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San Telmo (ship)

Spanish ship of the Line San Telmo by Alejo Berlinguero, Madrid Naval Museum
Name: San Telmo
Launched: 20 June 1788
Sunk: 2 September 1819
General characteristics
Displacement: 2550 tons
Length: 53 m (174 ft)
Beam: 14.5 m (48 ft)
Complement: 644 officers and men

San Telmo ("Saint Peter Gonzalez" or "Saint Erasmus of Formiae") was a Spanish 74-gun ship of the line, launched in 1788.

In 1819 the San Telmo commanded by Captain Joaquín de Toledo y Parra was the flagship of a Spanish naval squadron under Brigadier Rosendo Porlier y Asteguieta bound for Callao (Peru) to reinforce colonial forces there fighting the independence movements in Spanish America. Damaged by severe weather in the Drake Passage, south of Cape Horn, it sank in September 1819.

The 644 officers, soldiers and seamen lost on board the San Telmo were the first known people to die in Antarctica, as parts of her wreckage were found months later by the first sealers who reached Livingston Island. Indeed, if somebody of the San Telmo survived to set foot there he would have been the first known man in history to reach Antarctica.

See also


  • El San Telmo. Una historia sin final. (Spanish)

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