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Matanzas lies on Cuba's north coast, east of Havana

The Battle in the Bay of Matanzas was a naval battle during the Eighty Years' War in which a Dutch squadron was able to defeat and capture a Spanish treasure fleet.

In 1628, Admiral Piet Hein, with Witte de With as his flag captain, sailed out to capture the Spanish treasure fleet loaded with silver from their American colonies. With him was Admiral Hendrick Lonck and he was later joined by a squadron of Vice-Admiral Joost Banckert. Part of the Spanish fleet in Venezuela had been warned because a Dutch cabin boy had lost his way on Blanquilla and was captured, betraying the plan, but the other half from Mexico continued its voyage, unaware of the threat. Sixteen Spanish ships were intercepted; one galleon was taken after a surprise encounter during the night, nine smaller merchants were talked into a surrender; two small ships were taken at sea fleeing, four fleeing galleons were trapped on the Cuban coast in the Bay of Matanzas.

After some musket volleys from Dutch sloops their crews surrendered also and Hein captured 11,509,524 guilders of booty in gold, silver and other expensive trade goods, as indigo and cochineal, without any bloodshed. The Dutch didn't take prisoners: they gave the Spanish crews ample supplies for a march to Havana. The released were surprised to hear the admiral personally giving them directions in fluent Spanish; Hein after all was well acquainted with the region as he had been confined to it during his internment after 1603. The treasure was the company's greatest victory in the Caribbean.

As a result, the money funded the Dutch army for eight months, allowing it to capture the fortress 's-Hertogenbosch, and the shareholders enjoyed a cash dividend of 50% for that year. He returned to the Netherlands in 1629, where he was hailed as a hero. Watching the crowds cheering him standing on the balcony of the town hall of Leyden he remarked to the burgomaster: "Now they praise me because I gained riches without the least danger; but earlier when I risked my life in full combat they didn't even know I existed." Hein was the first and last to capture such a large part of a Spanish "silver fleet" from the Americas, which were very well-protected.

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Battle in the Bay of Matanzas
Part of the Eighty Years' War
[[File:|300px]]
Matanzas lies on Cuba's north coast, east of Havana.
Date 7 September–8 September 1628
Location Near Matanzas, Cuba
Result Capture of the Spanish treasure fleet by the Dutch
Belligerents
United Provinces Spain
Commanders and leaders
Piet Hein
Witte de With
Juan de Benavides Bazán
Strength
31 vessels 21 vessels

The Battle in the Bay of Matanzas was a naval battle during the Eighty Years' War in which a Dutch squadron was able to defeat and capture a Spanish treasure fleet.

In 1628, Admiral Piet Hein, with Witte de With as his flag captain, sailed out to capture the Spanish treasure fleet loaded with silver from their American colonies. With him was Admiral Hendrick Lonck and he was later joined by a squadron of Vice-Admiral Joost Banckert. Part of the Spanish fleet in Venezuela had been warned because a Dutch cabin boy had lost his way on Blanquilla and was captured, betraying the plan, but the other half from Mexico continued its voyage, unaware of the threat. Sixteen Spanish ships were intercepted; one galleon was taken after a surprise encounter during the night, nine smaller merchants were talked into a surrender; two small ships were taken at sea fleeing, four fleeing galleons were trapped on the Cuban coast in the Bay of Matanzas.

After some musket volleys from Dutch sloops their crews surrendered also and Hein captured 11,509,524 guilders of booty in gold, silver and other expensive trade goods, as indigo and cochineal, without any bloodshed. The Dutch didn't take prisoners: they gave the Spanish crews ample supplies for a march to Havana. The released were surprised to hear the admiral personally giving them directions in fluent Spanish; Hein after all was well acquainted with the region as he had been confined to it during his internment after 1603. The treasure was the company's greatest victory in the Caribbean.

As a result, the money funded the Dutch army for eight months, allowing it to capture the fortress 's-Hertogenbosch, and the shareholders enjoyed a cash dividend of 50% for that year. He returned to the Netherlands in 1629, where he was hailed as a hero. Watching the crowds cheering him standing on the balcony of the town hall of Leyden he remarked to the burgomaster: "Now they praise me because I gained riches without the least danger; but earlier when I risked my life in full combat they didn't even know I existed." Hein was the first and last to capture such a large part of a Spanish "silver fleet" from the Americas, which were very well-protected.



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