Collection ID: LMC 1079
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Collection context


Bertendona, Martín de, 1530?-1604
The Bertendona mss., 1581-1667, consists of the papers of Spanish Armada admiral Martín de Bertendona, 1530?-1604.
1 Box (1 standard) and 1 folio
Spanish; Castilian .
Preferred citation:

[Item], Bertendona mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.


Biographical / Historical:

Martín de Bertendona was born around the year 1530 to a prominent merchant and naval family in Bilbao, Spain. He followed in his family's footsteps by pursuing a career in the Spanish Navy. He served with four of his family's ships in 1569; was a captain in the Spanish Armada in 1574; sailed with Alvaro de Bazán, marqués de Santa Cruz, to the Azores, commanding his own ship in 1583; commanded the Armada's Levantine squadron in 1588; and commanded the Vizcayan squadron from 1588 until his death. Bertendona famously captured the English ship Revenge, captained by Admiral Sir Richard Grenville, during the Battle of Flores in 1591. Following the Spanish capture of Blavet in 1592, Bertendona ran convoys of troops, supplies, and money between Spain and Blavet until 1594. He played an instrumental role in assembling the fleet sent against the English from 1596-1597 under Martín de Padilla y Manrique, conde de Santa Gadea y Buendía, and Bertendona took Calais in February 1598. The naval officer also supported Spain's navy by raising funds and recruiting men throughout the 1590s as well as by building ships, six of which he delivered to Portugal in 1600. His planned expeditions in 1601 and 1602, including one to Flanders, were called off by his superiors. Bertendona died in September 1604 en route to Lisbon, leaving his son-in-law, Gaspar Olarte de Orozco, to take command of the Vizcayan squadron.

Scope and Content:

The Bertendona mss., 1581-1667, are the papers of Martín de Bertendona, 1530?-1604, admiral in the Spanish Armada, and of his family and associates, primarily his son-in-law, Gaspar Olarte de Orozco.

The bulk of the material in the collection, 1586-1604, consists of orders, certificates of service and correspondence with two Spanish kings, Felipe II and Felipe III, and various government officials. The papers deal with the "Invincible Armada" of 1588, the capture of the Revenge in 1591, the contribution of the Basques to Spain's sea power, and the re-building of the Armada after the 1588 defeat. Much of the material, particularly that after 1604, concerns Gaspar Olarte de Orozco and other associates who had dealings with Bertendona and his Vizcayan squadron.

Among correspondents in the collection are Albert, Archduke of Austria; Antonio de Arespacochaga; Antonio de Aroztegui; Martín de Aroztegui; Alonso de Bazán; Luis Fajardo de Córdoba; Pedro Franqueza y Esteve, conde de Villalonga; Diego de Ibarra; Esteban de Ibarra; Juan de Idiáquez y Olazábal; Juan de Silva, conde de Portalegre; and the Spanish sovereigns: Felipe II (1556-1598); Felipe III (1598-1621); and Felipe IV (1621-1665).

For further information see Charles Ralph Boxer, "The Papers of Martín de Bertendona, A Basque Admiral of Spain's Golden Age, 1586-1604," in The Indiana University Bookman, (Bloomington, Indiana), No. 10, November 1969, p. 3-23; Garrett Mattingly, The Armada, Boston, Houghton, Mifflin, 1959 (DA360 .M44); and Michael A. Lewis, The Spanish Armada, London, B.T. Batsford, 1960 (DA360 .L67).

Acquisition information:
Purchase: 1967

Contents of this collection are arranged chronologically.

Physical location:
Lilly - Folio; Lilly - Stacks



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[Item], Bertendona mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

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