HMS Africa (1781)

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Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Africa
Ordered: 11 February 1778
Builder: Barnard, Deptford
Laid down: 2 March 1778
Launched: 11 April 1781
Honours and

Participated in:

Fate: Broken up, May 1814
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Inflexible-class ship of the line
Tons burthen: 1379 tons (1401.1 tonnes)
Length: 159 ft (48 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 44 ft 4 in (13.51 m)
Depth of hold: 18 ft 10 in (5.74 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship

64 guns:

  • Gundeck: 26 × 24 pdrs
  • Upper gundeck: 26 × 18 pdrs
  • Quarterdeck: 10 × 4 pdrs
  • Forecastle: 2 × 9 pdrs

HMS Africa was a 64-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched by Barnard at Deptford on 11 April 1781.[1]

During the American War of Independence, she was sent out to India in early 1782 as part of a squadron of five ships under Commodore Sir Richard Bickerton, arriving too late for the battles of that year. But Africa took part in the last battle of the war, at Cuddalore in 1783. She returned to England once news of the peace arrived.[citation needed]

Africa was present at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 under the command of Captain Henry Digby. Having been separated from the main British fleet before the battle, the Africa arrived from a different direction without knowing the battle plan that Horatio Nelson had devised. As the rest of the fleet engaged the combined Franco-Spanish fleet in a pell-mell battle, Digby sailed the Africa down the line of enemy ships in a parallel fashion, exchanging broadsides.[citation needed]

Although immobilized by a dead calm, she successfully repulsed 25 Danish gunboats commanded by Cdre J.C. Krieger in an action in the Øresund on 20th October 1808.[2][3]

She was part of the British squadron commanded by Sir Philip Broke that pursued, but ultimately failed to catch, the USS Constitution early in the War of 1812.[citation needed] She was broken up in May 1814 at Portsmouth.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Lavery, Ships of the Line, vol. 1, p. 181.
  2. Royal Events of 1808
  3. AFRICA in Not - der dänische Kanonenbootkrieg 1808 (German)


  • Lavery, Brian (2003) The Ship of the Line - Volume 1: The development of the battlefleet 1650-1850. Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-252-8.

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