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Battle of Cape St. Vincent (1780)

History -- Military history -- List of battles

The Battle of Cape St. Vincent was a victory of a British fleet under Admiral Sir George Rodney over a Spanish squadron under Don Juan de Lángara in the American War of Independence. The battle took place on January 16, 1780.

Rodney's fleet, on its way to relieve Gibraltar which was under siege by the Spanish, caught De Langara's smaller squadron of 11 ships of the line off Cape St. Vincent in south-western Spain. De Langara, seeing that the British fleet outnumbered his own, attempted to flee, but the copper-bottomed ships of the Royal Navy were faster. Only four of De Langara's ships escaped. Of the others, four were taken as prizes, two were wrecked on the Spanish coast and one blew up.

The battle is also known as the Moonlight Battle, because it took place during the night, and as the Battle of Cape Sta. Maria.