The Battle of Santa Cruz

  • Wars And Conflict
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307


The Battle of Santa Cruz was part of The Anglo-Spanish War – and was fought on April 20, 1657. With Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell firmly in control of the “new” Commonwealth of England – he declared war on Spain in 1654. His goal was to attack Spanish Shipping (particularly it's silver and gold shipments!). Admiral Robert Blake was in command of the principle English Feet. Tasked with blocking the Spanish Port of Cadiz, Spain – he received word from Cromwell, of a large Spanish Fleet returning from The Americas – laden with Silver. He broke the blockade and gave pursuit.

The Spanish Fleet comprised of 17 Ships. Hearing of Cadiz being “blockaded”, they turned for the Port of Santa Cruz (to unload their cargo). Santa Cruz was defended by an imposing 15th Century Castle – which had been added later – a series of fortifications designed to protect the Harbor. A 1,000 man Spanish Garrison of “well trained” Musketmen stood by. Arriving at Santa Cruz on April 20, Blake and 23 British Ships “anchored” into Santa Cruz and prepared to fight. Unknown to Blake, word was received by the Spanish Ships of Blake's pending assault, and turned to The Canary Islands (safety depositing their Silver horde). Blake (unawares), began his assault. The Harbor at Santa Cruz also had 17 smaller Spanish Frigates anchored and were prepared to fight.

Blake (at a safe distance) – began to rake Santa Cruz Castle and fortifications with Broadside after Broadside of cannon shot. The Castle and fortresses (due to their elevation OVER the Harbor), began to rain down their shots on The English!. However, the winds were blowing particularly hard INTO the Harbor and many of their shots fell harmlessly in front of (or behind) Blake's Fleet. After several hours, Santa Cruz Harbor and it's fortifications were smoking hulks. The Spanish Harbor Fleet was completely sunk. Although Blake did not recover the Silver, he was able to return to The Commonwealth – a hero. However his welcome was short lived. He died will enroute home! None of the 23 English Ships were sunk and they suffered only 40 dead and 110 wounded.