Battle of Cape St Vincent

4th November 1641
Part of : Eighty Years War (1568 - 1648)
Previous action : Battle of the Downs 21.10.1639
Next action : Attack on Saint Martin 20.3.1643/44 - 17.4.1644

The Spanish squadron of Galicia, under Don Andrés de Castro, the squadron of Naples, under Don Martín Carlos de Meneos, and the galleons of Don Pedro de Ursúa, were urgently gathered in Cádiz to intercept the Dutch fleet. The military governor of Cádiz, Don Juan Alonso de Idiáquez y Robles, Duke of Ciudad Real, was appointed commander of the fleet in substitution of the Captain General, the Duke of Maqueda, who was ill. He was a veteran soldier, having seen action in the Siege of Leucata against the French, but was unexperienced in sea battles.

Gijsels fleet was sighted off Cape St. Vincent on 4 November. The Duke of Ciudad Real immediately ordered to attack the major Dutch vessels, sinking three of them, destroying another one, and causing considerable damage to the remaining. Inexplicably, when his ships were approaching the defenseless Dutch warships to board them, he stopped the attack and ordered to return to Cádiz. This conduct dissatisfied King Philip IV, who severely reprimanded, among other officers, Don Martín Carlos de Meneos, Admiral Don Pedro de Ursúa, and Captains Pedro Girón, Gaspar de Campos and Adrián Pulido.

According to Dutch sources, the battle was indecisive, and broken off when the Spanish disengaged and returned to Cádiz. Dutch casualties were 100-200 killed and 2 ships lost, while Spanish losses were possibly 1,100 killed and 2 ships lost.


Spain - Andrés de Castro

Spanish Fleet, Juan Alonso Idiáquez (1595-1653)
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Squadron of Galicia, Andrés de Castro
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Squadron of Naples, Martín Carlos de Meneos
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Squadron of Galleons, Pedro de Ursúa
Ship NameCommanderNotes

Dutch Republic - Artus Gijsels

Vanguard, J P Tolk
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Roode Leeuw (38) J P TolkSquadron Flagship
Sint Maarten (30) Fr J Touw
Hoop (28) Adriaen van Crimpen
Sint Jacob (26) C van Vliet
Tijger (20) Maerten Schaeff
Zwaan (32) Gerrit van Limmen Sunk
Abrahams Offerande (20) Cornelis Brackman
Admiral's Squadron, Artus Gijsels
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Prins (38) A VlughFleet Flagship
Drie Helden Davids (36) Reynst Corneliszoon Sevenhuysen
Sint Andries (36) H Steuven
Witte Engel (30) Cornelis de Liefde (1617-1673)
Engel Gabriel (28) J Solaes (d.1641) CO Killed
Dom Theodosio Principe de Portugal (26) J Leendertszoon
Vlissingen (20) Pieter van Gorcum
Rearguard, Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter (1606/7-1676)
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Haas (26) Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter (1606/7-1676)Squadron Flagship
Roos (36) G van Saenen
Pelikaan (32) Jacob Pauluszoon Cort (d.1653)
Gouden Leeuw (24) Pieter Floriszoon (1602-1658)
Graaf Maurits (20) C A Oosterlingh
Neptunus (20) Paulus van den Kerckhoff (1616-1658)



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