, captains and crew. A percentage share usually went to the issuer of the commission. Since robbery under arms was once common to seaborne trade, all merchant ships were already armed. During war, naval resources were auxiliary to operations on land so privateering was a way of subsidizing state power by mobilizing armed ships and sailors.
The Spanish fleet sailed to the island of Cyprus, then under Ottoman rule, where Francisco de Rivera ordered that land be sighted prior to initiating of the cruise. During the mission 16 merchant caramoussals were captured by Rivera's fleet off Cape Celidonia, as well as an English privateer in Famagusta and a large number of minor vessels at sea.In addition, ten warships were sunk or burnt in the port of Salinas, whose defenses were also destroyed by a landing party which suffered no loss. The Ottoman governor of Cyprus, who had been rapidly informed regarding the Spanish activities, called for help from the Ottoman navy. Rivera, warned of the relief force thanks to the capture of a merchant vessel coming from Constantinople, decided to wait for his pursuers off Cape Celidonia in order to return to Sicily with a great victory. A Turkish fleet of 55 galleys with about 275 guns and 12,000 fighting men on board appeared off the cape few days later, on 14 July.
A Caramoussal is a high-pooped historical trading and naval ship of the Ottoman Navy. They were particularly active in the 17th century Ottoman Empire.
The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 927, when it emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Famagusta is a city on the east coast of Cyprus. It is located east of Nicosia and possesses the deepest harbour of the island. During the medieval period, Famagusta was the island's most important port city and a gateway to trade with the ports of the Levant, from where the Silk Road merchants carried their goods to Western Europe. The old walled city and parts of the modern city presently fall within the de facto Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in Gazimağusa District, of which it is the capital.
The battle began at 9 am when the Ottoman galleys moved toward the Spanish ships and opened fire. Previously they had formed up into a huge crescent, designed to encircle the Spanish ships. To avoid his ships becoming separated and overwhelmed individually in the light wind conditions, de Rivera ordered his ships join each other end to end with chains. The Concepción stood at the vanguard, being followed by the Carretina, the Almiranta, and the patache Santiago. The other two ships remained on standby. Their heavy artillery fire kept the Turkish vessels at bay until sunset. The attackers then withdrew to their initial positions with eight galleys about to sink and many others damaged.
The attack was resumed the next morning, when, after a night war council, the Ottomans attacked in two groups which separately attempted to capture the Capitana (or flagship) and the Amiranta (or secondary ship). After approaching inside the range of the Spanish muskets, the galleys were subjected to the heavy gunfire of the entire Spanish flotilla. Unable to board the Spanish ships, the Ottoman force withdrew in the evening with another 10 galleys heeling over.
A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships, characteristically a flag officer entitled by custom to fly a distinguishing flag. Used more loosely, it is the lead ship in a fleet of vessels, typically the first, largest, fastest, most heavily armed, or best known.
A musket is a muzzle-loaded long gun that appeared as a smoothbore weapon in the early 16th century, at first as a heavier variant of the arquebus, capable of penetrating heavy armor. By the mid-16th century, this type of musket went out of use as heavy armor declined, but as the matchlock became standard, the term musket continued as the name given for any long gun with a flintlock, and then its successors, all the way through the mid-1800s. This style of musket was retired in the 19th century when rifled muskets became common as a result of cartridged breech-loading firearms introduced by Casimir Lefaucheux in 1835, the invention of the Minié ball by Claude-Étienne Minié in 1849, and the first reliable repeating rifle produced by Volcanic Repeating Arms in 1854. By the time that repeating rifles became common, they were known as simply "rifles", ending the era of the musket.
That night a new council of war took place during which the Turks decided to resume the action at dawn. After a speech that boosted their morale, the Ottomans attacked with great resolve and managed to approach Rivera's flagship from a more favorable angle in order to exploit her blind spot. Nevertheless, the Spanish commander, who had foreseen such a possibility, ordered that the Santiago move to his ship's bow. This maneuver exposed the Turkish galleys to more heavy gunfire which inflicted severe damage, finally forcing the Ottoman force to withdraw at 3:00 pm with another galley sunk, two dismasted and 17 others severely damaged or heeling over.
The Turkish fleet suffered heavy losses, with 10 galleys sunk and another 23 disabled. 1,200 Janissaries and 2,000 sailors and rowers were killed.The Spanish, suffered 34 dead and 93 wounded as well as damage to the rigging of the Concepción and the Santiago, which had to be towed by the other ships. For his success Rivera was promoted to Admiral by King Philip III, who also rewarded him with the habit of the Order of Santiago. The soldiers and sailors of the fleet were also recognized by the Duke of Osuna. Some time later the Spanish playwright and poet Don Luís Vélez de Guevara wrote the comedy "El asombro de Turquía y valiente toledano" ("the wonder of Turkey and the courageous Toledoan") to commemorate the battle.
The Battle of Gibraltar took place on 10 August 1621 during the Eighty Years' War. A Dutch VOC fleet, escorted by Haultain's squadron was intercepted and defeated by nine ships of Spain's Atlantic fleet Armada del Mar Océano, under Fadrique de Toledo, while crossing the Strait of Gibraltar.
The Siege of Castelnuovo was an engagement during the Ottoman-Habsburg struggle for control of the Mediterranean, which took place in July 1539 in the walled town of Castelnuovo, present-day Herceg Novi, Montenegro. Castelnuovo had been conquered by elements of various Spanish tercios the year before during the failed campaign of the Holy League against the Ottoman Empire in Eastern Mediterranean waters. The walled town was besieged by land and sea by a powerful Ottoman army under Hayreddin Barbarossa, who offered an honorable surrender to the defenders. These terms were rejected by the Spanish commanding officer Francisco de Sarmiento and his captains even though they knew that the Holy League's fleet, defeated at the Battle of Preveza, could not relieve them. During the siege Barbarossa's army suffered heavy losses due to the stubborn resistance of Sarmiento's men. However, Castelnuovo eventually fell into Ottoman hands and almost all the Spanish defenders, including Sarmiento, were killed. The loss of the town ended the Christian attempt to regain control of the Eastern Mediterranean. The courage displayed by the Old Tercio of Naples during this last stand, however, was praised and admired throughout Europe and was the subject of numerous poems and songs.
The Battle of Orbetello, also known as the Battle of Isola del Giglio, was a major naval engagement of the Franco-Spanish War of 1635. It was fought on 14 June 1646 off the Spanish-ruled town of Orbetello, on the coast of Tuscany, Italy, between a French fleet led by Admiral Armand de Maillé, Marquis of Brézé, and a Spanish fleet commanded by Miguel de Noronha, 4th Count of Linhares sent to break the blockade of Orbetello and relieve the town, besieged since 12 May by a French army under the command of Prince Thomas of Savoy. The Battle of Orbetello was tactically very unusual, since it was fought by sailing ships towed by galleys in a light breeze.
The battle of Alboran took place on 1 October 1540 off the isle of Alboran during the Ottoman-Habsburg struggle for the control of the Mediterranean when a Spanish fleet under the command of Bernardino de Mendoza destroyed an Ottoman fleet commanded by Ali Hamet, sinking a galley and capturing 10 other ships.
The capture of Mahdia was an amphibious military operation that took place from June to September, 1550, during the struggle between the Ottoman Empire and the Spanish Habsburgs for the control of the Mediterranean. A Spanish naval expedition under the command of the Genoese condottiero and admiral Andrea Doria and the Spaniard Bernardino de Mendoza, supported by the Knights of Malta under their Grand Master Claude de la Sengle, besieged and captured the Ottoman stronghold of Mahdia or Mahdiye, defended by the Ottoman Admiral Turgut Reis, known as Dragut, who was using the place as a base for his piratical activities throughout the Spanish and Italian coasts. Mahdia was abandoned by Spain three years later, and all its fortifications were demolished to avoid a re-occupation of the city by the Ottomans.
Between April and June 1563 the Regency of Algiers launched a major military campaign to retake the Spanish military-bases of Oran and Mers el Kébir on the North African coast, occupied by Spain since 1505. The sieges of Oran and Mers El Kébir of 1563 represented a major Hispano-Algerian episode in the larger Ottoman-Habsburg wars of the Mediterranean. The kingdom of Algiers, the principalities of Kabyle and other vassal tribes combined forces as one army under Hasan Pasha, son of Hayreddin Barbarossa, and Jafar Catania. The Spanish commander brothers, Alonso de Córdoba Count of Alcaudete and Martín de Córdoba, managed to hold the strongholds of Oran and Mers El Kébir, respectively, until the relief fleet of Francisco de Mendoza arrived to successfully defeat the offensive.
The Battle of Cape St Vincent of 1641 took place on 4 November 1641 when a Spanish fleet commanded by Don Juan Alonso de Idiáquez y Robles intercepted a Dutch fleet led by Artus Gijsels during the Eighty Years' War. After a fierce battle two Dutch ships were lost but the Dutch claimed only a hundred of their men were killed; the Spanish fleet also lost two ships but over a thousand dead. The damaged Dutch fleet was forced to abandon its planned attack on the Spanish treasure fleet.
The Battle of Pinos was a naval engagement between a Spanish fleet under Admiral Bernardino Delgadillo y Avellaneda and the surviving ships of Francis Drake's expedition to the Spanish West Indies, now in command of Drake's lieutenant, Sir Thomas Baskerville, which took place off the Island of Pinos during the Anglo-Spanish war of 1585. The Spanish squadron was victorious, capturing two English ships.
The 2nd Bombardment of Algiers took place between 12 and 21 July 1784. A joint Spanish-Neapolitan-Maltese-Portuguese fleet commanded by the experienced Spanish Admiral Antonio Barceló bombarded the city, which was the main base of the Barbary corsairs, with the aim of forcing them to interrupt their activities. Massive damage and casualties were inflicted to the Algerians, while the loss aboard the allied fleet was low. The Dey of Algiers refused to start negotiations immediately but the fear of a third planned expedition under José de Mazarredo convinced him to negotiate a peace with the Spanish by which he was forced to cease large-scale piracy, signalling the effective end of the Barbary privateering until the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars.
The Action of 12–17 January 1640 was a naval battle between a Dutch fleet and a combined Spanish-Portuguese fleet during the Eighty Years' War. The battle took place on the Brazilian coast off Pernambuco and was an attempt by a fleet consisting of approximately eighty vessels transporting about 5,000 soldiers under the command of Portuguese Admiral Fernando de Mascarenhas to land reinforcements to bolster the Portuguese militia besieging the city of Recife. On 12 January this fleet was intercepted by a Dutch task force of about forty ships commanded by Willem Loos. The ensuing battle lasted with occasional breaks until the evening of 17 January, when the Spanish and Portuguese fleet retreated and sailed away to the north.
The Battle of Cape Corvo was a naval engagement of the Ottoman–Habsburg wars fought as part of the struggle for the control of the Mediterranean. It took place in August 1613 near the island of Samos when a Spanish squadron from Sicily, under Admiral Ottavio d'Aragona, engaged an Ottoman fleet led by Sinari Pasha. The Spanish were victorious and captured seven galleys and about 600 prisoners, among them the Bey of Alexandria and another 60 important Ottoman nobles. Cape Corvo was the first major victory of the Spanish fleets under Pedro Téllez-Girón, 3rd Duke of Osuna, the Spanish Viceroy of Sicily, as well as the greatest Spanish victory over the Ottoman Empire since the Battle of Lepanto.
The Battle of Barcelona was a naval engagement fought in the coastal region of Barcelona, Spain, between the navies of the Crowns of Aragon and Castile, during the War of the Two Peters. A number of months beforehand, a large Castilian fleet had been assembled at Seville by order of the King of Castile, Peter I. Consisting of 128 warships including royal vessels, ships from the King of Castile's vassals, and several others that had been sent by the Castilian-allied monarchs of Portugal and Granada, this large fleet had been entrusted to the Genoese admiral, Egidio Boccanegra, who was seconded by two of his relatives, Ambrogio and Bartolome.
The Action of 14 June 1742 was a minor naval battle of the War of the Austrian Succession in which a small British squadron under Captain Richard Norris burned 5 Spanish royal galleys at the French port of Saint Tropez. Norris had surprised the galleys near Sainte-Marguerite and had chased and driven them into the French port. The British captain, in spite of alleged French neutrality, followed the Spanish vessels into the port and destroyed them at slight cost.
A patache 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.
Francisco Díaz Pimienta (1594–1652) was a Spanish naval officer who became Captain general of the Ocean Fleet.
The First Battle of the Strait of Gibraltar was a naval engagement that took place on 24 April 1590 during the Anglo-Spanish War. Ten English armed merchant vessels of the Levant Company were met and intercepted by twelve Spanish galleys under Pedro de Acuña in the service of Spain in the region of the Gibraltar Straits. English sources claim that the English were able to repel the galleys inflicting heavy losses after a six-hour fight, while Spanish sources show the battle as indecisive.
The Battle of Guadalupe Island, also known as the Battle of Guadalupe, was a naval action that took place off Guadalupe Island, Caribbean Sea, on 8 November 1595, between a Spanish force of five frigates commanded by Don Pedro Tello de Guzmán and Don Gonzalo Méndez de Cancio, and an English squadron of nine ships, during the unsuccessful English military expedition of 1595 against Spain and their possessions, led by Sir Francis Drake himself, Sir John Hawkins and Sir Thomas Baskerville, as the context of the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604). The result was a Spanish victory. One of the English ships, the Francis, was captured and the others fled from the battle. Then, knowing Drake's plans, the Spanish flotilla took advantage over the bulk of Drake's fleet, and arrived at San Juan on 13 November, reinforcing the town with 500 soldiers and supplies. The Spaniards organized different artillery positions in strategic locations, and the five frigates were positioned to cover the entrance of the bay with their artillery, awaiting the arrival of Drake. On 22 November, with the defenses completed, the English fleet arrived off San Juan and tried to invade the town. The result was another Spanish victory over Drake's forces.
The Battle of the Gulf of Almería, also known as the Battle of Almería Bay or the Battle of Cape of Palos, was a naval Spanish victory that took place in late August, 1591, off Almería, near the Cape Palos, during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo–Spanish War (1585–1604). The battle occurred when the Spanish fleet of the Adelantado of Castile, Don Martín de Padilla y Manrique, Count of Santa Gadea, sighted an Anglo-Dutch fleet in the waters of Almería, in the southern coast of Spain. The Spanish fleet, led by Martín de Padilla, attacked with such fury the Anglo-Dutch fleet who managed to undo their training, achieving a great success. About 20 Dutch ships and 3 English ships were captured by the Spaniards, and some ships of the rest of the Anglo-Dutch fleet were seriously damaged. On the other hand, the Spanish losses were minimal.
The Battle of Girolata was a naval action fought between Genoese, Spanish and Ottoman ships on 15 June 1540 in the Gulf of Girolata, on the west coast of the island of Corsica, amidst the war between Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and Suleiman the Magnificent. A Spanish squadron of 21 galleys led by the Genoese Gianettino Doria and the Spaniard Berenguer de Requesens surprised an Ottoman squadron of 11 galleys, anchored at Girolata, led by the Ottoman admiral Dragut, whom the commander of the Ottoman Navy, Hayreddin Barbarossa, had committed to raid the Italian coast after his victories in the Adriatic sea the year before. As the crews of the Ottoman warships were ashore, distributing the booty from recent raids, the Spanish-Genoese fleet easily overtook them, taking all 11 Ottoman galleys and making 1,200 prisoners, among them Dragut, who was carried to Genoa and put, together with his captains, to row in Andrea Doria's galleys.