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Battle of Havana
Part of the War of Jenkins' Ear,
War of the Austrian Succession
Knowles Action.jpg
Knowle's flagship loses her topmast during the battle
DateOctober 12, 1748
LocationCaribbean Sea, near Havana, Cuba
Result Indecisive[1][2]
Tactical British victory[3][4][5][6]
Safe passage of Spanish treasure fleet[2]
 Kingdom of Great Britain Spain Spain
Commanders and leaders
Charles Knowles Andrés Reggio y Brachiforte
2 third-rates,
5 fourth-rates
2 third-rates,
4 fourth-rates,
1 frigate
Casualties and losses
3 ships damaged
59 killed and 120 wounded[7]
1 ship captured
1 ship destroyed[8]
86 dead and 197 wounded[4][9]
470 captured[7]

The Battle of Havana was an engagement between the British Caribbean squadron and a Spanish squadron based near Havana. The action unfolded with each side at once anxious to cover its own trade and to intercept that of the other. After a number of aborted attacks, the British succeeded in driving the Spanish back to their harbour after capturing the Conquistador and running the vice-admiral's ship Africa on shore where she was blown up by her own crew after being totally dismasted and made helpless. Both commanders, Charles Knowles and Don Andres Reggio, were reprimanded by their respective commands for their conduct during the engagement, in Knowles' case for not bringing his full fleet to bear and achieving a total rout. Although the advantage clearly had been with Knowles, he failed to use this to deliver a decisive blow. It was the last major action in the War of Jenkin's Ear (1739–48), which had merged with the larger War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48).

Ships involved[]


Cornwall 80 (flag, Charles Knowles)
Lenox 70 (Charles Holmes)
Tilbury 60 (Charles Pawlet)
Strafford 60 (David Brodie)
Warwick 60 (Thomas Innes)
Canterbury 60 (Edward Clarke)
Oxford 50 (Edmund Toll)


Africa 70/74 (flag 1, Andrés Reggio y Brachiforte)
Invencible 70/74 (flag 2, Benito Spínola)
Conquistador 60/64 (Tomás de San Justo)
Dragón 60/64 (Manuel de Paz)
Nueva España 60/64 (Fernando Varela)
Real Familia 60/64 (Marcos Forastal)
Galga 30/36 (Pedro de Garaycoechea)


  1. Palmer, Michael: Command at sea: naval command and control since the sixteenth century. Harvard University Press, 2005, page 103. ISBN 0-674-01681-5
  2. 2.0 2.1 McNeill, John Robert: Atlantic empires of France and Spain: Louisbourg and Havana, 1700-1763. University of North Carolina Press, 1985, page 98
  3. Marley, David: Wars of the Americas: a chronology of armed conflict in the New World, 1492 to the present. ABC-CLIO, 1998, page 273. ISBN 0-87436-837-5
  4. 4.0 4.1 Clowes, William: The Royal Navy: A History from the Earliest Times to the Present Volume III. Chatham Publishing (October 1996), page 136. ISBN 1-86176-010-8
  5. Bruce, Anthony: An Encyclopedia of Naval History Checkmark Books 1999, page 213. ISBN 0-8160-4068-0
  6. Tunstall, Brian: Naval warfare in the age of sail: the evolution of fighting tactics, 1650-1815 Wellfleet Press, New Jersey, 2001 Page 102. ISBN 0-7858-1426-4
  7. 7.0 7.1 Bruce, Anthony: An Encyclopedia of Naval History Checkmark Books 1999, page 289. ISBN 0-8160-4068-0
  8. Marley pg. 273
  9. Clodfelter, Michael: Warfare and armed conflicts: a statistical reference to casualty and other figures, 1500-2000. McFarland, 2002, page 82. ISBN 0-7864-1204-6

External links[]

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