Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation, by Richard Hakluyt

A particular note of the Indian fleet, expected to haue come into Spaine this present yeere of 1591. with the number of shippes that are perished of the same: according to the examination of certaine Spaniards lately taken and brought into England by the ships of London.

The fleete of Noua Hispania, at their first gathering together and setting foorth, were two and fiftie sailes. The Admirall was of sixe hundred tunnes, and the Vice Admirall of the same burthen. Foure or fiue of the shippes were of nine hundred and 1000 tunnes a piece, some fiue hundred, and some foure hundred and the least of two hundred tuns. Of this fleet 19 were cast away, and in them 2600 men by estimation, which was done along the coast of Noua Hispania, so that of the same fleet there came to the Hauana but 33 sailes.

The fleete of Terra Firma were, at their first departure from Spaine, fiftie sailes, which were bound for Nombre de Dios, where they did discharge their lading, and thence returned to Cartagena, for their healths sake, vntill the time the treasure was readie they should take in, at the said Nombre de Dios. But before this fleete departed, some were gone by one or two at a time, so that onely 23 sayles of this fieete arriued in the Hauana.

At the Hauana there met

33 sailes of Noua Hispania. 23 sailes of Terra Firma. 12 sailes of San Domingo. 9 sailes of the Hunduras.

The whole 77 shippes, ioyned and set sailes all together at the Hauana, the 17 of Iuly, according to our account, and kept together vntill they came into the height of thirtie fiue degrees, which was about the tenth of August, where they found the winde at Southwest chaunged suddenly to the North, so that the sea comming out of the Southwest, and the wind very violent at North, they were put all into great extremitie, and then first lost the Generall of their fleete, with 500 men in her; and within three or foure dayes after, an other storme rising, there were fiue or sixe other of the biggest shippes cast away with all their men, together with their Vice–Admirall.

And in the height of 38. degrees, about the end of August, grew another great storme, in which all the fleet sauing 48. sailes were cast away: which 48. sailes kept together, vntill they came in sight of the Ilands of Coruo and Flores, about the fift or sixt of September, at which time a great storme separated them: of which number fifteene or sixteene were after seene by these Spanyards to ride at anchor vnder the Tercera; and twelue or foureteene more to beare with the Island of S. Michael; what became of them after that these Spaniards were taken cannot yet be certified; their opinion as, that very few of thee fleet are escaped, but are either drowned or taken. And it is other waies of late certified, that of this whole fleete that should haue come into Spaine this yeere, being one hundred twentie and three sayle, there are arriued as yet but fiue and twentie. This note was taken out of the examination of certaine Spaniardes, that were brought into England by sixe of the ships of London, which tooke seuen of the aboue named Indian Fleete, neere the Islands of the Açores.

Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:09