Spanish cruiser Rapido (1889)

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Rapido with Camara's squadron at Port Said in 1898.
Career Armada Española Ensign
Name: Rapido
Completed: 1889
Acquired: 1898
Fate: Returned to mercantile service 1898; scrapped 1907
Notes: In mercantile service as SS Columbia 1889-1898 and 1898-1904; in Russian Navy service as auxiliary cruiser Terek 1904-1905
General characteristics
Type: Auxiliary cruiser

Rapido was a merchant ship requisitioned for use as an auxiliary cruiser by the Spanish Navy in 1898 during the Spanish-American War.

Rapido was built in 1889 as a passenger ship and was in commercial service as SS Columbia with the Hamburg-Amerika Line when the Spanish Navy purchased her for Spanish-American War service as an auxiliary cruiser in 1898[1]. Armed and renamed Rapido, she became part of the relief expedition for the Philippines commanded by Rear Admiral Manuel de Camara and charged with destroying the United States Navy Asiatic Squadron of Commodore George Dewey there, as well as with delivering 4,000 Spanish Army troops to reinforce the Philippines.[2]. Camara's squadron -- consisting of battleship Pelayo, armored cruiser Emperador Carlos V, auxiliary cruiser Patriota, destroyers Audaz, Osado, and Proserpina, and transports Buenos Aires, Panay, Alfonso XII, and Antonio Lopez, and four colliers as well as Rapido -- sortied from Cadiz on 16 June 1898.[3]

Rapido and her consorts passed Gibraltar on 17 June 1898[4] (first detaching Alfonso XII and Antonio Lopez to make independent voyages to the Caribbean), and arrived at Port Said, Egypt on 26 June 1898.[5] There Camara requested permission to transship coal, which the Egyptian government finally denied on 30 June 1898 out of concern for Egyptian neutrality. [6]

By the time Rapido and the rest of Camara's squadron arrived at Suez on 5 July 1898,[7] the squadron of Vice Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topete had been annihilated in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, freeing up the U.S. Navy's heavy forces from the blockade of Santiago de Cuba. Fearful for the security of the Spanish coast, the Spanish Ministry of Marine recalled Camara's squadron on 7 July 1898.[8] Rapido and the rest of the squadron departed Suez on 11 July 1898 for Spain, and Camara's squadron was dissolved on 25 July 1898.[9]

After the war ended in August 1898, Rapido returned to commercial service. During the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, she became the Russian Navy auxiliary cruiser Terek. She was scrapped in 1907.[10].



  • Cervera Y Topete, Pascual. Office of Naval Intelligence War Notes No. VII: Information From Abroad: The Spanish-American War: A Collection of Documents Relative to the Squadron Operations in the West Indies, Translated From the Spanish. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1899.
  • Nofi, Albert A. The Spanish-American War, 1898. Conshohocken, Pennsylvania:Combined Books, Inc., 1996. ISBN 0938289578.

External links

de:Columbia (1889) ro:Columbia (1889)