USS Isla de Cuba (1886)

USS Isla de Cuba was a former Spanish Navy second-class protected cruiser of the same name, captured by and commissioned into the United States Navy as a gunboat.

Isla de Cuba soon after completion, probably in a British port
Name: USS Isla de Cuba
Namesake: The island of Cuba (Spanish Navy name retained)
Builder: Sir W.G. Armstrong Mitchell & Company, Elswick, Tyne and Wear, England
Laid down: 25 February 1886
Launched: 11 December 1886
Completed: 22 September 1887
Acquired: by capture, 1 May 1898
Commissioned: 11 April 1900
Decommissioned: 9 June 1904
In service: as school ship, March 1907
  • Sold to Venezuela, 2 April 1912
  • Scrapped, 1940
General characteristics
Class and type: Isla de Luzon-class protected cruiser
Displacement: 950 long tons (970 t)
Length: 195 ft (59 m)
Beam: 30 ft (9.1 m)
Draft: 11 ft 4.75 in (3.4735 m) (mean)
Installed power: 535 ihp (399 kW)
Speed: 11.2 kn (12.9 mph; 20.7 km/h)
Capacity: 160 short tons (150 t) of coal
Complement: 137 officers and enlisted
Armor: Deck: 1–2.5 in (2.5–6.4 cm)

Service history

Spanish Navy

Isla de Cuba was built in 1886–87 for the Spanish Navy by Sir W.G. Armstrong Mitchell & Company, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom as a second-class protected cruiser. She fought in the Battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines during the Spanish–American War in 1898, suffering light damage, and was scuttled after the battle. She settled in shallow water, after which a U.S. Navy boarding party from the gunboat USS Petrel went aboard and set her upper works on fire.[1]

The U.S. Navy took possession of her, refloated her, and repaired her damage. The Spanish 4.7 in (120 mm) guns were removed and replaced with 4 in (100 mm) guns mounted on her forecastle and poop deck.[2]

United States Navy

Isla de Cuba was commissioned into the U.S. Navy as USS Isla de Cuba on 11 April 1900 at Hong Kong, China, with Lieutenant J. N. Jordan in command. Following extensive repairs and shakedown out of Hong Kong, she was assigned to the Asiatic Station where she served in several capacities during the revolutionary unrest in the Philippines (see Philippine Revolution) following the Spanish–American War.

As a supply ship and patrol boat she cruised the Philippine Islands. At Ormoc, Leyte, on 17 November 1900, she sent a battalion ashore to hold the town while the U.S. Army garrison leader was away on an expedition against the Philippine insurgents, remaining there in support of the battalion until 8 December. In 1901, she made a survey of Ormoc anchorage and Parasan Harbor; and in March–April 1900 as a unit of the Southern Squadron, she rendered distinguished service in cutting off the Philippine insurgents' supplies in Samar; in helping to capture Vicente Lukbán, the insurgent leader in Samar; in contributing to the general defeat of the insurgents; and in maintaining the close blockade of the island of Samar — all of which contributed to the final declaration of an armistice.

Isla de Cuba ended her service with the Asiatic Station when she departed Cebu for the United States on 4 March 1904. Decommissioning on 9 June at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, she remained there undergoing repairs until 21 March 1907, when she was loaned to the Naval Militia of Maryland for use as a school ship. She was sold at Charleston, South Carolina, to the Republic of Venezuela on 2 April 1912. Renamed Mariscal Sucre, after Marshall Antonio José de Sucre, she served Venezuela until she was scrapped in 1940.

See also



  1. The Spanish–American War Centennial Website: Isla de Cuba
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905, p. 166


  • This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
  • 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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