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Battle of Leghorn
Part of the First Anglo-Dutch War
Van Diest, Battle of Leghorn.jpg
The Battle of Leghorn, 14 March 1653 by Willem van Diest, painted mid-17th century
Date14 March 1653
Locationnear Livorno, Italy
Result Dutch victory
Flag of The Commonwealth.svg Commonwealth of England  United Provinces
Commanders and leaders
Henry Appleton
Richard Badiley
Johan van Galen
Casualties and losses
2 ships sunk
3 ships captured
150 dead or injured
50 captured

The naval Battle of Leghorn (the Dutch call the encounter by the Italian name Livorno) took place on 14 March (4 March Old Style) 1653, during the First Anglo-Dutch War, near Leghorn (Livorno), Italy. It was a victory of a Dutch fleet under Commodore Johan van Galen over an English squadron under Captain Henry Appleton. Afterward an English fleet under Captain Richard Badiley, which Appleton had been trying to reach, came up but was outnumbered and fled.

In 1652 the government of the Commonwealth of England, mistakenly believing that the Dutch had been defeated at the Battle of the Kentish Knock, split their fleet between the Mediterranean and home waters. This division of forces led to a defeat at the Battle of Dungeness in December 1652, and by early 1653 the situation in the Mediterranean was critical too. Appleton's squadron of six ships was trapped in Leghorn by a blockading Dutch fleet of 16 ships, while Richard Badiley's of eight was at Elba.

The only hope for the English was to combine their forces, but Appleton sailed too soon and engaged with the Dutch before Badiley could come up to help. Three of his ships were captured and two destroyed and only Mary, sailing faster than the Dutch ships, escaped to join Badiley. Badiley engaged the Dutch, but was heavily outnumbered and retreated.

The battle gave the Dutch command of the Mediterranean, placing the English trade with the Levant at their mercy, but Van Galen was mortally wounded, dying on 23 March.

One of the Dutch captains at the battle was son of Lieutenant-Admiral Maarten Tromp, Cornelis Tromp, who was to become a famous admiral himself.

Ships involved

Netherlands (Johan van Galen)

The battle of Livorno (Leghorn). Johannes Lingelbach

The Battle of Leghorn, 1653 by Reinier Nooms.

Vereenigde Provincien/Zeven Provincien (United Provinces/Seven Provinces) 40 (flag)
Eendracht (Concord) 40 (Jacob de Boer)
Maan (Moon) 40 (Cornelis Tromp)
Ter Goes 40
Zon (Sun) 40
Zutphen 36
Maagd van Enkhuysen (Maiden of Enkhuysen) 34
Jonge Prins (Young Prince) 28
Julius Caesar 28 (hired merchantman)
Witte Olifant (White Elephant) 28 (hired Italian merchantman Elefante Bianco; captain Sijbrant Janszoon Mol)
Madonna della Vigna 28 (hired merchantman) - Ran aground north of Livorno harbor
Susanna 28 (hired merchantman)
Zwarte Arend (Black Eagle) 28
Salomons Oordeel 28 (hired merchantman)
Roode Haes (Red Hare) 28 (hired merchantman)
Ster (Star) 28 (hired merchantman)


Henry Appleton's squadron
Bonaventure 44 (Stephen Lyne) - Blown up by Vereenigde Provincien
Leopard 48 (flag) - Captured (by Eendracht?)
Sam(p)son 40 (hired merchantman, Edmund Seaman) - Burnt by fireship
Mary 30 (hired merchantman, Benjamin Fisher)
Peregrine 30 (hired merchantman, John Wood) - Captured by Zwarte Arend
Levant Merchant 28/30? (hired merchantman, Stephen Marsh) - Captured by Maagd van Enkhuysen
Richard Badiley's fleet
Paragon 52 (flag)
Phoenix 36 (Owen Cox)
Elizabeth 36 (Jonas Reeves)
Constant Warwick 32 (Upshott)
Mary Rose 32 (hired merchantman, John Turtley)
Lewis 30 (hired merchantman, William Elle)
William and Thomas 30 (hired merchantman, John Godolphin)
Thomas Bonaventure 28 (hired merchantman, George Hughes)
? (fireship, Peter Whyting)

The fireship is listed as Charity in Mariner's Mirror vol. 49, but according to Mariner's Mirror vol. 24 that ship was expended during an action off Plymouth on 27 August 1652.


  • Mariner's Mirror volume 24 (1938)
  • Mariner's Mirror volume 49 (1963)

External links

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