Talk:Battle of San Juan de Ulúa (1568)

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Jesus of Lübeck doesn't seem to fit the description of a galleon. At least not the way she was depicted in the Anthony Roll.

Peter Isotalo 10:20, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

Good point, Peter. This link confirms that the Jesus wasn't a galleon, she was a 700 ton carrack. Thank you.--Darius (talk) 11:57, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

The Spanish account of the battle by Luis Cabrera de Cordova[edit]

Luis Cabrera de Cordova, Filipe Segundo Rey de España , Madrid, 1619, p. 515. [37]

A translation of the passage in Cabrera de Cordova is as follows (Libro VIII, cap. 10, p. 513):

[Queen Elizabeth] taking the advice of two Portuguese, fitted out two ships, and entrusted them, together with 500 men, to John Hawkins, a great seaman, who was a Devon man, and to another Englishman, Francis Drake. She promised them one third of the profits. They sailed for Elmina, a Portuguese trading post, and then called, with varying degrees of success, at places across from the Guinea coast to the island of La Margarita and Rio de la Hacha. As they were not allowed to trade even at Cartagena, they sailed on, and were sighted off Vera Cruz on 15 September. The royal officials at the port, thinking they were ships of the fleet expected from Spain, went on board to receive the mails. They were made prisoners and then set free. Hawkins and Drake received permission from the Viceroy of New Spain to stay in port while they did what was necessary to make ready to sail, and they kept the royal Treasurer as a hostage. They then entered the harbor of San Juan de Ulúa where six vessels heavily laden with silver were moored. Then thirteen ships of the fleet carrying the Viceroy, Don Martín Enríquez, and commanded by the General Don Francisco Luján, were sighted: as the English were in the harbor they did not try to enter. John Hawkins was afraid that these were the galleons built by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, Adelantado of Florida, to protect the routes and convoys in the trade with the Indies, and which accompanied the fleets. He therefore sent word that he was in port by arrangement with the Viceroy, and was careening his flagship; and that this was because when he was sailing to Elmina, winds had blown him off course and that the need to save his ships was what had made him put in to land. The new Viceroy was mindful of the danger in which his ships stood by reason of the violent North winds in the Gulf; this caused him to come to an agreement with John Hawkins under which his ships were brought safely into port while hostages were given by both sides, and thus he was able to enter harbor. The authorities at Vera Cruz now became aware of the activities of which the English had been guilty, and 120 soldiers were embarked on board the fleet at night. The Viceroy set out for Mexico City.

Don Francisco de Luján, the Captain-General, did not feel obliged to adhere to an agreement made with raiders, and took the opportunity to break with them over the question of mooring places in the harbor. He decided to fight them, and ordered a considerable number of soldiers, armed only with daggers, to go aboard to call upon the English and to invite them over: during the banquet they were to be killed. This was done, and the guns of the fleet bombarded the English ships. A force of soldiers also captured the guns that John Hawkins had placed on a platform commanding the harbor to protect his flagship while he was careening her. Hawkins, meanwhile, ordered Francis Drake to load the gold he had acquired at Elmina into one of his ships, and to wait for him with it outside the harbor. He set fire to his flagship and directed the fight from the second largest ship: as things were going badly, he got away from the harbor in company with one other ship, leaving the remainder, with quantities of clothes, silver, slaves, rich stuffs, and many of his English crews dead, and he made sail. The ship accompanying him was cast up by the winds on the coast of Pánuco. John Hawkins arrived first at the Florida Channel and then got to the coast of Spain at the end of December with many men sick. On the other hand, Francis Drake got to England alone, and gave out that his commander had been wrecked. The gold and silver he hid, although the Queen put him in prison. This was the beginning of the career at sea of the greatest pirate of the age--the one who carried out more raids and robberies than any other.

--Morosanul (talk) 13:48, 12 October 2015 (UTC)


If Hawkins' fleet included ships leased from the Queen, and if they were privateers (ie held a royal warrant) it's too simple to repeatedly call it "illegal". Under Spanish law it certainly was illegal, but under British law they were legitimate agents of the Crown. There was, of course, no "international law" at that period. The nearest thing to international law were Papal decrees; but they were not recognised by Protestant countries! Martin of Sheffield (talk) 08:14, 23 September 2016 (UTC)