San Telmo (ship)

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SanTelmoAlejoBerlingueromuseonavalmadrid (cropped).jpg
Spanish ship of the Line San Telmo by Alejo Berlinguero, Madrid Naval Museum
NameSan Telmo
Launched20 June 1788
Sunk: 2 September 1819
General characteristics
Displacement2,550 tons
Length53 m (174 ft)
Beam14.5 m (48 ft)

San Telmo ("Saint Peter Gonzalez" or "Saint Erasmus of Formiae") was a Spanish 74-gun ship of the line, launched in 1788. It sank while bringing reinforcements to Peru during the War of Independence and there is a possibility that some of its crew or passengers may have landed on Antarctica.


In 1819, the San Telmo, commanded by Captain Joaquín de Toledo y Parra, was the flagship of a Spanish naval squadron under Brigadier Rosendo Porlier y Asteguieta bound for Callao, Peru to reinforce colonial forces there fighting the independence movements in Spanish America. It was damaged by severe weather in the Hoces Sea, south of Cape Horn on 2 September 1819.


A portion of the 644 officers, soldiers and seamen of the San Telmo may have been the first people to land on Antarctica. Some remnants and signs of the wreckage were later found by William Smith on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands. If any crew members survived the initial sinking and managed to land there, they would have been the first humans in history to reach the continent.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

San Telmo Island off the north coast of Livingston Island is named after the ship.

Moments prior to the battle that led to the capture of Valdivia in February 1820 the patriot force told the Spanish garrison of the Valdivian Fort System they were part of the convoy of San Telmo. Using this tactic they were able to approach the beach at Aguada del Inglés largely undisturbed before their amphibious assault begun.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Olaya, Vicente G. (2019-06-16). "Una cuarta misión buscará en el Polo Sur al 'San Telmo'". El País (in Spanish). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 2020-02-01.
  2. ^ Xin, Zhang (2010). "Be careful, Here is Antarctica – the statistics and analysis of the grave accidents in Antarctica". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ Zarankin, Andrés; Senatore, María Ximena (2005). "Archaeology in Antarctica: Nineteenth-Century Capitalism Expansion Strategies". International Journal of Historical Archaeology. 9 (1): 43–56. doi:10.1007/s10761-005-5672-y. ISSN 1092-7697. S2CID 55849547.
  4. ^ Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (España) (1987). Comunicaciones presentadas en el Primer Symposium Español de Estudios Antárticos: celebrado en Palma de Mallorca del 30 de junio al 4 de julio de 1985 (in Spanish). CSIC Press. ISBN 978-84-00-06530-0.
  5. ^ Cazenave de la Roche, Arnaud (2019). "Pesquisas sobre el descubrimiento de la Antártida: tras la estela del Williams of Blyth y del San Telmo (1819–1821)". Magallánica : Revista de historia moderna (in Spanish). 6 (11): 276–317. ISSN 2422-779X.
  6. ^ Martín-Cancela (2018). Tras las huellas del San Telmo: contexto, historia y arqueología en la Antártida (in Spanish). Prensas de la Universidad de Zaragoza. ISBN 978-84-17358-23-5.
  7. ^ Guarda Geywitz, Fernando (1953). Historia de Valdivia (in Spanish). Santiago de Chile: Imprenta Cultura. p. 245.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 62°20′S 60°30′W / 62.333°S 60.500°W / -62.333; -60.500