Four Treasure ships
The Trafalgar Collection.
It was this frigate action that caused Spain to enter the Napoleonic Wars.
Exhibited at the European Parliament, May 2011
Measures 30 x 45 cms (12″ x 18″), oils, available, £28,000
Is based on the detailed account to be found in W.M. James The Naval History of Great Britain, volume 3, Conway Books, (from page 280 onwards) ISBN 0-85177-907-7
In this painting you see the height of the combat.
The British frigates, more deftly handled have taken classic positions off the quarters of the Spanish ships.
“The Loss of Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes”
Intelligence was believed by the British Government who sent 4 British Royal Navy frigates to arrest 2 Royal Spanish Navy frigates.
The interception was managed faultlessly. Unfortunately there were 4 Spanish frigates, all laden with an immense treasure, unprepared for combat, Spain was at peace.
Captain Graham Moore (HMS Indefatigable, 44) was under orders to ‘detain’ the Spanish ships.
Rear Admiral Don Joseph Bustamente in the ‘Farma‘, give odds of 4 against 4 was not going to surrender with out a fight so fight the Spanish did and most gallantly.
The Spanish ships were Farma, Medea, Mercedes, Clara, the British were, Medusa, Indefatigable, Amphion, and Lively.
One of the four Spanish frigates, the “Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes”, in an action with the 4 British frigates blew up with great loss of life and promptly sank, 5th October 1804.
At the time, this action was much reported and after the event, the subject of a major debate in the House of Commons, London.
Click on the image above or the images below to see more detail.
The the full story of “Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes” and her treasure is, as is often the case, is much more intriguing and not over yet… her wreck has been located.
‘The Loss of Las Mercedes‘ was one of the 35 paintings shown at the invitation of the European Parliament, Brussels, May 2011.
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