View Full Version : Spanish Crosses

03-29-2018, 05:23
I kind of recall reading in a Hornblower or Aubrey/Maturin novel that the Spanish painted crosses on their topsails. Does anyone have any information on this practice? When did the Spanish stop doing it? Should we be painting crosses on our Spanish ships?

03-29-2018, 11:30
they would really stand out on the table then!

03-29-2018, 13:15
I know that the Spanish ships at the time of the Armada in 1588 bore crosses on their sails. I took a quick look through my copy of "Traflagar and the Spanish Navy" by John Harbron as his book includes a large number of period paintings and etchings (both black and white and color) of Spanish warships. None of his illustrations show any crosses on any of the sails, even going as far back as 1710 with Blaz de Lezo's capture of HMS Stanhope. I suspect that the Hornblower/Aubrey/Maturin reference is a fictional invention. Perhaps Julian (Redcoat) can provide some input as he has painted a number of Spanish ships.

03-29-2018, 14:00

Armada, June to September 1588: Lord Howard in the Ark attacks San Martin, flagship of the Duke of Medina Sidonia. Both ships carry the red cross on the white background, the crusader symbol and the symbol of St George.

As far as I can see the Portuguese started the crusader symbol. All seem to have died out by 1715 at the latest.