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Compañía Trasatlántica Española

    The Compañía Trasatlántica Española was founded on 1 June 1881 by Antonio López, first Marqués de Comillas, with several parnerts.
    He had big shipping experience because already in 1847 he founded in La Habana (Cuba) the company Antonio López y Hermano for trading in the Spanish Caribe.
    In 1857 he founded at Alicante the Compañia de Vapores Correos de Antonio López for trading along the Spanish Mediterranean coast ports between Cádiz and Marseilles (France).
    Since the beginning Trasatlántica surrogated the maritime communication and mail contract got in public bidding in 1868 by the Compañia de Vapores Correos.
    Regretfully on 2009 it ceased all its activities.

General Armero
General Armero - Oil painting by S. Farriols kept at Museo Marítimo de Barcelona.
        This vessel was never owned by Trasatlántica. She was the first ship of Antonio López y Cía, and also the first Spanish merchant vessel with propeller. She was trading among the Spanish islands in the Caribe.
General Armero - Ship model in Trasatlántica office
        She was built in 1852 in the shipyard William Cramps & Sons, at Philadelphia (USA). Her main specifications were: lenght: 51,8 meters; breadth: 8,5 meters; depth: 5,8 meters; speed: 7 knots; displacement: 716 tons. She was lost on 24/November/1853 at the Cuban coast due to grounding in a reef.

Madrid - Collection A. Mantilla
        As the previous she was never owned by Trasatlántica. She was built in 1859 for Compañía de Vapores Correos de Antonio López. Her details were: dead weight: 1,231 MT - length 65.6 meters; breadth: 8,3 meters - depth: 5,0 meters. Propulsion: triple expansion machine of 300 H.P. Passengers: 200.
        As the land transports were very bad the vessels in this line were picking up the passengers arriving in Marseilles by train from Paris, and were disembarking in Alicante to continue the trip to Madrid again by train, and opposite.
        In 1874 she was sold to Compañía de Vapores Correos Españoles de las Antillas y Seno Mejicano, based in La Habana and renamed Nuevo Moctezuma. She was scrapped in 1887.

Principe Alfonso
Principe Alfonso from the book Trasatlántica - Cien años de vida sobre el mar
        She was built in 1863 for the Sociedad Antonio López y Cía. Her details were: dead weight: 3,475 MT - length 85.7 meters - breadth: 10,4 meters - depth: 5,7 meters. Propulsion: triple expansion machine of 1,460 H.P. Passengers: 1,010.
        She was trading on the lines to the Antilles, being the vessel than on 03-July-1878 inaugurated the drydock on the company shipyard at Matagorda (Cádiz). In 1894 she was converted to coal pontoon due to her bad condition.

Mendez Nuñez
Mendez Nuñez - Collection J. Peña Berrazueta

Shipyard / Year Robert Napier & Sons / 1870
Dead weight 4,175 MT
Gross register 2,321 GRT
Passengers 950
Length 90.5 mtr
Breadth 11.7 mtr
Depth 7.3 mtr
Propulsion Reciprocating compound
Power 1,400 H.P.
Scrapped Tranmere Beach (United Kingdom) - 1892

Rabat - Collection C. Kleiss

Shipyard / Year James & William Dudgeon / 1872
Dead weight 1,424 MT
Gross register 792 GRT
Passengers 50
Length 70.0 mtr
Breadth 8.3 mtr
Depth 5.0 mtr
Propulsion Reciprocating compound
Power 560 H.P.
Sold 1913 to
Owner Dionisio Tejero Pérez
Sunk 1929
        She was built in 1872 in the United Kingdom for the Sociedad Antonio López y Cía. as Pasages, being transfered to Trasatlántica whent it was created. In 1888 she was renamed Rabat, name kept all her life although in 1913 she was sold to Dionisio Tejero Pérez. She sunk on 13/August/1924 whilst in trip with coal from Gijón to Cartagena, with all crew dead.
Rabat - Collection C. Kleiss

Vizcaya - Collection L. Santa Olaya
El Heraldo de Madrid - 01/November/1890

Shipyard / Year James & William Dudgeon / 1872
Dead weight 4,497 MT
Gross register 2,436 GRT
Passengers 1,100
Length 87.6 mtr
Breadth 13.2 mtr
Depth 8.1 mtr
Propulsion Reciprocating compound
Power 1,700 H.P.
Sunk 1890
        She was built in 1872 in the United Kingdom for the Sociedad Antonio López y Cía. as Santander, being renamed in 1875 as Vizcaya, being transfered to Trasatlántica whent it was created. She was mainly trading between the United States and the Spanish Caribbean.
        She was sunk on 30/October/1890 when leaving New York bound to Havana, with 61 persons dead including passangers and crew, surviving 24. The sinking was due to collision with a North-American sailing vessel.

Habana - Collection A. Mantilla

Astillero / Año Oswald - Pailliom / 1872
Peso muerto 4.816 TM
Registro bruto 2.597 TRB
Eslora 96,6 mtr
Manga 11,3 mtr
Puntal 8,5 mtr
Propulsión Alternativa compound
Potencia 2.100 C.V.
Desguazado Genoa (Italy) - 1901

Isla de Panay
Isla de Panay - Collection J.C. Gonzalez
        This vessel of 3,484 GRT was built in 1882 for the Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas fleet, that was servicing the Philipines. In 1884 that company was bought by Trasatlántica and the vessel continued in the same line.
Isla de Panay - Naval Historical Center

Isla de Panay - Collection L. Santa Olaya
El Noroeste - 12/February/1917
Although there were news about her lost in 1917 she finally grounded and was lost in Fernando Poo coast on 7/December/1929.

Isla de Luzon
Isla de Luzon - Museo Marítimo de Barcelona

Shipyard / Year Oswald Mordaunt / 1882
Owner Cía. General de Tabacos de Filipinas
Name Isla de Luzon
Dead weight 6,844 MT
Gross register 4,256 GRT
Passengers 1,640
Length 116.4 mtr
Breadth 13.5 mtr
Depth 9.7 mtr
Propulsion Reciprocating compound
Power 3,120 H.P.
Transferred 1888 from
Owner Cía. General de Tabacos de Filipinas
Name Isla de Luzon
Scrapped Bo'ness (United Kingdom) - 1911

San Francisco
San Francisco - Collection S. Pazo
        She was built in 1882 in the United Kingdom as Landsdown Tower, being later bought by the Naviera del Marqués de Campo, and renamed Turia. In 1884 was bought by Trasatlántica for the line to Spanish Guinea, and renamed San Francisco. This photo shows her at Santa Isabel, nowdays Malabo.
        Her dead weight was 4,545 MT; her length 99.1 meters; her breadth 11.6 and her depth 8.2.
        In 1913 was sold to F.G.Alegre, that a bit later sold her to Línea de Vapores Tintoré and renamed Telmo. Few years later, in 1916, she was hit by other vessel when leaving Liverpool and sunk.

Antonio Lopez
Antonio Lopez - Vida Marítima
        This vessel was built in 1882 by William Denny and Brothers, in Glasgow (United Kingdom). She was the second Antonio Lopez. The first was built in 1866 and renamed Patricio de Satrustegui before the delivery of this vessel.
        This second Antonio Lopez was bigger than the first. Her dead weight was 6,671 MT, whilst the first was 3,905. The length was 117.1 metros; the breadth 12.8 and the depth 8.4. The first was 85.3; 11.5 y 7.0 respectively.
        She was lost close to San Juan de Puerto Rico, after beached to save the cargo when under fire from Northamerican Navy vessels during the 1898 war.
Antonio Lopez - Collection M. Rodriguez Barrientos
With the sails unfolded

Manuel L. Villaverde
Manuel L. Villaverde - Collection M. Rodriguez Aguilar
        She was built in 1882 in the United Kingdom. Her dead weight was 2,768 MT; 1,501 GRT; her length 79.4 meters; her breadth 9.6 and her depth 5.3. Her propulsion was by an Reciprocatingocating triple expansión machine with 917 H.P.
        She was trading in the Caribe until the 1898 war, when was trasferred to the Spanish Guinea line. She was grounded and sunk in 1921, on a trip back to Spain, close to Palmas Cape (Ivory Coast).

Cataluña - Collection A. Mantilla
        She was built in 1883 in the United Kingdom by William Denny and Brothers. Her dead weight was 6,722 MT; gross register 3,785 GRT; capacity for 1,325 passangers; her length 117.1 meters; her breadth 12.9 and her depth 8.4. Her propulsion was by an reciprocating triple expansión machine with 4,100 H.P.
Cataluña - Collection A. Mantilla
        She was trading in the lines between Spain and the Caribbean Sea but was later trasferred to the Spanish Guinea line. As the previous she was lost in one of these trips, but in this case bound to Guinea. She grounded on 24/March/1923 close to Villa Cisneros, not being possible refloating her.
Cataluña - Collection M. Budiño

Larache - Collection J. Peña
        She was built in the United Kingdom as Jose Baro for L. Soler y Compañía, and registered in Havana. Just two years after her construction she was lengthened from the original 70.2 meters to 82.9, increasing her gross register from 1,250 to 1,514 GRT. In 1888 she was acquired by Trasatlántica, being renamed Larache and dedicated to the line with Morocco. Later she was dedicated to the transfer of passengers and general cargo from and to different peninsular ports for the connection at Cádiz with the transatlantic lines. In 1898 she was equipped with artillery to patrol the Spanish coasts and protect them from possible attacks by the United States during the war between the two countries.
        On 23/June/1908 she hit bottom in the Meixides bank and sank very fast, killing 91 of the total 154 people on board between crew and passengers. Although the press clipping below indicates these shoals, it was possibly in Ximiela's, very close to the others. She was in a trip between Cádiz and Bilbao, with calls at different intermediate ports. She had left Ribeira that same day for Corunna. These shoals are located just to the north of the Ría de Muros, and to hit bottom there the ship had to deviate towards the coast from the direct track from the outlet of the Ría de Arosa to pass Finisterre. Possibly there would be fog, which prevented them from realizing the danger because the accident was in broad daylight.
Shipyard / Year Oswald - Pallion / 1872
Owner L. Soler y Compañía
Name Jose Baro
Home port La Habana
Dead weight 2,541 MT
Gross register 1,250 / 1,514 GRT
Length 70.2 / 82.9 mtr
Breadth 9.8 mtr
Depth 6.9 mtr
Propulsion Reciprocating compound
Power 915 H.P.
Bought 1888 to
Owner L. Soler y Compañía
Name Jose Baro
Wrecked 23/09/1908 - Close to Muros

Larache - Collection J. Peña
La Atalaya - 25/June/1908

Larache - Collection J. Peña
La Atalaya - 26/June/1908

Joaquin del Pielago
Joaquin del Pielago - Collection F.J. Tomás Martinez
        This was the first steamer built in the own Trasatlántica shipyard, at Matagorda (Cádiz), in 1892, and at same time the first steamer built in Spain. Her dead weight was 525 MT; her length 61.7 meters; her breadth 8.4 and her depth 6.3. Her propulsion was by an reciprocating triple expansion machine with 1,256 I.H.P.
Joaquin del Pielago - Vida Marítima
In 1940 was sold to S.A.H. Africana del Atlántico and renamed Sidi Ifni. She was scrapped in 1951.

Montserrat - Collection A. Mantilla

Shipyard / Year Stettiner Vulcan / 1889
Name Dania
Dead weight 3,680 MT
Gross register 4,076 GRT
Passengers 30 (1st class) + 1,400 (Holds)
Length 113.0 mtr
Breadth 13.5 mtr
Depth 9.2 mtr
Propulsion Reciprocating triple expansion
Power 1,000 H.P.
Speed 14 knots
Bought 1895 to
Owner Hamburg-Amerika Linie
Name Dania
Scrapped La Spezia ((Italy) - 1927

Montserrat - Biblioteca Nacional de España


Alfonso XII
Alfonso XII - Collection P. Caminha
        The first vessel named Alfonso XII was built by William Denny & Bros in Dumbarton in 1875. She was 3,000 GRT, with 110 meters length, 11 beam and 8.6 depth. She had capacity for 244 passengers and her speed was 14 knots.
        She grounded and sank on 13 February 1885 at Gando (Gran Canaria) just after leaving Las Palmas, carrying 280 persons including the crew. There was not casualties because as she was so close to shore the local fishermen helped in the evacuation from the fisrt moment.

Alfonso XII
Alfonso XII - Collection P. Caminha
        The second Alfonso XII was built by Wicham Richardson in 1888, and had 5.206 TRB. Her dead weight was 7,800 MT; her length 122.8 meters; her breadth 14.5 and her depth 10.0. Her propulsion was by an reciprocating triple expansion machine with 4,900 H.P. She was sank by the USA Navy at Mariel (Cuba) on 03 July 1898.
Shipyard / Year Wighan Richardsom - Newcastle/ 1888
Dead weight 5,537 MT
Gross register 5,311 GRT
Lenght 133.7 mtr
Breadth 14.5 mtr
Depth 10.0 mtr
Propulsion Reciprocating triple expansion
Power 4,900 H.P.
Speed 16.0 knots
Sunk on 07/07/1998 by Northeamerican Navy

Alfonso XII

Alfonso XII
Alfonso XII - Collection M. Garcia
In this photo the third Alfonso XII is at Ferrol shipyard on April 1915.
        She was built by AG Vulcan, Stettin in 1890 as Havel for North German Lloyd. She was 6,875 GRT with 139.4 meters length and 15.6 beam. With a single screw her speed was 18 knots. Her passanger capacity was 244 in First class, 122 in Second and 460 in Third.
Alfonso XII from the book Trasatlántica - Cien años de vida sobre el mar
        In this case the drydock is in the shipyard owned by the company at Matagorda (Cádiz). In 1898 was bought by the Spanish Navy and converted in the auxiliary cruiser Meteoro. In 1899 was bought by Trasatlántica and renamed Alfonso XII, being the third vessel with this name. Was scrapped in 1926 in Italy.

The mail and comunications contract with the Spanish ultramarine provinces was extended on 17 November 1886, and the clauses asked for 36 trips per year to the Antilles from Cádiz and Santander.
The contract required vessels with at least 12 knots speed. The same contract demanded 17 knots before 1893, and due this the company ordered four vessels, in two pairs with very different shape, to William Denny & Bros at Dumbarton. One pair, the first Alfonso XIII and the Reina María Cristina had violín bow and four masts, whilst the other pair, the Buenos Aires and Montevideo had straight bow and three masts.

Alfonso XIII
Alfonso XIII - Collection T. Diedrich
        This vessel was built, as many others forTrasatlántica, by William Denny & Bros at Dumbarton, being delivered in early 1889 and registered in Barcelona with the number 184. She was the number 400 in the shipyard, and her sister ship Reina María Cristina the 401.
        She was 5,100 GRT, 3,869 DWT and 10,000 displacement, with 124.4 meters length, 14.4 beam and 9.8 depth. With her four masts was an original ship. In her transatlantic trips she used some times the sails when the tail shaft was broken.
        She had single screw with a triple expansion steam machine of 5,260 HP that gave her 17.6 knots in trials. Her accomodation had capacity for 164 passegers in First Class, 15 in Second, 42 in Third and 1,343 in Emigrant. The emigrants or troop travelled in the tweendecks, which when free were used for cargo. This distribution changed several times during the life of the vessel.
        Among other remarkable facts the crew of this ship took part in the Cabo Machichaco disaster, when this ship exploded at Santander on 3 November 1893 with more that 500 casualties. The Cabo Machichaco carried in her cargo around 50 tons of dynamite when started a fire due to the breaking of a sulphuric acid container. Thirty two crew from the Alfonso XIII were helping in the firefighting dying all them.
        Since 1896 to 1898 was attached to the Spanish Navy as auxiliary cruiser, being armed with four Hontoria cannons of 120 mm, two of 90 mm, two of 37 mm and two machine guns, carrying out several transport and patrol missions. On 12 May 1898 five shots hitted her when from the Northamerican Navy attacked San Juan de Puerto Rico. After the was helped to the evacuation of the Spanish Army from the Caribe and Philipines till 20 March 1899 when again started at Santander the line to Havana.
Alfonso XIII - Collection P. Blanco
        Except during the war she serviced the line North Spain - La Habana - Veracruz until sank at Santander on 5 de February 1915. The ship was at anchor whilst carrying out works onboard, including on the hull, and in the evening started a strong South wind, typical at Santander that has always produced heavy damages in the area, producing heavy seas which flooded the hold 2. As the vessel had the boilers shut down was not possible to remove the water and , although the crew remaining onboard tried to stop the water intake, the ship listed to starboard until she was completely sumerged except the port side.
Alfonso XIII - Collection P. Blanco

Reina Maria Cristina
Reina Maria Cristina - Collection M. Rodriguez Barrientos
Sister ship of the first Alfonso XIII. After the sinking of the Alfonso XIII she was known as "La viuda alegre" (The happy widow). The Queen María Cristina was the wife of the King Alfonso XII.
Reina Maria Cristina - Collection P. Caminha
        This photo and the above post card are after the modification carried out in 1908. Two of her four masts were removed, and the superstructure was also renoved. Her original looking is showed in the two lower photos. From 1926 she was used as cruise vessel from the United States to Spain, that included visits to several Spanish towns, as Madrid, Toledo, El Escorial, Granada and Córdoba. The passengers usually left the vessel at Sevilla, joining het again there. During that time the hull was painted white, and the funnel with the Spanish flag, that later was modified joining the two red stripes, resulting a funnel similar to the used by Trasmediterránea. On those years the Manuel Arnus was also used in same way.
Reina Maria Cristina - Collection M. Rodríguez Aguilar
This photo was shot at Santander, were her sister ship sunk
Reina Maria Cristina
In this, also in Santander, can be seen the port activity
Reina Maria Cristina - Collection C. Kleiss
At Veracruz, during one of her many trips there.

Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires - Collection P. Blanco
        The Buenos Aires was built in 1887 at Dumbarton by William Denny & Bros. She was 5,440 DWT and a gross register of 5,297 GRT; with 125.1 meters length; 14.7 beam and 6.5 depth. She had capacity for 843 passengers (83 in First Class, 30 in Second and 730 in the holds). The propulsion was by one quadruple expansión machine with 4,900 HP. As per her name she was assigned to the Argentina line, with intermediate calls in Brasil and Montevideo.
        She was scrapped in 1940, after several years laid up at Mahon due to her bad condition.
Buenos Aires - Collection M. Budiño

Buenos Aires - Collection C. Kleiss
On this photo she was at Barcelona, as part of the below one. In first line was the Sardinero, owned by Compañía Vasco Cantábrica de Navegación.
Sardinero - Collection C. Kleiss

Montevideo - Un siglo con la Marina Mercante 1895-1995
        The Montevideo was built in 1889, two years later than her sister vessel Buenos Aires. She was 5,500 DWT and gross register 5.297 GRT; with 125.1 meters length; 14.7 beam and 6.5 depth. She had capacity for 845 passengers. For her main propulsion she had a quadruple expansion reciprocating machine of 4,900 HP.
Montevideo - Collection P. Blanco Álvarez
With her original look

Alfonso XIII
Alfonso XIII - Collection T. Diedrich
        The second ship called Alfonso XIII was built in 1890 in Dumbarton by William Denny & Bros for Union Line Steamships as Scot. She was 6,844 GRT with 143.5 meters length, 16.5 beam and 5.4 depth. The accomodation had capacity for 208 passengers in First Class, 100 in Second and 100 in Third. She was in the line Southampton - Capetown and kept the speed record during more that forty years.
        The propulsion had twin screws, each one linked by a triple expansion steam machine of 1,440 HP. Each machine had a H.P. cylinder with 864 mm bore, a M.P. cylinder with 1,848 and one L.P. one with 2,337 mm, being the stroke 1,524 mm. The trial speed was 19.6 knots.
        In 1895 was lengthened, and her new dimensions were 7,859 GRT, 4,089 NRT and 160 meters length, with accomodation for 400 passengers in First class and 25 in Second.
        In 1900 was transferred to Union-Castle Mail Steamship Co. after the merging of the two shipping companies and in 1905 was sold to Hamburg America Line and renamed Oceana. She serviced the line Hamburg - New York until sold in 1910 to Bermuda North Atlantic Co. for cruises New York - Bermuda. She was arrested in 1912 and and laid up in the river Hudson.
Alfonso XIII - Collection T. Diedrich
This impressive photo was shot at Santander.
Alfonso XIII - Collection M. Rodríguez Barrientos
With her original look, with open Bridge.
        In 1916 was bought by Trasatlántica, after the first Alfonso XIII was lost at Santander in 1915, and renamed with this name. In 1923, when a new Alfonso XIII was built, was renamed Vasco Nuñez de Balboa.
        She serviced the lines Spain - New York and Havana until 1925 when was laid up in Cadiz. She was scrapped in Italy in 1927.

Alfonso XIII
Alfonso XIII - Collection M. Rodriguez Barrientos
        The third ship carrying this name was built in 1927 at Sestao by the Sociedad Española de Construcción Naval, with the number 1. Her cost exceeded several times the initial budget of 10.000.000 pesetas, because finally was 36.500.000.
        She had 10,551 GRT and the displacement was 14,400 MT, being the lenght 152.4 meters, the breadth 18.6 and the depth 10.9. Her speed in trials was 19.5 knots, with two steam turbines of 10,700 HP. The daily consumption was very high: 190 MT of good coal.
Alfonso XIII - Collection C. Kleiss
Here was at La Coruña, a quiet port on those years as can be seen by the small boats in the road. On the right was the small coaster Airoso.

Habana - Collection T. Diedrich
Due to the arrival of the República she was renamed Habana in 1931. In the early '40s got a fire at Bilbao and was rebuilt as cargo ship, removing all the passanger accomodation.
Habana - Collection J.L. Castañeda

Habana - From the book Trasatlántica - Cien años de vida sobre el mar
During her times as cargo-passanger carrier her look was strange, with her big funnel over the accomodation.

Galicia by T. Diedrich
In 1960 was sold to Pescanova and in 1961 converted in factory vessel and renamed Galicia. She was scrapped in 1978 in Vigo. In this photo she is at the Vigo Road waiting to be scrapped.
Photo by L. Santa Olaya
Her anchor is in the Anchors Museum, at Salinas (Asturias)

  Spanish version 

  Part of the information about the three Alfonso XIII has been extracted from the book "Alfonso XIII, un Rey y sus barcos", written by Rafael Gonzalez Echegaray

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