The Spanish Navy

spanish navy

The Spanish Navy


Attributes of the Spanish Navy

The Spanish Navy is one of the longest active maritime military branches in the world. Along with the Spanish Navy’s longevity, they also lay claim to many notable achievements that have subsequently affected the entire war.  In 1492, under the charge of Christopher Columbus, Spanish fleets discovered America and its inhabitants. Twenty years later, Ferdinand Magellan sailed a Spanish fleet around the world; they were the first to do so. The Spanish Navy also pioneered the route across the Pacific Ocean from the Far East to America. Spain’s rich navel history has added greatly to the world’s development through discovery, innovation, and war.


The Spanish Navy owes its success to the consolidation of Spain near the end of the Middle Ages. During the Middle Ages, Spain was split into the kingdoms of Aragon and Castile. Both of which had excellent navies. Aragon’s navy was only rivaled by that of Venice, and during the 14th and 15th centuries, Aragon’s navy ruled the Mediterranean. Castile’s navy was an important element in the war against the Spanish Moors and in the aiding of the French in the Hundred Years War. In 1402, Castile began the tradition of Spanish conquistadors, by sponsoring an expedition and conquering of the Canary Islands.

Habsburg Era

The Habsburg Era is marked by Spain’s immense overseas expansion. After Columbus’ discovery of America, Spanish fleets were sent to many Caribbean islands, and to mainland Mexico, Peru, Florida, and Texas. The ships carried Spanish explores and military men who were looking for new trade routes, riches, lands to settle, and even the fountain of youth. Up to the 17th century, Spain conquered most of the Caribbean, Mexico, and parts of South America. Mexico was dubbed “New Spain” and the Spanish monarchy ruled over one of the largest empires in the world.

Recent History

The early 1800s brought a few devastating blows to the Spanish Navy. Much of Spain’s fleet was lost fighting against Napoleon in 1808, and the Spanish American War almost brought the navy to a full collapse. The 20th century brought innovation and growth to the Spanish Navy. Spain has begun to recapture its place as one of the world’s best navies.

Spain is now a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and has aided the world in peacekeeping missions in Haiti. The Spanish navy is a complete, modernized navy, equipped with modern, frigates, minesweepers, submarines, amphibious ships, and aircraft carriers.