On the eve of the disaster at Trafalgar, Federico Gravina , the highest authority of the Spanish Armada in the battle, and other senior officers as Churruca or Cisneros were strong discussions with the commanders the French on the strategy to follow against the Royal Navy . Finally, we imposed the criterion gaul and the battle of 21 October 1805 became a cruel defeat for Spain, where perished the fruits of one of the best generations of sailors in our history, including their own Gravina, who died months later after losing an arm in the cast.
Even today there is debate about the responsibility that had the lieutenant-general in the defeat, not because they doubt their ability to sacrifice, or his talent, but because Spain went to battle without his best marine, José de Mazarredo , top of Gravina in previous campaigns, that was removed from the first line by the pressures of Napoleon and intrigues of the Court . If Mazarredo would have been able or not to save the Navy at Trafalgar enters into the territory of historical fiction, but it is a doubt as unreasonable given the victories against the English, almost unknown, that the basque marshal, dates prior to the defeats of Cabo San Vicente and Trafalgar .Guerrero since the tender age
José de Mazarredo Salazar, born in march 1745, sat square in the Company of Marine Guards about to turn 14 years old. In this quarry marine picture is curtió in the fight against the corsairs of the Mediterranean, and distinguished himself as a gifted of the navigation, when, standing guard in the chambequín Andalusian, prevented with his skill that the boat is estrellase against the rocks near las salinas de La Mata (Alicante) . He saved the lives of 300 people and catapulted his name to the high rooms of the Navy.Portrait of the Spanish marine Federico Gravina
Sailor, soldier, and, in the line of his generation, also a scientist. In parallel to his rise in the Navy, the basque developed their research around the chance of obtaining the longitude by the distance of the Moon to a star. Next to Ruiz de Apodaca and Lángara were obtained by result in a difference of two degrees to the west with respect to the traditional estimated.
At the military level, was unveiled during the ill-fated Spanish expedition of Algiers in 1775. That year, general O'reilly staged a landing on the coast in algeria that left 20.000 soldiers stranded on the beach at the mercy of the harassment of 12,000 horsemen enemies from both flanks. As an assistant to the major general of the squad, Mazarredo played a critical role in the operation of reembarque of the soldiers abandoned. It is said that when he climbed Mazarredo aboard the vessel flagship Velasco, the Count of O'reilly , who was there, hugged him and said:
"Friend of Mazarredo: the wheel of fortune is not spinning always silk; but for you it will be this day so memorable that it will be hard to concede to another that you shall do the greatest honor in his career."From your different posts, tried to reorganize the Navy, to increase the discipline in their crews, and to introduce a system of signals for communication between ships
Carlos III made the basque navy as a reward for their good services warrant officer the Company of Marine Guards of Cadiz , with the promotion to frigate captain (1776), and, a few months after, a ship's captain, when he was only thirty-one years of age. From their different positions, tried to reorganize the Navy, to increase the discipline in their crews, and to introduce a system of signals for communication between ships. Their innovations could be seen in the practice during the nth war between Spain and Great Britain of the NINETEENTH century, on this occasion due to the Spanish support to 13 Colonies , the germ of what would become the U.S.The decline of the Navy
During the naval blockade of Gibraltar in 1779, the basque navy launched a bold maneuver to attack the height of the Azores an important convoy English of seventy, and three candles, trying to divert the attention towards The Indies in spain. Mazarredo apprehended fifty-five candles, and three frigates that went on to serve the Spanish Armada. In these same waters, took part in the inconclusive battle of Cape Spartel (1782) who faced up to 46 ships of the line Spanish against the 34 ships of the line british.
In the five hours that lasted the lance, Mazarredo gave proof of great courage and cold blood, so that even the british praised their maneuvers. After the peace with England, would be promoted to chief of squadron, and destined to lead the three companies of midshipmen, the El Ferrol, Cádiz and Cartagena, where, in the words of the enlightened Martín Fernández de Navarrete furthered the science in the Navy:
"as soon as there was by then scientific expeditions, which was not to propose, or at the convenience of your reports, one of which is the year of 1791, of Churruca, to lift the coasts of the Antilles and Costa Firm"Infante don Pelayo comes to the rescue of the Holy Trinity in Cape St. Vincent
In the following decade, however, the brilliant career of Marrazo ran into political intrigues of all kinds and hardness. Their differences with the minister of Navy Pedro Varela and Ulloa , who accused him of not taking care properly the squadron in the Mediterranean, he was compelled to resign their charges, and went to a lesser liability in Ferrol, as one who hides a shiny stone in the mud. In addition, you will be banned to pass to the court, making him believe the King, that the basque was crazy. Not in vain, the changes within the Navy revealed proven wrong when new battles against England resulted in defeats of the draft cape St. Vincent (1797). Watching the bulls from the barrier, Mazarredo expressed his opinion on the state of the Navy:
"...the truth is evident and undeniable that today the Navy is only a shadow of the force very inferior to that it appears, and that it would fade to the first campaign..."what is the use Of the English have frigates light?
A group of veteran officers wasted no time in asking for audience with the Queen to recover in Mazarredo for the first line of battle, and convince the kings that had not upset the trial. Maria Luisa of Parma called her husband, who appoint Mazarredo general commander of all forces atlantic, which made the King, by the way, quite quickly because the same day I took command, on the 8th of April, 1797, John Jervis kept locked Cadiz.
despite the careless who had been in the Navy, Mazarredo, on board of his ship badge the Concept , managed to organise the defenses and gather one hundred and thirty six vessels in a matter of two months. With the help of the basque, Cadiz rejected two attacks of Nelson and was even able to break the naval blockade, to which the city's people sang:
"what good is it to the English / have frigates light / if you know that Mazarredo / has gunboats?".Battle of Trafalgar, oil on canvas by Justo Ruiz Luna (1889-90)
Representing the interests spaniards in Paris against Napoleon, he was opposed to the plans of the that, sooner rather than later, he would become the Emperor of the French, who held it in Paris for a long time and forced his release before the Spanish Government. The coup de grace to his career came when he refused to the Secretary of the Navy by the calamitous state and the scarcity of means showed that the Navy, in view of the disaster which, with reason, to come.
When in 1803 was created the Admiralty , it was not considered appropriate to call Mazarredo his retirement in Bilbao, despite the unanimous opinion of the entire Navy. Hence, in the battle of Trafalgar (1805) were not present and, therefore, nothing could be done to avoid the defeat, sponsored by Nelson and company of the fleet franco-Spanish. In total, we lost ten ships of the fifteen that made up the Spanish squad, although worse was the blow to France, which lost twelve of eighteen in the entire campaign.
an Exile in the north, with a ban on visiting the court, the Actual Sites and the lordship of Biscay , the court intrigues broke down the best talent that the Spanish waters saw in that century. In his beloved Bilbao he was at the beginning of the War of Independence, where he aligned himself with Napoleon despite of the differences that had in the past with him. Mazarredo moved to Bayonne and accepted of Joseph I take charge of the Secretariats of State and the Office of Marine, as well as the General Direction of the Navy .
Downstairs, and plague by their peers, nothing saved since the prestige of Mazarredo, even when moved to Ferrol in person to prevent the knobs French moved eleven ships, four frigates and some other ships to France. He died in 1812 due to the gout I suffered from years ago, and the moral decay of being isolated by their peers.Updated Date: 27 September 2019, 14:03