Spanish cruiser Canarias

Canarias was a heavy cruiser of the Spanish Navy. She was built in Spain by the Vickers-Armstrongs subsidiary Sociedad Española de Construcción Naval upon a British design, and was a modified version of the Royal Navy′s County class. Canarias saw service during the Spanish Civil War.

Heavy cruiser Canarias in Port of Almeria
Name: Canarias
Namesake: Canary Islands
Builder: SECN, Ferrol
Laid down: 15 August 1928
Launched: 28 May 1931
Commissioned: September 1936
Decommissioned: 17 December 1975
Fate: Scrapped 1977
General characteristics
Class and type: Canarias-class heavy cruiser
  • 10,670 long tons (10,840 t) standard
  • 13,500 long tons (13,700 t) full load
Length: 636 ft (194 m)
Beam: 64 ft (20 m)
Draught: 21 ft 5 in (6.53 m)
Installed power: Yarrow type boilers, 90,000 hp (67,000 kW)
Propulsion: 4 shafts, Parsons type geared turbines
Speed: 33 knots (61 km/h)
Range: 8,000 nmi (15,000 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h)
Complement: 679
Sensors and
processing systems:


Canarias was the flagship of the Nationalist Navy and sank 34 ships, including the Spanish Republican Navy destroyer Almirante Ferrándiz during the Battle of Cape Espartel,[1] and the Soviet merchant Komsomol off Oran, both in the second half of 1936. Canarias was the main player of the Battle of Cape Machichaco on 5 March 1937, when the Basque Auxiliary Navy naval trawler Nabarra was destroyed.[2] She also damaged the destroyer José Luis Díez, forcing her to seek refuge at Gibraltar on 29 August 1938. Canarias captured the Republican liner Mar Cantábrico, which was later converted to an auxiliary cruiser. During World War II she took part in the search for survivors from the German battleship Bismarck in May 1941.[3]

The cruiser remained in commission (due to several repair and refit periods) as the fleet flagship throughout her career. A major refit was planned for Canarias around 1973 to further extend the vessel's life, but a survey of her condition (conducted with help of US Navy personnel) concluded she was too old and obsolete to warrant the work. Some effort was made to turn her into a museum ship, but very little funds were raised for the plan. She was decommissioned in 1975 and then sold for scrap in 1977, but was able to steam under her own power to the scrapyard.


  1. Beevor 2000, p. 118.
  2. "Los bacaladeros vascos y el combate del Cabo Machichaco" (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  3. Sánchez, Gonzalo López (11 June 2014). "El día que España intentó rescatar al acorazado nazi "Bismarck"" (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 June 2015.


  • Beevor, Antony (2000) [1982]. The Spanish Civil War. London: Cassell. ISBN 0-304-35281-0.
  • Gardiner, Robert; Chesneau, Roger (1980). Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1922–1946. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-146-7.
  • Gardiner, Robert; Chumbley, Stephen (1995). Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1947–1995. Annapolis, Maryland. ISBN 1-55750-132-7.
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