Schooner Virjen de Covadonga

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Covadonga at berth in Valparaiso, Chile
Career (Spain) PN Jack
Name: Virjen de Covadonga
Ordered: June 10, 1857
Builder: Arsenal de la Carrara shipyard (Cádiz, Spain)
Cost: 5.000.000 Reales de Vellón
Laid down: February 13, 1858
Launched: November 28, 1859
Commissioned: October 8, 1859
Captured: Battle of Papudo, November 26, 1865
Fate: Captured by Chilean Navy during the Chincha Islands War
Career (Chile) CN Jack
Name: Covadonga
Commissioned: December 4, 1865
Fate: Sunk by a mine in Chancay, Peru during the War of the Pacific, September 13, 1880
General characteristics
Class and type: screw-propelled schooner
Tons burthen: 630 tons
Length: 107 ft (33 m)
Propulsion: Template:Convert/CV steam engine made in the Factory Nº 4, El Ferrol
Sail plan: Brigantine sail rigging
Speed: 7 kn (13 km/h) on steam
Complement: 110 crewman

2 70-pounder (200 mm) revolving guns
2 9-pounder guns (*)

3 40-pounder guns (*)
Notes: (*) Installed after May 21, 1879

The schooner Virjen de Covadonga (1859) was a ship that participated in the Chincha Islands War and the War of the Pacific, under Spanish and Chilean flags. She was launched in 1859 and a mine sank her in 1880.


A Royal Order of June 10, 1857 led to Covadonga's keel being laid at the Arsenal de la Carrara in Cádiz, Spain, on February 13, 1858. She was a wooden schooner that was also fitted with steam propulsion. She was launched on November 28, 1859 and her construction had cost a total 5 million Reales de Vellón. She was named for the Battle of Covadonga - a highly symbolic event in Spanish history, being considered the beginning of the Reconquista.

She was commissioned by Royal Command on October 8, 1858 Her first commander was Lieutenant Evaristo Casariego y García. She was originally intended as a mail boat between Manila and Hong Kong, with her berth at the Naval Base of Manila, in the Philippine Islands.

Chincha Islands War service

During the Chincha Islands War, the Covadonga served as an auxiliary ship to the Spanish fleet. The Chilean corvette Esmeralda, under the command of captain Juan Williams Rebolledo, captured Covadonga during the Naval Battle of Papudo, on November 26, 1865. Her capture led to Spanish Admiral Juan Manuel Pareja committing suicide.

Covadonga was commissioned into the Chilean navy on December 4, 1865, under her original name. During this war, she 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, and the Covadonga manage to escape from the attacks of the Peruvian ironclad Independencia when the latter collided with a submerged rock and sank, after trying to ram the schooner; in the so called 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 an unmanned boat loaded with fresh fruits and produce being carried by the currents. When they tried to lift the boat it exploded as the Peruvians had rigged it as a floating mine. Covadonga sank 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, the gun-boat Pilcomayo rescued 29, and the Peruvians captured 48. Among the dead was petty officer Constantino Micalvi, a survivor of the Naval Battle of Iquique.

External links

es:Goleta Covadonga pl:Covadonga (1859)