Siege of Santo Domingo (1655)

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Siege of Santo Domingo
Part of the Anglo-Spanish War (1654–60)
Date April 23–30, 1655
Location Santo Domingo, Hispaniola
(present-day Dominican Republic)

Spanish victory[1]

Spain Spanish Empire  Commonwealth of England
Commanders and leaders
Spain Bernardino de Meneses Commonwealth of England William Penn
Commonwealth of England Robert Venables

2,400 soldiers:

  • 1,300 lancers
  • 700 regular soldiers
  • 200 marines
  • 200 militia

13,120 soldiers:

  • 7,000 marines
  • 6,000 infantry
  • 120 cavalry
34 ships
Casualties and losses
30 dead[2] ~600 dead[2]

The Siege of Santo Domingo of 1655, was fought between April 23, 1655 to April 30, 1655 at the Spanish Colony of Santo Domingo. A force of 2,400 Spanish troops led by Governor Don Bernardino Meneses y Bracamonte, Count of Peñalba, successfully resisted a force of 13,120 troops and 34 ships of the English Commonwealth Navy led by Admiral Sir William Penn.

The English force landed at the mouth of the Nizao River, some thirty miles from their objective, the city of Santo Domingo.[3]

On April 13, 1655, more than 13,000 men, who sought to take La Hispaniola from Spain, were instructed by Oliver Cromwell, an English dictator who took power in his native nation in 1653, and who, shortly before, in 1649, led a revolution against the nobles of feudal origin who took the life of King Charles I, and later, in 1652, dethroned King Charles II.

The name of the infiltration is derived from William Penn and Robert Venables, admiral chief of the navy and general of the troops, respectively.

Class struggles for economic and political power prevailed at the time. Holland, France, and England were trying to further weaken Spain's uncontrolled "might," to take away land and install its businesses in America. On this occasion, the English sought to take possession of Santo Domingo, also of Cuba and Puerto Rico. The attacks on La Hispaniola began on April 26, 1655, to which Spain faced, with about 200 soldiers, between the Spaniards and the Dominicans, surprisingly, succeeding, since the historical archives assert that some 1,500 British soldiers were killed, wounded and prisoners. The invaders from England finally left the island at the end of May of the same year. There are many anecdotes about this occupation. One of them is that they were terrified by the fear that caused them the noise of the crabs of the beach of Haina.

The English fleet ineffectually tried to bombard the city into submission and the army re-embarked its survivors.[1]

The British naval historian, N.A.M. Rodger, notes that, "In one afternoon the invincible reputation of the New Model Army had been thrown away".[1] The English left the island of Santo Domingo and went on and conquered Jamaica in the Invasion of Jamaica of 1655.[4] Venables and Penn were locked up in the dreaded "Tower of London".

Due to the valor of Don Bernardino de Meneses y Bracamonte, the site of the victory was named in his honor; Puerta del Conde.

The grateful Spaniards made a gold crab. And on the commemorative date of the defeat of the "hackers" and the "smuglers", they took it to the streets in a processional way. Unfortunately, the gold crab was stolen by General Joseph Du Barquier, the last French governor on the island.


  1. ^ a b c d Rodger 2005, p. 23.
  2. ^ a b Marley, David (1998). Wars of the Americas: A Chronology of Armed Conflict in the New World, 1492 to the Present. ABC-CLIO. p. 149. ISBN 9780874368376. 
  3. ^ Plant, David. "The Western Design, 1655". british Civil Wars Project. Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  4. ^ Lajara Sola, Homero Luis (October 9, 2016). "Invasión Penn y Venables casi ingleses" – via Listin Diario. 

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Kris E. Lane, Pillaging the Empire: piracy in the Americas, 1500-1750.