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World of 1898: International Perspectives on the Spanish American War

Pascual Cervera y Topete

Cervera at the time of the war. Exciting experiences in our wars with Spain, and the Filipinos, p. 262. Download an uncompressed TIFF (.tif) version of this image.

Pascual Cervera y Topete was born in Medina Sidonia, Cádiz, Spain, in 1839. His naval career began in 1852, when he attended the Naval Academy of San Fernando. During his career, Cervera showed outstanding dedication and courage which resulted in several promotions of rank. Among others, Cervera served in the Moroccan campaign of 1859 and the Spanish-American War of 1898.

During the War of 1898, he commanded of the squadron sent to protect the colonies in the New World from the United States. He entered Santiago Bay, Cuba, May 19, 1898 where he was immediately blockaded by Admiral Sampson's fleet. On July 3, Cervera followed orders and tried an heroic but unsuccessful escape from the enemy's blockade. As a result, he lost all his ships and became a prisoner of war. However, his daring won him the respect and admiration of the enemy forces. He was released and returned to Spain that September. He continued working for the Spanish Crown for several years before retiring to Puerto Real where he died in 1909.