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Date Posted: 18:16:16 02/25/17 Sat
Author: Ruyter
Subject: Re: The Twelve Apostles (second series)
In reply to: John Houghton 's message, "Re: The Twelve Apostles (second series)" on 17:30:37 02/23/17 Thu

Thank you John, I remember this article I found a few years ago.

Unfortunately, is not solving the 'mystery' of all 12 ships.

There is quite a lot of information regarding these galleons and their building process. Such as the Royal Order from January 1589 that entrusts Juan de Cardona (a veteran of Lepanto) to supervise and coordinate the construction of 12 galleons (of the above given dimensions and tonnage) under the direct payment of the Royal Administration. We find that Juan de Cardona needs to sign contracts (asientos) in the name of the King with private shipbuilders from the Northern maritime provinces of Castile, as the Spanish Crown lacked appropriate shipbuilding facilities, logistics and knowledge to build them itself:
- with Fernando (or Hernando) de la Riva Herrera to build 4 galleons in Santander or Guarnizo (in the province of Cantabria, better known those times as "Las Cuatro Villas de la Costa de la Mar").
- with Agustin de Ojeda and Jorge Vallejo to built 4 more in the Ria of Bilbao (in the province Vizcaya).
- with Francisco de Arriola to build the last 4 galleons in the province of Guipuzcoa.

Afterwards, sources say that Hernando de la Riva Herrera actually built 6 galleons in Guarnizo, whereas Agustin de Ojeda built the other 6 galleons in Deusto.
We even know which built some of the galleons: Riva Herrera built the "San Pablo", "San Pedro", "San Andres" and "San Juan", while Ojeda built the "San Bartolome" for sure.
English sources state that 6 galleons were built in Bilbao: "San Felipe", "San Juan", "San Tadeo", "San Bernabe", "San Mateo" and "San Bartolome". While the other 6 were built in Santander: "San Pablo", "San Pedro", "San Simon", "Santiago el Mayor", "San Andres" and "Santo Tomas". But I don't know which are the original sources of the English (although so far they concur with the Spanish ones).

As you can see, it is a custom in Habsburg Spain for the things not to go by the original plans (built by 2 shipbuilders in 2 shipyards, instead of 4 in 3 places), as these shipbuilders sure did not build all galleons by the exact dimensions required by the king (as remarked so many times on all the later contracts when private shipbuilders built ships on royal instructions and regulations).

The dimensions and tonnage each galleon had is the real tricky part! So far I found 6 different sources giving pairs of tonnage for some of the galleons, of course each source with it's own type of tonnage, that makes comparing tonnage between sources almost impossible.

The article you pointed at, John, mentions 5 of the new Apostles in 1591:
"San Felipe" (1480 toneladas)
"San Bernabe" (876 toneladas)
"San Pablo" (1480 toneladas)
"San Andres" (1056 toneladas)
"Santo Tomas" (776 toneladas)

Next source I found it in Huguette et Pierre CHAUNU, "Séville et l'Atlantique (1504-1650)" when the Armada of Tierra Firme from 1594-1595 included 2 Apostles as Capitana and, respectively, Almiranta:
"San Felipe" (1296 toneladas)
"San Andres" (926 toneladas)

When Drake attacks Cadiz in 1596, English sources give the tonnage for several of the Apostles destroyed or captured on this occasion:
"San Felipe" (1500 tons)
"San Mateo" (1200 tons)
"San Andres" (1200 tons)
"Santo Tomas" (1300 tons)
Too bad I could not find any measurement the English might have taken of the two prizes (they eventually gave back by the Peace Treaty of 1604) - "San Mateo" and "San Andres".

The Spanish sources mention 4 more Apostles as part of the Second Spanish Armada of late 1596:
"San Bartolome" (900 toneladas)
"San Pablo" (1200 toneladas)
"San Pedro" (1200 toneladas)
"Santiago" (900 toneladas)

And then again 3 more Apostles in the Third Spanish Armada of 1597:
"San Bartolome" (900 toneladas)
"San Pablo" (1200 toneladas)
"San Pedro" (1000 toneladas)

I could not find any information about the tonnage of "San Juan", "San Tadeo" and "San Simon".
English sources say that "San Simon" was turned into a carrack, and I assume it was given to the Portuguese for their India Carreira - which annals mention a "Sao Simao" galleon going to India in 1598, 1601, 1603 and finally in 1605, when it is said to have 700 or 900 tons (Portuguese? or Dutch lasts transformed into tons?), ending it's career in 1606 at the hands of the Dutch VOC fleet in the Battle of Cape Rachado, captured and burnt. A career from 1591 to 1606 doesn't seem improbable for a Spanish/Portuguese galleon at the turn of the XVII century.

Perhaps there are more comprehensive sources to bring light on the matter of all 12 Apostles: which one was built where, by whom and which dimensions did it have.

Best regards,


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