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Capitana de la Saane

  1. Name: Capitana de La Saane
  2. Type of vessel: military, warship
  3. Flag: Spain
  4. Date of sinking: 25 July 1543
  5. Cause: naval battle
  6. Location: in the vicinity of Mount Louro, Estuary of Muros. Still to be located
  7. Diving level:
  8. GALP territory: Estuary of Muros-Noia


The Saane, Álvaro de Bazán and the Battle of Muros, 1543

The Capitana de La Saane was a French warship that belonged to the Alabardes fleet led by General De Saane. The ship called the “capitana” was where the fleet’s command resided, where the commander was found. Its cargo was made up of of military supplies and possibly the loot that the fleet had obtained in the ports it had attacked.

At the time, the French General Jean de Clamorgan, Lord of La Saane, was negotiating a large ransom with the residents of the village of Muros under threat of looting the town as he had carried out in Laxe, Finisterre and Corcubión. Clamorgan, considered the best French naval officer of the time, demanded 12,000 ducats by putting pressure on with his ships that were in the Bay of Muros, showing a behaviour that was more typical of piracy that of a soldier.

Amid the negotiations, on the 25 July which was St. James’ day, the Spanish fleet led by Álvaro de Bazán, the elder, entered the estuary. The armada was made up of only 16 ships. Angry with the intentions of Jean de Clamorgan, Álvaro de Bazán rallied his troops with a famous phrase: “Gentlemen! Spain can not lose a battle on such an important day! Without reinforcements and outnumbered, we will fight and we will win! “

Bazán rammed the French flagship with the bow of his boat. After the collision, the enemy flagsip foundered and Álvaro de Bazán’s boat suffered major damage and the loss of 100 men. After two hours of battle 23 French ships surrendered and only one managed to escape, though badly damaged, with the main mast broken in two after being hit by a cannon shot.

Over three thousand Frenchmen were taken prisoner during the battle, while the Spanish fleet had 300 casualties and five hundred wounded.

San Guillermo’s arm

Álvaro de Bazán regretted that, with the sinking of the French captain, most of the booty that the French had obtained in the plundering of Laxe, Finisterre and Corcubión was also going to the bottom of the sea. Surely, among the treasures was the venerated relic of Saint Guillermo of Finisterre’s arm in its silver reliquary, so Álvaro de Bazán could no longer win the favour of the saint by returning it to the church of Santa María das Areas.

The Battle of Muros in 1543 went down in history as the first modern battle of the Atlantic. Also present was Don Alvaro’s son, Alvaro de Bazán, who would later be known as the Marquis of Santa Cruz and who would soon become the best admiral of the Spanish Navy of all times.

In turn, Jean de Clamorgan, Lord of La Saane, retired forever to his possessions, where he wrote a book on wolf hunting, an end that could be described as ridiculous for one who had been the best sailor in the French fleet.

Today, Jean de Clamorgan’s La Capitana is still at the bottom of the sea and, presumably, with San Guillermo’s arm inside, in its silver reliquary. Its location and condition are unknown.