Schooner Virgen de Covadonga (1859). A historical ship that participated in the Chincha Islands War and the War of the Pacific, under Spanish and Chilean flags.
It was ordered by Royal Order of June 10, 1857. Its keel was laid at the Arsenal de la Carrara in Cadiz, Spain, on February 13, 1858. She was launched on November 28, 1859.
The Covadonga was a wooden ship fitted with a steam propulsion, commissioned by Royal Command of October 8, 1858 at a total cost of 5 million Reales de Vellon. Its first commander was Lieutenant Evaristo Casariego y Garcia. It was originally destined as a mail boat between Manila and Hong Kong, with its berth at the Naval Base of Manila, in the Philippine Islands.
The ship was named after the Battle of Covadonga - a highly symbolic event in Spanish history, being considered the beginning of the Reconquista.
Chincha Islands War service
During the Chincha Islands War, the Covadonga served as an auxiliary ship to the Spanish fleet. It was captured by the Chilean corvette Esmeralda under the command of captain Juan Williams Rebolledo, during the Naval Battle of Papudo, on November 26, 1865. Its capture caused the suicide of Spanish Admiral Juan Manuel Pareja.
The Covadonga was commissioned into the Chilean navy on December 4, 1865, keeping its original name. During this war, it also participated at the Naval Battle of Abtao.
War of the Pacific service
During the War of the Pacific, the Covadonga together with the Esmeralda, as the oldest and slowest ships of the Chilean navy, were left behind to blockade the port of Iquique. There they participated in the most important naval battles of the war.
The Esmeralda faced the Huascar at the Naval Battle of Iquique, while the Covadonga defeated the inmensely superior Independencia at the Naval Battle of Punta Gruesa, both on May 21, 1879.
On September 13, 1880, while enforcing a blockade in the port of Chancay, Peru, the sailors of the Covadonga saw a beautiful boat being carried unmanned by the currents and loaded with fresh fruits and produce. While trying to lift it, it exploded, being a floating mine. The ship sunk in less than 10 minutes.
In the disaster, out of the 109 men of the crew, the commander Captain Pablo Ferrari and 32 sailors died, while 29 were rescued by the gun-boat Pilcomayo, and 48 were captured by the Peruvians. Among the dead was petty officer Constantino Micalvi, a survivor from the Naval Battle of Iquique.
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Other pages about Naval ships of Chile
-Almirante Condell 3 -Almirante Lynch 3 -Chilean destroyer Ministro Portales -Covadonga (ship) -Huascar (ship) -O'Higgins (frigate) -USS Charles J. Badger (DD-657)
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