Castilla (1881)

The wreck of Castilla after the Battle of Manila Bay. The mizzen mast is completely shot away, and one of the funnels has been destroyed. US Navy Historical Center photo.

Ship Class
Laid Down

Castilla was an unprotected cruiser of the Spanish Navy, commissioned in 1882. Last of the three Aragon-class ships, she served in a training role for the remainder of the decade. She was deployed to the Philippines in 1890, and helped to intercept blockade runners after the Philippine Revolution broke out in 1896. Castilla was still on station there when the Spanish-American War began, providing gunfire support for Spanish forces fighting ashore. However, due to poor maintenance, she sprang leaks in her hull. She was partially patched up, but this disabled her propeller shaft, so her 8" (203mm) guns were moved ashore, and Castilla was turned into a floating battery. On 1 May, 1898, she was at anchor and unable to get underway during Dewey's attack, which became known as the Battle of Manila Bay. Castilla was hit by at least fifty shells during the Battle, and sank shortly after 8:30 that morning. Three of her guns were salvaged and put on display, one in Rochester, New York, and two at the Vermont State House.