Battle of St. Kitts (1629)

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Battle of St. Kitts (1629)
Part of the Anglo-Spanish War (1625–1630)
Spanish capture of St Kitts.jpg
The Capture of Saint Cristopher (St. Kitts) by Félix Castello.
Oil on canvas (1634) El Prado Museum.
Date17 June – 7 September 1629

Spanish victory

Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg  Spain Flag of England.svg  England
Pavillon royal de la France.svg  France
Commanders and leaders
Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo Osorio
Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg Antonio de Oquendo
Flag of England.svg Gov. John Wilton
4,000 men
20 galleons [2]
3,000 settlers
Casualties and losses
Unknown Several ships destroyed [3]
9 ships captured [4]
171 artillery pieces taken
3,100 prisoners [5]

The Battle of St. Kitts or St. Cristopher was a successful Spanish expedition that seized the islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis from the English and French during the Anglo-Spanish War (1625–30).

Saint Kitts and Nevis country in Central America and Caribbean

Saint Kitts and Nevis, also known as the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis, is an island country in the West Indies. Located in the Leeward Islands chain of the Lesser Antilles, it is the smallest sovereign state in the Western Hemisphere, in both area and population. The country is a Commonwealth realm, with Elizabeth II as queen and head of state.



By the year 1629, the colony had grown sufficiently to be regarded as a threat to the Spanish West Indies. English settlers had been recruited to the number of nearly 3,000, and guns and ammunition had been sent over. [6] Orders were given to the commander of the outward bound Spanish fleet Armada de Sotavento to Mexico to clear out the heavily armed English and French colonies.

Spanish West Indies Spanish possession in the Caribbean between 1492-1898

The Spanish West Indies or the Spanish Antilles was the former name of the Spanish colonies in the Caribbean. In terms of governance of the Spanish Empire, The Indies was the designation for all its overseas territories and was overseen by the Council of the Indies, founded in 1524 and based in Spain. When the crown established the Viceroyalty of New Spain in 1535, the islands of the Caribbean came under its jurisdiction.

New Spain kingdom of the Spanish Empire (1535-1821)

The Viceroyalty of New Spain was an integral territorial entity of the Spanish Empire, established by Habsburg Spain during the Spanish colonization of the Americas. It covered a huge area that included territories in North America, South America, Asia and Oceania. It originated in 1521 after the fall of Mexico-Tenochtitlan, the main event of the Spanish conquest, which did not properly end until much later, as its territory continued to grow to the north. It was officially created on 8 March 1535 as a Kingdom, the first of four viceroyalties Spain created in the Americas. Its first viceroy was Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco, and the capital of the kingdom was Mexico City, established on the ancient Mexico-Tenochtitlan.


The Spanish expedition, under the command of Admiral Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo Osorio, dropped anchor at Nevis Island and captured and destroyed several English ships anchored there. [7] Spanish soldiers were then sent ashore to destroy the few newly built structures and capture the settlers. [8]

When Nevis was seized by the Spanish forces, the planters were deserted by their servants, who swam out to the Spanish ships to cries of "Liberty, joyfull Liberty," [9] [10] preferring collaboration with the Spanish than to the subjection of tyrannical English masters. [11] [12]

On 7 September 1629, the Spanish expedition moved on to the sister island Saint Kitts and burned the entire settlement. [13]


By the terms of surrender, the Spanish allotted shipping to carry some 700 of the colonists back to England. But other colonists, variously estimated at 200 to 400, evaded capture by taking to the hills and woods. [14] After an agreement between the Spanish and English crowns, the Spanish departed in 1630, handing the island to England. The fugitives returned to their plantations to form the nucleus of a new phase of colonization. [15]

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The following is an alphabetical list of topics related to the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

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Capture of Saint Martin (1633)

Part of the Eighty Years' War, the Capture of Saint Martin was a Spanish naval expedition against the island of Saint Martin occupied by the Dutch Republic and administered as part of the Dutch Antilles. The island, claimed by Spain since Christopher Columbus' second voyage to the West Indies in 1493, lies a few hundred miles east of Puerto Rico. The capture eliminated the presence of Dutch privateers in the island, weakening Dutch privateering and commerce in the Caribbean.

Siege of Brimstone Hill

The French invasion of Saint Kitts also known as the Siege of Brimstone Hill was a siege of the American Revolutionary War. After landing on Saint Kitts, the French troops of the Marquis de Bouillé stormed and besieged Brimstone Hill, and after a month of siege the heavily outnumbered and cut-off British garrison surrendered. The Comte de Grasse, who delivered de Bouillé's troops and supported the siege, was outmanoeuvred and deprived of his anchorage by Admiral Hood. Even though Hood's force was inferior by one-third, de Grasse was beaten off when he attempted to dislodge Hood. Hood's attempts to relieve the ongoing siege were unsuccessful, and the garrison capitulated after one month. About a year later, the Treaty of Paris restored Saint Kitts and adjacent Nevis to British rule.

The Attack on Saint Martin was a failed attempt by the Dutch Republic to recapture the island and former base of the Dutch West India Company (WIC) from the Spanish. In 1633 the Spanish had invaded Saint-Martin and Anguilla, driving off the French and Dutch inhabitants. The French and Dutch banded together to repel the Spanish and it was during a 1644 sea battle that the Dutch commander Peter Stuyvesant, later the governor of New Amsterdam, unsuccessfully besieged Fort Amsterdam and was forced to retreat with the loss of hundreds of men. A stray Spanish cannonball shattered his leg, which had to be amputated. But luck was on the Dutch side, and when the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Netherlands ended, the Spanish no longer needed a Caribbean base and just sailed away in 1648.

Battle of Nevis

The Battle of Nevis on 20 May 1667 was a confused naval clash in the Caribbean off the Island of Nevis during the closing stages of the Second Anglo-Dutch War between an English squadron and an Allied Franco-Dutch fleet intent on invading the island. The battle ended up being an English victory in that prevented a Franco-Dutch invasion of Nevis.

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Charles de Courbon, comte de Blénac was governor general of the French Antilles three times in the 17th century. He was an experienced soldier and fought for the king during the Fronde before becoming a naval captain. Towards the end of the Franco-Dutch War he led the land forces that took Tobago from the Dutch before taking command of the French Antilles. During the Nine Years' War he was active in the struggle with the English and Dutch in the Windward Islands. He captured Sint Eustatius and Saint Kitts, and defended Martinique against a large English expedition in 1693.

Claude de Roux, chevalier de Saint-Laurent was a French soldier, a chevalier of the Knights Hospitaller, who was governor of the colony of Saint Christophe on Saint Christopher Island from 1666 to 1689. He took office in the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665–67), when the French expelled the English from the island, and left office early in the Nine Years' War (1688–97), when the English expelled the French from the island.



  1. Brenner p. 326
  2. Walton p.124
  3. Marx p.30
  4. Engerman/Paquette p.92
  5. Marley p.137
  6. Sheridan p.85
  7. Marx p.30
  8. Marx p.30
  9. Paquette p.93
  10. Hubbard, Vincent (2002). Swords, Ships & Sugar. Corvallis: Premiere Editions International, Inc. p. 45. ISBN   9781891519055.
  11. Elliot, p.103
  12. Hubbard, Vincent (2002). A History of St. Kitts. Macmillan Caribbean. p. 20. ISBN   9780333747605.
  13. Sheridan p. 85
  14. Sheridan p.85
  15. Sheridan p.85

Coordinates: 17°09′N62°35′W / 17.150°N 62.583°W / 17.150; -62.583