HMS Florentina (1800)

HMS Florentina (or sometimes Florentia or Florentine), was the Spanish frigate Santa Florentina, built in 1786 at Cartagena, Spain to a design completed on 17 October 1785 by José Romero Fernández de Landa, modified from his earlier design for the Santa Casilda. The British Royal Navy captured her on 6 April 1800 and took her into service as HMS Florentina. She served in the Mediterranean until she returned to Britain in 1802 after the Treaty of Amiens. There the Admiralty had her laid-up in ordinary and she was sold in 1803.

Flag of Spain (1785–1873, 1875–1931).svgSpain
NameSanta Florentina
BuilderCartagena, Spain
Laid down3 January 1786
Launched21 December 1786
Captured6 April 1800
Great Britain
NameHMS Florentina
AcquiredBy capture 1800
Honours and
Naval General Service Medal (NGSM) with clasp "Egypt"[1]
FateSold 1803
General characteristics [2]
Tons burthen9017894 (bm)
  • 146 ft 8 in (44.7 m) (overall);
  • 119 ft 6 in (36.4 m) (keel)
Beam37 ft 8 in (11.5 m)
Depth of hold10 ft 6 in (3.2 m)
  • At capture: 114
  • British service: 260
  • Spanish service
    • Upperdeck: 26 × 12-pounder guns
    • QD: 6 × 4-pounder guns
    • Fc: 2 × 4-pounder guns
  • British service
    • Upperdeck: 26 × 12-pounder guns
    • QD: 6 × 6-pounder guns
    • Fc: 2 × 6-pounder guns

Spanish Navy serviceEdit

Santa Florentina was commissioned in March 1787 under the flag of CdE Francisco de Borja, and sailed to Cadiz for trials. In November 1787 she was under CdF José Zurita, ferrying troops from Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca, where she arrived on 10 January 1788. In 1789, under CfF José Ussel de Guimbarda, she transported Spanish consuls to Algeria and Tunisia.


In April 1800, Emerald was on blockade duty at Cadiz as part of a squadron under Rear-Admiral John Thomas Duckworth and including the 74-gun ships Leviathan and Swiftsure, and the fireship Incendiary. On 5 April the squadron sighted a Spanish convoy comprising thirteen merchant vessels and three accompanying frigates, and at once gave chase. Leviathan and Emerald eventually opened fire on the rigging of two Spanish frigates in order to disable them; shortly afterward, both Spanish frigates surrendered.[3]

Nuestra Señora del Carmen (Carmen or Carmine), Captain Don Fraquin Porcel, of 36 guns, 140 men, and 950 tons (bm), was sailing from Cadiz to Lima with a cargo of 1500 quintals of mercury, sundries of "Cards", and four 24-pounder guns stored for foreign service. She was newly coppered and had provisions for a four month voyage. She carried as a passenger Don Pedro Ynsencio Bejarano, Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Before she surrendered Carmen had 11 men killed and 16 wounded.[3]

Florentina, Lieutenant Manuel Novales, of 34 guns, 114 men, and 950 tons (bm), had been traveling from Cadiz to Lima with 1500 quintals of mercury and sundry "Cards", and five 24-pounder guns. Before she surrendered she suffered 12 killed and 10 wounded, including Norates and her second captains.[3]

On 7 April, the British sailed for Gibraltar with their prizes. On arrival they encountered Incendiary, which had made port the previous day with two captured vessels of its own. In all, the small British squadron managed to capture nine merchant vessels and two frigates.[3] The Royal Navy took both frigates into service.

British Navy serviceEdit

Commander John Broughton, late of Strombolo, was appointed to "the Florentia [sic] frigate, of 36 guns, now off Malta."[4]

In December Florentina was in company with the sloop Cynthia and the gunvessel Urchin. On 5 December they captured the French polacre Union, bound from Alexandria to France with a cargo of rice and coffee.[5] Two days later, the same three vessels captured the French brig Bon Pasteur Retrouve on the same route with rice, coffee, and sugar.[5] Six days after that, the same three vessels captured the French brig Heureuse Clairon and her cargo of rice and coffee.[5]

On 8 January 1801 Penelope captured the French bombard St. Roche, which was carrying wine, liqueurs, ironware, Delfth cloth, and various other merchandise, from Marseilles to Alexandria. Swiftsure, Tigre, Minotaur, Northumberland, Florentina, and the schooner Malta, were in sight and shared in the proceeds of the capture.[5]

In March 1801 Florentina was at the British landing at Abu Qir Bay. She is not among the vessels listed as having suffered casualties in the landing,[6] but for his services, Broughton received a gold medal from Ottoman Sultan Selim.[7]

Because Florentina served in the Navy's Egyptian campaign between 8 March 1801 and 2 September, her officers and crew qualified for the clasp "Egypt" to the Naval General Service Medal that the Admiralty authorised in 1850 for all surviving claimants.[a]

Broughton received promotion to post-captain on 3 August 1801.[9]


Florentine [sic] arrived at Portsmouth on 28 May 1802 with dispatches from Malta. She sailed eastward on 11 June to be paid off.[10] She arrived at Deptford on 17 June and was laid up.[2]

The Principal Officers and Commissioners of His Majesty's Navy offered "Florentina, 943 Tons, Copper-bottomed, lying at Deptford", for sale on 1 December 1802.[11] She did not sell until 1803.[2]


  1. ^ A first-class share of the prize money awarded in April 1823 was worth £34 2s 4d; a fifth-class share, that of a seaman, was worth 3s 11½d. The amount was small as the total had to be shared between 79 vessels and the entire army contingent.[8]


  1. ^ "No. 21077". The London Gazette. 15 March 1850. pp. 791–792.
  2. ^ a b c Winfield (2008), p. 211.
  3. ^ a b c d "No. 15253". The London Gazette. 29 April 1800. pp. 421–422.
  4. ^ Naval Chronicle, Vol. 4, p.80.
  5. ^ a b c d "No. 15358". The London Gazette. 25 April 1801. p. 447.
  6. ^ "No. 15362". The London Gazette. 5 May 1801. pp. 496–497.
  7. ^ Official Catalogue and Guide (1891), n° 2617, p.277.
  8. ^ "No. 17915". The London Gazette. 3 April 1823. p. 633.
  9. ^ Gentleman's Magazine (1837), p.651.
  10. ^ Naval Chronicle, Vol. 7, p.530.
  11. ^ "No. 15532". The London Gazette. 13 November 1801. p. 1196.


  • Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 978-1-86176-246-7.