- Battle of Gibraltar
Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Gibraltar
caption=The "Battle of Gibraltar" by Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom. Oil on canvas.
Eighty Years' War
25 April 1607
Bay of Gibraltar, near present-day Gibraltar
result=Decisive Dutch victory
Jacob van Heemskerk†
Juan Álvarez de Ávila†
4 merchant ships
21 ships destroyedThe naval Battle of Gibraltar took place on
25 April 1607during the Eighty Years' Warwhen a Dutch fleet surprised and engaged a Spanish fleet anchored at the Bay of Gibraltar. During the four hours of action, the entire Spanish fleet was destroyed. 2007 was the 400th anniversary of the Dutch victory over Spain.
The Dutch fleet of 26 smaller warships and four cargo ships was led by
Jacob van Heemskerk.
The Dutch flagship was "Æolus". Other Dutch ships were "De Tijger" (Tiger), "De Zeehond" (Seal), "De Griffioen" (Griffon), "De Roode Leeuw" (Red Lion), "De Gouden Leeuw" (Gold Lion), "De Zwarte Beer" (Black Bear), "De Witte Beer" (White Bear) and "De Ochtendster" (Morningstar).
The Spanish fleet of 21 ships, including 10
galleons of the largest size, was led by Don Juan Álvarez de Ávila.
The Spanish flagship "San Augustin" (St Augustine) was commanded by Don Juan's son. Other ships were "Nuestra Señora de la Vega" (Our Lady of Vega) and "Madre de Dios" (Mother of God).
Van Heemskerk left some of his ships at the bay entrance to prevent the escape of any Spanish ship. The attacking ships were ordered to focus on the Spanish
flagshipand the Dutch fleet stood into the bay.
Van Heemskerk was killed during the first approach on the Spanish flagship as a
cannonball severed his leg. The Dutch effectively then doubled up the galleons (in a move that almost two centuries later was copied by Admiral Nelson during the Battle of the Nileof 1798Fact|date=July 2007) and a few of the galleons caught fire. One Spanish ship exploded due to a shot into the powder magazine. The Dutch captured the Spanish flagship, but let it go adrift.
Following the destruction of the Spanish ships, the Dutch deployed boats and killed hundreds of swimming Spanish sailors.
The Dutch lost 100 men including admiral Van Heemskerk. 60 Dutch were wounded. The Spanish lost their entire fleet, meaning 21 ships and 4,000 men, including Álvarez.
* [http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext04/jm79v10.txt An account from "MOTLEY'S HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS"]
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