Battle of the Bay of Biscay (1592)

The Battle of the Bay of Biscay of 1592 was a naval engagement that took place in waters of the Bay of Biscay, in November 1592, between a Spanish naval force of 5 flyboats commanded by Captain Don Pedro de Zubiaur and an English convoy of 40 ships, supported by a 6-warship squadron, as part of the Brittany Campaign during the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604) and the French Wars of Religion.[1][2] The Spanish force led by Captain Zubiaur, despite being outnumbered, engaged the English ships, achieving a resounding success.[3] The English flagship was boarded and burned, causing great confusion among the English convoy.[3][4] Shortly after, another English force composed of six warships (sent by Queen Elizabeth I of England to Bordeaux to support the French Protestants), arrived at the battle, and tried to defend the convoy.[2] After long and intense fighting, the Spaniards were victorious in battle, and three more English ships were captured, besides several ships seriously damaged.[2][3][4]

Battle of the Bay of Biscay (1592)
Part of the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604)
Bay Of Biscay (6920217642).jpg
Photography of the Bay of Biscay by Tom Bayly.
DateNovember 1592
Result Spanish victory[1][2]
 England  Spain
Commanders and leaders
Unknown Pedro de Zubiaur
6 warships[2]
40 merchant ships[3]
5 flyboats[2]
Casualties and losses
Flagship boarded and burned[2][3]
Several ships damaged
3 ships captured[3][4]
1 flyboat damaged[4]

The next year, on 18 April, in the same waters, another English naval force, commanded by Admiral Wilkenson, was defeated by Zubiaur's naval forces off the coasts of Blaye, a town besieged by land and sea by Protestant forces in the context of the French Wars of Religion.[5][6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Rincones De Historia Española. Arsenal/Prado p.166
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Extractos de las juntas celebradas por la Real Sociedad Bascongada p.80
  3. ^ a b c d e f Arsenal/Prado p.166
  4. ^ a b c d Rivas p.163
  5. ^ Fernández Duro p.86
  6. ^ Extractos de las juntas celebradas por la Real Sociedad Bascongada pp.80–81


  • Arsenal, León./Prado, Fernando. Rincones De Historia Española. Editorial EDAF S.L. Madrid 2008. ISBN 978-84-414-2050-2 (in Spanish)
  • Fernández Duro, Cesáreo (1898). Armada Española desde la unión de los reinos de Castilla y Aragón. Vol. III. Madrid. (in Spanish)
  • Extractos de las juntas celebradas por la Real Sociedad Bascongada de los amigos del país, en la villa de Bilbao por julio de 1790. Vitoria. 1790. (in Spanish)
  • MacCaffrey, Wallace T. (1994). Elizabeth I: War and Politics, 1588-1603. Princeton. Princeton University Press. USA. ISBN 978-0-691-03651-9
  • Gracia Rivas, Manuel. En el IV Centenario del fallecimiento de Pedro Zubiaur, un marino vasco del siglo XVI[permanent dead link]. Itsas Memoria. Untzi Museo Naval. San Sebastián 2006. (in Spanish)

External linksEdit