By Sabrina Guerra
International Journal of Naval History, Vol.8:2 (2009)
Abstract: At the end of the eighteen century and during the first decades of the nineteen century, Europe was involved in continuing conflicts among the nations fighting for consolidating their own hegemony in the Western World. The Spanish alignment with the French against Great Britain meant the transfer of this conflict to the Hispanic colonies. Therefore, the Pacific coast became the scene of incursions of British privateers, whalers and smugglers. This threat was felt in the Galapagos as well as in Guayaquil and in the Santa Elena peninsula. Between 1797 and 1808 this enemy presence disturbed the maritime commerce in the South Sea. In this context, the shipwreck of the frigate Leocadia, in Santa Elena, the night of November, 16, 1800, with an important cargo for Panama demonstrates the necessity of putting together a new defensive fleet to defeat the enemy threat. This event also reflects the difficulties that the local authorities and merchants went through to face the new peril and its repercussion for the maritime trade in the South Sea.
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