Spanish cruiser Conde del Venadito

Conde de Venadito was a Velasco-class unprotected cruiser of the Spanish Navy. It was built at the naval shipyard at Cartagena, Spain in 1883, and was completed and launched five years later. In 1895, she unsuccessfully attempted to sink the American merchant ship Allianca off Cape Maisi, Cuba under the suspicion that she was smuggling arms to the Cuban insurgents.[1] She was stricken from the register in 1907 and was finally sunk in 1936 as a target ship.[2]

Conde de Venadito in 1895
Name: Conde de Venadito
Namesake: Count of Venadito
Builder: Naval shipyard Cartagena
Laid down: 1883
Launched: 15 August 1888
Completed: 1888 or 1889
Struck: 1907
Fate: Sunk as target 1936
General characteristics (as built)
Class and type: Velasco-class unprotected cruiser
Displacement: 1,190 long tons (1,210 t)
Length: 210 ft (64 m)
Beam: 32 ft (9.8 m)
Draft: 13 ft 8 in (4.17 m) maximum
Installed power: 1,500 hp (1,100 kW); 4 cylindrical boilers
Propulsion: 1 shaft; 1 Compound-expansion steam engine
Sail plan: barque-rigged
Speed: 14 knots (26 km/h)
Complement: 173 officers and enlisted men
Notes: Powered by 200–220 tonnes (220–240 short tons) of coal (normal)

Construction and design

Conde de Venadito was built at the naval shipyard at Cartagena, Spain. Her keel was laid in 1883, she was launched on 15 August 1888, and she was completed in 1888 or 1889.[3] The vessel displaced 1,190 long tons (1,210 t) of water and was 210 ft (64 m) long (length between perpendiculars) with a 32 ft (9.8 m) beam, while still maintaining a draft of 13 ft 8 in (4.17 m). She was powered by one-shaft, horizontal compound, four-cylindrical boilers (normally containing 200–220 tonnes (220–240 short tons) of coal), which helped her reach a speed of 14 knots (26 km/h). Her armament consisted of four 4.7-inch (119 mm) guns, four 6-pounder (57 mm) guns, one machine gun and two 14 in (356 mm) torpedo tubes operated by a crew of 173 officers and enlisted men. She had one rather tall funnel, an iron hull and was rigged as a barque.[3][4]

Service history

She participated in the quadcentennial of Christopher Columbus's discovery of the "New World". The Royal family of the United Kingdom used the ship for the large reception. The Monday after the celebration (at 8 AM), when the ships of other nations were leaving, the ship with the Royal family passed the line of ships as they waved goodbye.[5] During 1894, she was part of the "training and evolutionary" squadron of the Spanish navy, which was located off the cost of Cuba, which was announced by the Spanish Minister of Marine earlier that year.[6]

Allianca incident

In March 1895, Conde de Venadito was involved in an incident with the American merchant ship Allianca off Cape Maisí, Cuba. The Spanish ship attempted to stop Allianca for search on suspicion of filibustering, or smuggling arms to the insurgents in Cuba. The American ship failing to stop, the Spanish vessel fired several solid shots at the merchant ship during an unsuccessful chase of about 20 miles (32 km).[7] This touched off much sensational reporting in the American press and is credited by many with crystallizing anti-Spanish sentiment in the American public in the years preceding the Spanish–American War.[1]

Spanish–American War

In the Spanish–American War Conde del Venadito was first recorded at the port of Santiago de Cuba on 20 April.[8] She first saw real action in the war when defending Havana. She first steamed out of the harbor alongside Nueva España on 14 May at 4:20 PM. She manovered in reaction to the U.S. gunboats, while firing two shots 17 km (11 mi) from the U.S. ships, which retreated to 20 km (12 mi) from her. She and Nueva España retreated with Aguila and Flecha at dusk. At night, the U.S. vessels occupied the harbor. Whether the shots had any effect is not known, due to the distance from which they were fired.[9]

On 10 June at 8:30 AM, the Conde de Venadito, Nueva España, Flecha, and the Yanéz Pinzon, appeared 1 km (0.62 mi) offshore, and soon fired at Battery No. 1. from 3.8 km (2.4 mi). The U.S. vessels started firing at the four ships from a distance of 10 km (6.2 mi). The fire was accurate at first, until the four Spanish boats backed up to 15 km (9.3 mi) from the U.S. ships, and, at 1:30 PM, the U.S. ships entered the harbor.[10]


She was stricken from the register in 1907. Her hull was later sunk as a target ship in 1936.[2]


  1. Chesneau & Eugene, p. 376.
  2. Gray, p. 429.
  3. "Spanish cruiser Conde del Venadito". Escobén. February 2004.
  4. Mason, Herbert B. (1908). Encyclopaedia of Ships and Shipping. Shipping Encyclopaedia. OCLC 11857976.
  5. Royal Geographical Society (1892). "Proceedings". Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and monthly record of geography. London, UK: Edward Stanford. 14: 855. ISSN 0266-626X.
  6. "Naval and Military Notes". R.U.S.I. Journal. 38 (Royal United Services Institute for Defense Studies): 780. 1894.
  7. Wisan, Joseph (1965). The Cuban Crisis as Reflected in the New York Press. New York: Octagon Books. p. 71. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  8. U.S. Senate and House of Representatives (1900). Sheep Set. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 886.
  9. Naval History: Spanish War, 1898. various places. 1897–1905. p. 69. OCLC 82022324.
  10. Naval History, p. 71.


  • Chesneau, Roger, and Eugene M. Kolesnik, Eds. Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. New York: Mayflower Books Inc., 1979. ISBN 0-8317-0302-4.
  • Gray, Randal, Ed. Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1985. ISBN 0-87021-907-3.
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