Battle of Barbados (1665)

Battle of Barbados
Part of the Second Anglo-Dutch War
Date29 April 1665
Location13°05′N 59°37′W / 13.083°N 59.617°W / 13.083; -59.617
Result English victory[1]
 Dutch Republic England England
Commanders and leaders
Michiel de Ruyter Francis Willoughby
13 ships
2,500 sailors & soldiers
Various shore defenses
Casualties and losses
400 casualties,
many ships damaged[2]
12 merchant ships destroyed
3 killed & 10 wounded[3]

The Battle of Barbados also known as the Action of Carlisle Bay was a military action that took place off the Caribbean island of Barbados on 29 April 1665 just before the outbreak of the Second Anglo-Dutch War. It was fought between an English force defending against an attacking Dutch force led by Michiel de Ruyter. Although De Ruyter destroyed much of an English convoy at Carlisle Bay his fleet was severely damaged and was unable to launch an invasion of the island.[4]

Events Edit


English attacks on Dutch convoys and colonies had taken place in 1664, most notably the Conquest of New Netherland. In response the Dutch fitted out an expedition later in October, consisting of twelve battle ships under the command of the celebrated Admiral Michiel de Ruyter. The expedition was to be directed against British possessions. Whilst on route, war was declared by both sides on 4 March 1665.[5]


On April 29 de Ruyter's fleet arrived off Barbados intending to invade the island. First he had to neutralize the forts and the English warships in the area. Early in the morning de Ruyter rounded the point and entered Carlisle Bay and saw twenty nine merchant ships that lay in the bay.[6]

Barbados had however been pre warned about the impending attack and were well prepared, led by Governor Francis Willoughby. Most of the merchant ships were empty as the goods were loaded ashore. As de Ruyter entered the bay the forts and guns along with the guns from some armed merchant vessels opened fire. After an hour and a half de Ruyter had destroyed much of the English convoy, but heavy fire from the defences had caused heavy damage to De Ruyter's fleet in particular his flagship Speigel with nine men killed and 22 wounded. Unable to dent any of the defences he decided to give up the attack and withdrew from the bay with much difficulty.[3]


De Ruyter managed to withdraw to the neutral French port of Saint-Pierre at Martinique for repairs, arriving there on 1 May. His fleet was so damaged that he was unable to attack English held New York.[4]

A year later Willoughby on notification of the French having joined the Dutch side sent an expedition from Barbados against the small French garrison at Saint Lucia and captured the place establishing a short-lived English colony there.[4]

Notes Edit

  1. ^ Canny 1998, p. 137.
  2. ^ Burns, Alan (1954). History of the British West Indies. Allen & Unwin. p. 303.
  3. ^ a b Harlow 2017, pp. 2–3.
  4. ^ a b c Marley 2008, p. 159.
  5. ^ Gallay 2015, p. 27.
  6. ^ Burns 1954, p. 303.

References Edit

  • Canny, Nicholas P (1998). Oxford History of the British Empire: Origins of Empire: British Overseas Enterprise to the Close of the Seventeenth Century v. I (Oxford History of the British Empire). Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191647345.
  • Harlow, V.T, ed. (2017). Colonising Expeditions to the West Indies and Guiana, 1623-1667. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9781317164111.
  • Gallay, Alan (2015). Colonial Wars of North America, 1512-1763. Routledge. ISBN 9781317487197.
  • Marley, David (2008). Wars of the Americas: A Chronology of Armed Conflict in the Western Hemisphere. AB CLIO. ISBN 978-1598841008.