Battle of Gibraltar


Battle of Gibraltar

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Gibraltar


caption=The "Battle of Gibraltar" by Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom. Oil on canvas. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
partof=the Eighty Years' War
date=25 April 1607
place=Bay of Gibraltar, near present-day Gibraltar
result=Decisive Dutch victory
combatant1=
combatant2=
commander1=Jacob van Heemskerk
commander2=Juan Álvarez de Ávila
strength1=26 warships
4 merchant ships
strength2=21 warships
casualties1=100 dead
60 wounded
casualties2=4,000 dead
21 ships destroyed
The naval Battle of Gibraltar took place on 25 April 1607 during the Eighty Years' War when 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.

Forces

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).

The battle

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 flagship and the Dutch fleet stood into the bay.

Van Heemskerk was killed during the first approach on the Spanish flagship as a cannon ball 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 Nile of 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.

External links

* [http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext04/jm79v10.txt An account from "MOTLEY'S HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS"]


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