Riachuelo (1883)

Riachuelo dressed overall c.1885. Despite the awnings blurring her outline, you can still see how she echoes the standard British designs of the period. Photographed by Marc Ferrez, now public domain.

Ship Class
Laid Down

This is the Brazilian battleship Riachuelo, laid down in 1881, and commissioned in 1883. She was built for the Brazilian Navy by the London-based Samuda Brothers firm. Her two main turrets followed the then-popular design of being off center, one to port and the other to starboard, and capable of firing past the superstructure to either side. Riachuelo didn't see any active combat, but was employed on several diplomatic missions. She escorted the Brazilian royal family to exile in Europe after they were deposed in 1889, and was modernized in France from 1893-4, with the removal of her sailing rig, and improved guns and structural integrity. She was the flagship of a state visit to Argentina in 1900, and conveyed the crews of the new Minas Gereas-class battleships to take over their ships from the English builders in 1907. Riachuelo decommissioned in 1910, and was sold for scrapping in Scotland.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: The building of Riachuelo prompted a major naval expansion program, not just in rival South American countries, but in the United States as well.