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Other 16th-century conflicts

Contemporary maps of 10 sixteenth-century wars


View of the Battle of Sesimbra Bay, 1602 (Sesimbra, Setúbal, Portugal) 38°26ʹ40ʺN 09°06ʹ05ʺE

published 1630

Engraved on two copperplates; printed on two sheets of paper, joined; mounted on paper, mount cropped (Mount Type B) | 36.0 x 86.2 cm (neatline) | RCIN 721120

A view of the taking by the English of a Portuguese galleon or carrick during the Battle of Sesimbra Bay, fought on 3 June 1602 between the English navy, commanded by Sir Richard Leveson and the Spanish, commanded by Federico Spinola, resulting in an English victory. Anglo-Spanish War (1585-1604).

This view shows the English ship, left of centre, firing at the Portuguese vessel to the right. The Portuguese ship, which appears to be flying a Spanish flag, is a carrack –an ocean-going three or four-masted ship – which has lost its foremast in the attack. Hondius has signed his name beginning with the monogram ‘Hh’ which is recorded in Nagler, Vol.3 (1863) under entry 1034, p.380.

A short mention of the event can be found in the Cecil Papers: 20 July 1602 ‘Letters from Spain confirm the news of the capture by Englishmen of the Portuguese galleon coming from the Indies with more than a million and a half. They have also sunk two other vessels ‘alla bocca di Lisbona’. 30 Jul-9 Aug: From England, we hear that the Portuguese carrack has arrived, and is a very rich prize.

This print may be based on a painting dated 1602 by Hendrick Cornelisz. Vroom, to which it bears a strong resemblance, entitled Attack on Spanish Treasure Galleys, Portugal (Government Art Collection number 6501).

  • Hendrick Hondius I (1573-1650): The Hague (publisher) [bottom left, below view:] Hagæ-Comitis / Hhondius excud: / 1630.


  • Watermark: Fleur-de-lys in crowned shield

    Condition: three fold lines. Verso: remains of Mount Type B; no gilt edges; some pressure marks

  • 36.0 x 86.2 cm (neatline)

    37.9 x 86.2 cm (image)

    cropped (platemark)

    38.3 x 86.8 cm (sheet)

  • Printed title:

    No title

    Additional text:

    [below view, a verse in four couplets, begins:] Aurifero veniens a littore Peruviorum / Navis onusta auroq et Ibero milite Saluam …


    George III heading: Naval Engagement [bp:]1602.

    Other annotations: (Recto) none. (Verso) [left of centre, black pencil:] 1602; [top centre, red pencil:] 1/[117]; [top right and bottom right, black pencil: a number of illegible words].

  • Subject(s)

    Sesimbra, Setúbal, Portugal (38°26ʹ40ʺN 09°06ʹ05ʺE)

  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    M. McDonald, The Print Collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo. Part II, Architecture, Topography and Military Maps, 3 vols, London 2019, cat. no. 2790

    R.A. Roberts (ed), British History Online: Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House, vol. 12: 1602-1603; pp. 252-276

    T. Wilson, Flags at sea, London 1999


Page revisions

  • 23 May 2024