6105 - The Spanish Armada, Havana, and American Independence

This paper will address the crisis that beset the Royal Armada in the aftermath of its defeat at the hands of the British navy at Cape St. Vincent in 1797 and the implications for the Havana shipyard and Spain’s relationship to the American empire. Already beset by severe budget constraints, the fleet faced disaster once the British secured their blockage of Cádiz and thus denied the Royal Treasury secure resources to support its far-flung military apparatus. One alternative was to shift strategic emphasis to Havana, which in an earlier age had led the empire in the production of warships, and some consideration seems to be have given this option by the Godoy government, but the French invasion destroyed Madrid´s options. In the aftermath of the restoration, little realistic hope existed that an Armada with the strength necessary to maintain the empire might ever be restored.

Keywords: Armada, Cape St. Vincent, Havana, Godoy, independence

Author: Kuethe, Allan (Texas Tech University, Ud States of Am / USA)


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