By Patrick McSherry

Other views of the VIZCAYA:
Stern view after the battle ||| Broadside view after battle showing bow damage ||| chart of hits |||
Shell fired by Vizcaya at Manila Bay


The Cruiser VIZCAYA was one of the prides of the Spanish Fleet. Part of Admiral Cervera's Squadron, she was trapped at Santiago de Cuba by the blockading US Fleet of Sampson and Schley and destroyed when the Spanish ships sortied on July 3, 1898.


VIZCAYA was sent to New York early in 1898 to reciprocate the "friendly" visit of USS MAINE to Havana. After the destruction of the MAINE, she returned to Spain and was attached to Admiral Cervera's fleet. Very soon VIZCAYA was again crossing the Atlantic for what would prove to be the last time. Blockaded at Santiago de Cuba with the rest of Cervera's force, VIZCAYA was the second ship to sortie from the harbor on July 3, 1898. Suffering from heavy American fire during the Battle of Santiago, Captain Don Antonio Eulate ran VIZCAYA on the rocks about 18 miles from the harbor entrance and surrendered, in order to save the lives of his crew. When the wounded Eulate was brought aboard the USS IOWA, he glanced over at his blazing command, raised his hand in salute and said "Adios, Vizcaya". As if on cue, the cruiser's forward magazine exploded as the words left his lips. When the US Navy surveyed the wrecks of the Spanish fleet after the war, VIZCAYA was declared a total loss.


The VIZCAYA was a modern and speedy first class Cruiser. However, the level of training and maintenance in the Spanish fleet was not what it should have been, and the VIZCAYA, like all of Cervara's ships, went to war at less than full efficiency. She was in severe need of drydocking, her foul bottom greatly reducing her speed and increasing her coal usage. She was short of ammunition and some of her guns were not operatable. Also, like all warships of the era, she was heavily decorated and furnished with wood. The US Navy stripped this flammable material off its vessels at the beginning of the conflict, but the Spanish failed to do so, making the VIZCAYA and her fleet-mates seriously susceptible to fire.


Classification: Cruiser (Intermediate type between armored and protected,
secondary guns and other vital parts had no armor.)
Laid down: 1889
Launched: 1891
Completed: 1893
Rig: Two military masts
Armament: Two 28 cm Hontoria guns (11 inch)
Ten 14 cm Hontoria QF guns (5.5 inch)
Eight 57 mm Hotchkiss QF guns (3 inch?)
Eight 37 mm revolving Hotchkiss guns (1.65 inch)
Two 22 mm Nordenfelt machine guns
Two 2.75 inch bronze guns (for landing parties?)
Eight tordedo tubes
Contractor: Sociedad Astilleros del Nervión of Sestao,
supported by Brown of Sheffield (UK).
Length: 366 feet, 8 inches (111.8 meters)
Beam: 65 feet (19.81 meters)
Mean draft: 21 feet, 6 inches (6.55 meters)
Displacement: 6,890 tons
Complement: 497 Officers and Men, under the command
of Captain Don Antonio Eulate.
Engine type: 13,700 hp. engines, twin screws.
Speed: 20.25 knots
Coal bunker capacity: 1,050 tons
Coal endurance @ 10 knots: 9,700 miles
Armor: 305 mm (10 -12 inch) steel compound side belt,
250 mm (9.8 inch) barbettes, 50 mm (2 inch) deck.


(As a service to our readers, clicking on title in red will take you to that book on

Azoy, A.C.M., Signal 250! The Sea Fight Off Santiago, (New York: David McKay Company, 1964).

Blow, Michael, A Ship to Remember , (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1992)

Brown, Charles H., The Correspondent's War. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1967).

Clerk of Joint Committee on Printing, The Abridgement of Message from the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1899. Vols. 2, 4.

Crabtree, HJ. B., The pasing of Spain and the Ascendency of America. (Springfield: The King-Richardson Pusblishing Co., 1898), p.346.

Freidel, Frank, The Splendid Little War" (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1958).

González López, Manuel P., Personal Internet Contact.

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