Chilean frigate O'Higgins (1816)

O'Higgins was a Chilean frigate famous for her actions under Captain Lord Cochrane.

Model of the frigate O'Higgins from the Museo Naval y Marítimo of the Chilean Navy
Name: Patrikii
Builder: Shipyard in Arkhangelsk
Launched: 3 July 1816
Fate: Sold to Spain
Name: María Isabel
Acquired: 17 August 1817
Captured: 20 October 1818
Fate: Captured by Chile in Talcahuano
Name: O'Higgins
Namesake: Bernardo O'Higgins
Commissioned: October 1818
Renamed: María Isabel (1823)
Status: Sold to Argentina
Name: Buenos Aires
Namesake: Buenos Aires
Commissioned: 1826
Fate: Sank 1826
General characteristics
Class and type: Speshniy-class frigate
Tons burthen: 1220 (bm)
Length: 48.6 m (159 ft 5 in)
Beam: 12.7 m (41 ft 8 in)
Draft: 3.9 m (12 ft 10 in)
Propulsion: Sail
Crew: 288-430 men
Armament: 40-50 guns

Russian career

The ship was launched in Russia in 1816, as the Speshni-class frigate Patrikii ("Патрикий"). To save time and money, the Russians built her of pine and larch. In 1817 the Russians sold her to Spain, which renamed her María Isabel.

Spanish career

In 1818 María Isabel sailed under Captain Dionisio Capas with a convoy to the coast of Peru. There the First Chilean Navy Squadron, under the command of Manuel Blanco Encalada, captured her at Talcahuano.

Chilean career

The Chileans renamed the ship O'Higgins after Bernardo O'Higgins, the South American Independence leader and first Chilean head of state.

O'Higgins was Thomas Cochrane's flagship when he commanded the Chilean navy during the Freedom Expedition of Perú.

When San Martín was wrecked in the bay of Chorrilos, Peru, in July 1821, Cochrane shifted his flag from San Martín back to O'Higgins. [1]

Cochrane also sailed O'Higgins to Acapulco.

On 8 June 1823, O'Higgins suffered severe damage when she collided with the Chilean ship Lautaro in the Bay of Paraíso during a gale.[2][3]

During 1823, after a conservative coup on 28 January 1823 deposed O'Higgins, the new government under Ramón Freire renamed the frigate María Isabel again.[4]

Argentine career

She was sold to Argentina on 1 April 1826 and refitted in Valparaíso and renamed Buenos Aires, but she never reached Buenos Aires. She sank rounding Cape Horn.[5]

See also


  1. Lloyd's List №5648.
  2. "The Marine List". Lloyd's List (5844). 7 October 1823.
  3. "The Marine List". Lloyd's List (5847). 17 October 1823.
  4. Website of the Chilean Navy O´Higgins, fragata (1º) Archived 2010-10-02 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved 28. January 2011
  5. Gerardo Etcheverry, Principales naves de guerra a vela hispanoamericanas, retrieved 28 January 2011

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