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Battle of Cartagena
Part of the Germanic Wars
Date461 CE
LocationCartagena,  Spain
Result Decisive Vandalic victory
Vandals Roman Empire
17 ships 40 ships
Casualties and losses
40 ships

The Battle of Cartagena occurred on May 13, 461, and was part of the Wars of Majorian.


In 457, the Roman general Majorian succeeded to the throne of the Western Roman Empire, which at this time only controlled Italy. Majorian immediately set about restoring the empire to its former boundaries. In 458, he invaded France and defeated Theodoric II of the Visigoths, briefly restoring Roman rule to southern France. Majorian then began to assemble a fleet at Cartagena, Spain, with which he intended to invade the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa.

The battle

By spring 461, Majorian had 40 ships already built and he would have had another five ready by the autumn. The Vandals decided to strike before the Roman navy became unbeatable. On May 13, a fleet of 17 Vandal ships surprised the Roman fleet. Many of the Roman captains had been bribed to switch sides. The Roman navy was totally destroyed, ending any hope of reconquering North Africa.

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