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Santa Cruz, Alvaro De Bazan, 1st Marquis Of

SANTA CRUZ, ALVARO DE BAZAN, 1ST MARQUIS OF, (1526- 1588), Spanish admiral, was born at Granada on the 12th of December 1526, of an ancient family originally settled in the valley of Baztan in Navarre, from which they are said to have taken their name. His grandfather, Alvaro de Bazan, took part in the conquest of Granada from the Moors in 1492, and his father, who had the same Christian name, was distinguished in the service of Charles V., by whom he was made general of the galleys or commander-in-chief of the naval forces of the crown of Spain in the Mediterranean. The future admiral followed his father in his youth, and was early employed in high commands. He was a member of the military order of St lago. In 1 564 he aided in the capture of Velez de Gomera, commanded the division of galleys employed to blockade Tetuan, and to suppress the piracy carried on from that port. The service is said to have been successfully performed. Bazan certainly earned the confidence of Philip II., by whom he was appointed to command the galleys of Naples in 1568. This post brought him into close relations with Don John of Austria, when the Holy League was formed against the Turks in 1 5 70. During the operations which preceded and followed the battle of Lepanto (7th of October 1571), Bazan was always in favour of the more energetic course. In the battle he commanded the reserve division, and his prompt energy averted a disaster when Uluch Ali, who commanded the left wing of the Turks, outmanoeuvred the commander of the Christian right, Giovanni Andrea Doria, and broke the allied line. He accompanied Don John of Austria at the taking of Tunis in the following year. When Philip II. enforced his claim as heir to the crown of Portugal in 1580-1581, Santa Cruz held a naval command. The prior of Crato, 1 an illegitimate representative of the Portuguese royal family, who conducted the popular resistance to the annexation of the country by Philip, continued however, to hold the island possessions of Portugal in the Atlantic. He was supported by a number of French adventurers under Philip Strozzi, a Florentine exile in the service of France. Santa Cruz was sent as admiral of the Ocean to drive the pretender and his friends away in 1583. His victory off Terceira over the Portuguese, and a loose confederation of adventurers and semipirates, French and English, decided the struggle in favour of Spain. Santa Cruz, who recognized that England was the most formidable opponent of Spain, became the zealous advocate of war. A letter written by him to King Philip from Angla in Terceira, on the gth of August 1583, contains the first definite suggestion of the Armada. Santa Cruz himself was to have commanded. His plans, schemes and estimates occupy a conspicuous place in the documents concerning the Armada collected by Don Cesareo Duro. The hesitating character of the king, and his many embarrassments, political and financial, caused many delays, and left Santa Cruz unable to act with effect. He was at Lisbon without the means of fitting out his fleet, when Drake burnt the Spanish ships at Cadiz in 1587. The independence of judgment shown by Santa Cruz ended by offending the king, and he was held responsible for the failures and delays which were the result of the bad management of his master. His death, which occurred on the 9th of February 1588 at Lisbon, was said to have been hastened by the unjustified reproaches of the king. The marquis de Santa Cruz was the designer of the great galleons which were employed to carry the trade between Cadiz and Vera Cruz in Mexico.

The documents relating to the Armada have been collected by Don Cesareo Duro in La Armada Invenciblc, and he gives a biography of the marquis in his Conquista de las Islas Azores. A separate life has been published by Don Angel de Altplaguirre. There are various notices of Santa Cruz in Sir W. Stirling Maxwell's Don John of Austria. (D. H.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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