Spanish ship Principe de Asturias (1794)

The Príncipe de Asturias (Prince of Asturias) was a Spanish three-deck 112-gun ship of the line, named after Ferdinand, eldest surviving son of Charles IV of Spain and heir apparent with the title Prince of Asturias. She served during the Napoleonic wars escorting convoys, and fought at different times against both the British and French navies. Her invocation name was Los Santos Reyes (the Holy Kings).[1]

A055a161 0950 (cropped) Combatido en Trafalgar por cuatro navíos ingleses, el navío español que montaba el almirante Gravina.jpg
Principe de Asturias, flagship of Admiral Federico Gravina, during the Battle of Trafalgar.
Flag of Spain (1785-1873 and 1875-1931).svgSpain
NamePrincipe de Asturias
BuilderReal Astillero de La Habana, Havana
Launched28 January 1794
  • Went down in 1814
  • Sold for scrap 1817
General characteristics
Class and typeSanta Ana-class ship of the line
Tonnage2,453 tons
Length58.14 m
Beam15.5 m
Draught7.37 m
Sail planFull-rigged ship
  • On launch:
  • 30 × 36-pounder cannon
  • 32 × 24-pounder cannon
  • 32 × 12-pounder cannon
  • 18 × 8-pounder cannon
  • At Trafalgar:
  • 30 × 36-pounder cannon
  • 32 × 24-pounder cannon
  • 30 × 12-pounder cannon
  • 4 × 8-pounder cannon
  • 14 × 48-pounder howitzers


She was built in Havana, Cuba in 1794 as part of the Santa Ana class designed by Romero Landa. She was the last one built of the eight ship class and launched on 28 January 1794.


She arrived in Cádiz on 17 May 1795 after escorting a valuable convoy.

Cape St VincentEdit

In 1797 she was commanded by Antonio de Escaño,and was part of a squadron under general José de Córdova to escort another convoy. After completing that mission, but before reaching Cádiz, the squadron was surprised by a sudden storm which blew them further out to sea. While making their way back they encountered and were defeated by a British squadron on 14 February 1797 at the Battle of Cape St Vincent, The Príncipe de Asturias had 10 killed and 19 wounded, and helped save the Spanish flagship, the Santísima Trinidad, while it was under attack by British Commodore Horatio Nelson.


At the Battle of Trafalgar, she was part of the Franco-Spanish fleet and the flagship of Spanish admiral Federico Gravina, who died a year later from wounds he received during the battle, with Rafael Hore as his flag captain. During the battle Gravina found himself attacked by three British ships. The main mast and mizzen were shot through, rigging and sails shot to pieces. Gravina's left arm was shattered by grapeshot, and seeing a looming defeat, he managed to gather ten ships around the Príncipe de Asturias which suffered 50 killed and 110 wounded. After the battle the ship had to be towed by the French frigate Thémis and then underwent major repairs in Cádiz.

War with FranceEdit

After the French invasion of Spain in 1808, she then served during the Spanish War of Independence (from French occupation), which was part of the Peninsular War. She was the flagship of Juan Ruiz de Apodaca during the capture of the Rosily Squadron of the French ships of the line Neptune, Algesiras, Argonaute, Héros, Plutón and the frigate Cornélie. In September 1810 she and the Santa Ana crossed the Atlantic to Havana to avoid capture by the French. She struck a rock and went down in 1814, and was later sold for scrap in 1817.


Content in this article is translated from the existing Spanish Wikipedia article at es:Príncipe de Asturias (1794); see its history for attribution.

  1. ^ Aragón Martín, Luis (5 November 2005). Militares y Navíos Españoles que participaron en Trafalgar (PDF). Ministerio de Defensa. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 November 2009.