No. 99.

Gazeta de Madrid

Friday December 12/17941

Madrid, December 12

On the 7th, the Ship Captains Don Alexandro Malaspina, Don José de Bustamante, Don Dionisio Galiano, and Ship Lieutenant Don Ciriaco de Cevallos, the first two Commanders of the corvettes Descubierta and Atrevida, the third of the schooner Sutíl, and the fourth an officer assigned to the said corvettes, were presented to Their Majesties by His Excellency Don Antonio de Valdés, Secretary of State and of the General Office of the Navy, and were granted the honor of kissing the Royal hands.  These ships, which were built specially for the purpose at the naval base of La Carraca, and which bade farewell to the port of Cádiz on July 30, 1789, with no other object than that of cooperating with the other naval Powers towards progress in the sciences, and particularly in navigation, created charts of and routes for the coasts of America and the adjacent islands, covering, on the one hand, the region between the River Plate and Cape Horn, and, on the other, that between this same Cape and the extreme ends of North America, compiling under a single view all the achievements and voyages, both national and foreign, of those who preceded them.  Along the coast of North America, in the region of 59, 60, and 61 degrees of latitude, they searched fruitlessly for, and so practically demonstrated the nonexistence of, the passage to the Atlantic Ocean attested by the old Spanish navigator Lorenzo Ferrer de Maldonado; and the schooners Sutíl and Mexicana, detached from the others at the beginning of 1792, under the command of Ship Captains Don Dionisio Galiano and Don Cayetano Valdés, were able to collaborate with the English expedition of Captain Vancouver in the exploration of the well-known and immense archipelago named after Admiral Fonte and Juan de Fuca.  The corvettes devoted most of the year 1792 to the exploration of the Marianas Islands, the Philippines, and Macao on the coast of China.  Together, in turn, they navigated a passage between the island of Mindanao and those of Morintay, and eastwards along the Equator across 500 leagues of untamed seas, traversed the New Hebrides, visited New Zealand at Dusky Bay, New Holland at Port Jackson, and the archipelago of the Friendly Islands of Vavau, not previously seen by any of the foreign navigators who have traversed these regions: finally, they carried out new explorations in various regions of the Pacific Ocean, regaining land at Callao near Lima in June of 1793.  Leaving this port, they re-visited that of Concepción in Chile, and then, the corvettes having been separated to multiply their effectiveness, followed the coasts of Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia and the western part of the Malvinas, at last turning back to the River Plate because of the increasing risks of sailing in those seas, which were multiplied in the case of Atrevida by encounters with many large icebergs. As a result of the current state of Europe, the corvettes refitted their batteries in Montevideo, and, having joined the Royal frigate Santa Gertrúdis, the registered vessels Levante, Princesa, Galga, Concordia, Real Carlos and Neptuno, involved in trade with Lima, and other ships belonging to Buenos Aires, sailed in convoy to Cádiz, where they arrived together on September 21, after 90 days at sea.  The value of the convoy escorted by the corvettes amounted to 8 million pesos in money and goods; and these ships, most sincerely dedicated to purely scientific purposes, completed their extensive series of tasks by thus promoting the grand and important designs of the military Navy, protecting the King's vassals and their interests in the distant colonies, allowing one to say that, for these ships, circumstances combined together all the various kinds of service, scientific as well as military, that in peace and in war the nation can demand of the Royal Navy.

Updated: January 13, 2018