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Battle of Málaga
Part of the War of the Spanish Succession
Battle of Malaga, 1704.jpg
The Battle of Malaga by Isaac Sailmaker. Oil on canvas, 1704.
Date24 August 1704
Locationnear Málaga, Spain
36°42′15″N 4°22′10″W / 36.704293°N 4.369526°W / 36.704293; -4.369526Coordinates: 36°42′15″N 4°22′10″W / 36.704293°N 4.369526°W / 36.704293; -4.369526
Result Tactically indecisive; Grand Alliance strategic victory
 Kingdom of France[1]
Spain Bourbon Spain
 Kingdom of England
 United Provinces
Commanders and leaders

Comte de Toulouse

Victor-Marie d'Estrées
George Rooke
50 warships
6 frigates
(3,577 guns)
24,275 men
53 ships of the line
6 frigates
7 fireships
28 galleys
(3,614 guns)
22,543 men
Casualties and losses
1,600 dead or wounded 2,700 dead or wounded

The Battle of Málaga (or Vélez-Málaga) was the largest naval battle in the War of the Spanish Succession. It took place on 24 August 1704, south of Málaga, Spain.

The battle

Less than a week after the Capture of Gibraltar, Admiral George Rooke received intelligence that a French fleet under the command of Toulouse and d'Estrées was approaching Gibraltar. Leaving half his marines to defend the newly won prize, Rooke immediately set off with his combined Anglo-Dutch fleet to engage the French.

The outcome of the action that followed, the Battle of Vélez-Málaga, was indecisive. Not a single vessel was sunk or captured on either side but the mutual battering left many ships barely seaworthy and casualties on both sides were high. As the French and the British approached each other two days later, on 26 August, they finally decided not to engage each other. Considering the British had a significantly higher number of casualties and highly damaged ships, particularly their masts, the French mistakenly interpreted the British fleet's prudence as an overall victory. Byng's squadron, having expended so much ammunition in the previous bombardment of Gibraltar, was obliged to quit the line.

The French had returned to Toulon claiming victory. The reality was, however, that by retreating to Toulon the French turned what had been a tactical stalemate into an Anglo-Dutch strategic victory, because after the Battle of Vélez-Málaga the French Navy never again emerged from Toulon in full strength.

Ships involved

England/Netherlands (George Rooke)

(90-gunners and above were 3-deckers)




The rear division comprised the Dutch element of the Anglo-Dutch fleet.

  • Graaf van Albemarle (64, flag of Lieutenant-Admiral Gerard Callenburgh) - blew up on 27 August on the way back to Gibraltar.
  • Unie (90, flag of Vice-Admiral J. G. van Wassenaer)
  • Gelderland (72, Capt. P. Schrijver)
  • Dordrecht (72, Capt. van der Pot)
  • Katwijk (72, Capt. J. C. Ockersse)
  • Wapen van Vriesland (64, Capt. C. Middagten)
  • Wapen van Utrecht (64, Capt. Bolck)
  • Bannier (64, Capt. J. W. van Ghent)
  • Leeuw (64)
  • Vlissingen (64)
  • Nijmegen (54, Capt. H. Lijnslager)
  • Damiaten (52)


  • Five frigates
    • Larke (40, Captain Charles Fotherby)
    • Roebuck (40, Cptain Thomas Kempthorne)
    • Charles Galley (32, Captain Joseph Taylor)
    • Tartar (32, Captain John Cooper)
    • Newport (24, Captain George Paddon)
  • Two (bomb)s
    • Hare
    • Terror (Captain Isaac Cook)
  • Seven fireships
    • Firebrand (Cmdr. Henry Turvill)
    • Griffin (Cmdr. George Ramsey)
    • Hunter (Cmdr. Thomas Legge)
    • Lightning (Cmdr. Archibald Hamilton)
    • Phoenix (Cmdr. Edmund Hicks)
    • Vulcan (Cmdr. John Clifton)
    • Vulture (Cmdr. George Fisher)
  • Two hospital ships
    • Princess Anne (Cmdr. Charles Guy)
    • Jefferies (Cmdr. Thomas Robinson)
  • One yacht
    • William and Mary (Cmdr. John Robinson)


3614 guns, 22543 men

France (Toulouse and d'Estrées)

  • Sérieux (70, Chamelin)
  • Foudroyant (104, flagship of Toulouse)


  • Fier (flag of VA de Villette Mursay)
  • Excellence
  • Sage
  • Intrépide (Jean du Casse)
  • Constant (Sainte-Maure)



  • ? (flag of RA de Langeron)
  • others


  • 6 frigates
  • 6 fireships
  • 28 large galleys
  • 5 tenders


3577 guns, 24275 men


  1. George Ripley, Charles Anderson Dana, The American Cyclopaedia, New York, 1874, p. 250, "...the standard of France was white, sprinkled with golden fleur de lis...". *[1] The original Banner of France was strewn with fleurs-de-lis. *[2]:on the reverse of this plate it says: "Le pavillon royal était véritablement le drapeau national au dix-huitième siecle...Vue du chateau d'arrière d'un vaisseau de guerre de haut rang portant le pavillon royal (blanc, avec les armes de France)."[3] from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica: "The oriflamme and the Chape de St Martin were succeeded at the end of the 16th century, when Henry III., the last of the house of Valois, came to the throne, by the white standard powdered with fleurs-de-lis. This in turn gave place to the famous tricolour."

External links

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