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stepping stones of maritime history


WIC campaign 1628

In 1628, three fleets sailed from Holland to the West Indies to cut of Spanish and Portuguese trade. A fleet of twelve ships under the direction of Simon van Uytgeest targeted Brazil to intercept ships there. 

 A second fleet of twelve ships led by Admiral Pieter Adriaanszoon Ita left for Cuba. It was Ita's assignment to capture ships from the Spanish silver fleet. A third fleet was to depart later that year also destined for the Caribean, commanded by Piet Hein.

The Dolfijn of Amsterdam was the vice admiral's ship and part of the second fleet.

The Dolfijn is ship B. detail of Ita prent van Hessel Gerritsz 1628  (bron: Rijksmuseum, RP-P-OB-79.403)


Ita's fleet consisted of:  Walcheren (admiral), Dolfijn of Amsterdam (vice admiral), Eendracht van Dort (rear admiral), Goede Fortuin (van Zeeland), De Leeuwin (yacht), De Vriese jager (yacht), The Cat and the Noordster. 

Ita captures two Spanish galleons 

On August 1, two large galleons, The St. Jago and the Nosa Senhora de Remedios rounded cape San Anton and were spotted by Ita’s scouts. The next morning the ships tried to enter Havana with full sail. However, the bay was blocked by Ita. The galleons had to sail past Havana and were driven by the Dutch to the coast where they ran aground just east of Havana.

The Dutch tried to get closer with the intention to enter. During this attempt a Dutch ship the Leeuwin also stranded. The  Leeuwin was therefore heavily bombarded by the Spaniards. The rest of the Dutch ships were warned and kept at a distance. The fight lasted all day. Eventually the Dutch both overpowered the galleons. The Spanish crew gave up the fight, jumped overboard and reached the coast swimming. According to de Laet almost 300 Spaniard died.


Type: war ship
Built: Amsterdam ca. 1623
Owner: WIC chamber of Amsterdam
Tonnage: 130 last
Complement: 90 sailors, 33 soldiers (1629) 122 (1630)
Master: Jochim Gijsen
Armament: 4 bronze,  24 iron


The Dolfijn stranded in august 1630 on the Cayman islands. (Laet VII.214). The crew stayed there 16 weeks. They constructed a small new ship from wood of the stranded Dolfijn. They called the new boat Cayman


  • De Laet II.35, VII.214.
  • De Laet, Verhaal van West-Indien.

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