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Battle of St. Kitts (1629)
Part of the Anglo-Spanish War (1625–1630)
Spanish capture of St Kitts.jpg
The Capture of Saint Cristopher (St. Kitts) by Félix Castello.
Oil on canvas (1634) El Prado Museum.
Date17 June – 7 September 1629
LocationSaint Kitts and Nevis
Result Spanish capture of Saint Kitts and Nevis[1]
 Spain  Kingdom of England
Pavillon royal de la France.png Kingdom of France
Commanders and leaders
Spain Fadrique de Toledo
Spain Antonio de Oquendo
Kingdom of England Gov. John Wilton
4,000 men
20 galleons[2]
3,000 men
Casualties and losses
Unknown Several ships destroyed[3]
9 ships captured[4]
171 artillery pieces taken
3,100 prisoners[5]

The Battle of St. Kitts or St. Cristopher was a successful Spanish expedition that seized the islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis from the English and French during the Anglo-Spanish War (1625–1630).


By the year 1629, the colony had grown sufficiently to be regarded as a threat to the Spanish West Indies. English settlers had been recruited to the number of nearly 3,000, and guns and ammunition had been sent over.[6] Orders were given to the commander of the outward bound Spanish fleet Armada de Sotavento to Mexico to clear out the heavily armed English and French colonies.


The Spanish expedition, under the command of Admiral Fadrique de Toledo, dropped anchor at Nevis Island and captured and destroyed several English ships anchored there.[7] Spanish soldiers were then sent ashore to destroy the few newly built structures and capture the settlers.[8]

When Nevis was seized by the Spanish forces, the planters were deserted by their servants, who swam out to the Spanish ships to cries of "Liberty, joyfull Liberty,"[9] peferring collaboration with the Spanish than to the subjection of tyrannical English masters.[10]

On 7 September 1629, the Spanish expedition moved on to the sister island Saint Kitts and burned the entire settlement.[11]


By the terms of surrender, the Spanish allotted shipping to carry some 700 of the colonists back to England. But other colonists, variously estimated at 200 to 400, evaded capture by taking to the hills and woods.[12] After an agreement between the Spanish and English crowns, the Spanish departed in 1630, handing the island to England. The fugitives returned to their plantations to form the nucleus of a new phase of colonization.[13]


  • Robert L. Brenner, Merchants and Revolution: Commercial Change, Political Conflict, and London's Overseas Traders, 1550-1653, Verso (2003) ISBN 1-85984-333-6
  • John H. Elliot, Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America 1492-1830 Yale University Press ISBN 0-300-11431-1
  • Robert F. Marx, Shipwrecks in the Americas, New York (1971) ISBN 0-486-25514-X
  • Robert L. Paquette and Stanley L. Engerman, The Lesser Antilles In The Age Of European Expansion, ISBN 0-8130-1428-X
  • Robert L. Paquette, The Lesser Antilles in the Age of European Expansion, University Press of Florida (1996), ISBN 0-8130-1428-X
  • Richard B. Sheridan, Sugar and Slavery; An Economic History Of The British West Indies, 1623-1775 The Johns Hopkins University Press (1 April 1974) ISBN 0-8018-1580-0
  • Timothy R. Walton, The Spanish Treasure Fleets by Pineapple Press, (1994) ISBN 1-56164-049-2
  • David Marley, Wars of the Americas: a chronology of armed conflict in the New World, 1492 to the present, ABC-CLIO (1998), ISBN 978-0-87436-837-6


Map of the 18th century depicting the island of Saint Cristopher (Saint Kitts). By Herman Moll.

  1. Brenner p. 326
  2. Walton p.124
  3. Marx p.30
  4. Engerman/Paquette p.92
  5. Marley p.137
  6. Sheridan p.85
  7. Marx p.30
  8. Marx p.30
  9. Paquette p.93
  10. Elliot, p.103
  11. Sheridan p. 85
  12. Sheridan p.85
  13. Sheridan p.85

External links

Coordinates: 17°09′N 62°35′W / 17.15°N 62.583°W / 17.15; -62.583

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