Warship Orange in the Mediterranean 1688 - 1689

Rotterdam convoy to Venice 1688
The Admiraliteitshof in Rotterdam
The Admiraliteitshof in Rotterdam was
the seat of the Meuse Admiralty.
By Jan Bulthuis, 1790 - 1799
Date:1688 - 1689
Ships involved:
OrangeAnthony Pieterson

1 Rotterdam Admiralty and Pirates

1.1 A Rotterdam convoy to Venice

On 28 October 1687 the Rotterdam Admiralty gave notice that it would give convoy towards Venice, only stopping in Cadiz. It would leave mid-November, and the new merchant frigate St. Marco, Captain Jan Gerritsz armed with 40 guns ('gotelingen') would be part of it OHC 30 October 1687. Others named it an especially well sailing new frigate OHC 28 October 1687 advertisement. The warship Orange of the Maas admiralty, commanded by Anthony Pieterson would be the escort. The St Marcus and a ship to Venice left Rotterdam on 1 January 1688 OHC 3 January 1688. On 22 January 1688 the Rotterdam warship 'Orangie' of Pieterson arrived in Cadiz OHC 2 March 1688.

1.2 Fight with Algerine Pirates

From Cadiz the Orangie left on the 31 January with the St. Marcus and Nedrigheyt OHC 2 March 1688. Apparently the Orange then set sail to Sardegna with its convoy, but they somehow got separated. On 22 March messages had arrived in Livorno about two ships 'of the Rotterdam Convoy'. The Rotterdam ship St Marcus and the small Rotterdam ship Nederigheid were sailing to venice when a storm made them loose contact with their escort.

The St Marcus and the Nederigheid then got into a harsh fight with two Algiers Pirates for a few hours. The skipper of the Nederigheid and a lot of his crew got killed. On the St. Marcus the skipper lost the hand on his right arm, all his steermen, and the other officers killed or wounded OHC 8 April 1688. In spite of this, the merchants did make the pirates retreat.

1.3 Ships unnecessarily wrecked

Two days later these ships saw a big Man of War approaching them with full sails. Finding themselves in no position to resists, they 'beached' their ships on the rocks of Sicily. This to find out that the new 'attacker'was a French Man of War, and they had wrecked their ships for nothing OHC 10 April 1688. From Marseille on 7 March the news was that Algerine pirates had caused the ships to be beached OHC 20 March 1688.

1.4 Pieterson returns to Cadiz

Pieterson then sailed from Cagliari to Livorno. After it had stormed for two days on the coast of Tuscany, the Orange came in view of that harbor on 5 April 1688 OHC 24 April 1688.

2 A second convoy to Venice

2.1 Pieterson waits for Muscovy ships

On 2 June 1688 the Orange arrived alone in Cadiz, and finding nothing to convoy, it sent to Holland for orders OHC 6 July 1688. It was then ordered to wait for two ships from Arkhangelsk ships that had been stuck in the ice in the past winter and were destined for Italy OHC 19 June 1688. These indeed arrived in Cadiz on 24 July OHC 28 August 1688.

2.2 Pieterson sails to Venice

On 28 July 1688 the warship 'Orangien' captain Peterson sailed out of Cadiz and to the Strait. It Convoyed the 'Muscovy ships' St. Anna and Mercurius, and was destined for Venice OHC 28 August 1688. On 25 August 1688 Anthony Pieterson, his ship Orangie and the St. Anna, Leendert van Egmond; and Mercurius, Jan Peis arrived in Livorno OHC 18 September 1688. By 29 October1) they had arrived in Venice OHC 13 Nov 1688, where they probably spent the winter months.

2.3 Blocked by French privateers

On 4 April 1689 the 'Rotterdam convoy' of Pieterson, with 2 merchant ships, had arrived in Messina. There it found (Schrijver's) 'our Smyrna ships' (arrived 22 March '89). In Messina they would stop for a while due to French activity OHC 7 May 1689 page 4. The English ship City of Jerusalem intended to sail from Venice to Messina, and to join this convoy. Near the coast of Calabria it encountered some French privateers. After a 6 hour fight the Jerusalem was beached and burned OHC 8 September 1689. It seems the same happened to the Fedelta OHC 17 Sep 1689.

3 Messina to Cadiz

3.1 Supposed attempt to sail to Livorno

On 1 August 1689 the Rotterdam convoy from Venice under Pieterson was said to leave from Messina to Livorno AC 3 September 1689. On 8 August they did, but they left the Smyrna ships behind OHC 8 September 1689. Shortly after they left, two Genovese galleys came in and reported that three French warships were cruising about. The Dutch consul Wonsel then sent a Felouk to get Pieterson back and to organize a safe convoy for the Smyrna ships that would then have little to fear from the three warships OHC 17 September 1689. The logic of not combining Pieterson's convoy with Schrijver's seems to be in the Smyrna's ships being eager to continue their voyage to Livorno, whatever the danger. Fact is that Schrijver and his convoy left Messina about a month later, and sailed north.

3.2 Messina to Cadiz

It's not clear whether this ship even succceeded in overtaking Pieterson. News from Livorno was that Pieterson had set a course straight for Cadiz AC 17 September 1689. On 12 August Pieterson's convoy passed Palermo with a favorable wind OHC 24 Sep 1689 They next arrived in Malaga; 6 merchant ships and an escort, of which three ships would continue OHC 10 Sep 1689. Or more precisely: Pieterson passed Malaga with the 2 merchants from Venice on 11 September OHC 8 October 1689. On 16 September Pieterson arrived in Cadiz with the Anna and the Mercurius, and at the same time the English Rebecca OHC 22 Oct 1689.

3.3 A late 1689 convoy from Cadiz

On 2 October the Rotterdam convoy left Cadiz. One day before it the Genovese Sta. Trinidad; the Venetian Our Lady of Loretto; and Las 3 Ermanas had set sail for Texel OHC 5 November 1689. On 8 October Captain Pieterson's convoy was sighted near Cape St. Vincent by the Oostende Convoy to Cadiz OHC 22 November 1689. On 18 October 21 ships were reported to have been seen at the latitude of Lisbon, believed to be Pieterson's convoy with some English ships OHC 29 October 1689 p 4. A big ship from Genoa coming with this convoy was later reported in England OHC 3 November 1689. On 30 October Pieterson entered the Meuse with the Anna, the Mercurius, the Rebecca and 4 prizes OHC 1 November 1689.

4 Sources

Most of this page is based on two papers published at the time. 'OHC 5 Aug 1689' stands for the Oprechte Haarlemse Courant of 5 August 1689, and it can be found at Delpher the site of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Royal Dutch Library). The same goes for AC, which stands for Amsterdamsche Courant. I did not make an effort to standardize names like Van der Saen. In the digital age looking for Van der Saen with the original orthography will probably be much more effective.

5 Notes

1) Based on the date of the letters from Venice.