Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Bertendona mss., 1581-1667, are the papers of Martin de Bertendona, 1530?-1604, admiral in the Spanish Armada, and of his family and associates, primarily his son-in-law, Gaspar Olarte de Orozco.

Bertendona was born in Bilbao, Spain; served with four ships belonging to his family in 1569; was a captain in the Armada in 1574; sailed with Alvaro de Bazan, marques de Santa Cruz to the Azores, commanding his own ship, in 1583; commanded the Levantine squadron in the Armada in 1588; commanded the Vizcayan squadron from 1588 until his death; captured the ship "Revenge" in September 1591; ran convoys of troops, supplies, and money to Blavet from Spain from 1592- 1594 after the capture of Blavet by the Spanish in 1592; raised money and men for the Spanish in the 1590's; was instrumental in assembling the fleet sent against the English in 1596-1597 under Martin de Padilla y Manrique, conde de Santa Gadea y Buendia; took Calais in February 1598; built ships for Spain and delivered six of them to Portugal in 1600; was part of an expedition to Flanders which was cancelled in 1601; and died in September 1604 on route to Lisbon, leaving Gaspar Olarte de Orozco to take command of the Vizcayan squadron.

The bulk of the material in the collection, 1586-1604, consists of orders, certificates of service and correspondence with two Spanish kings, Felipe II and Felipe III, and various government officials. The papers deal with the "Invincible Armada" of 1588, the capture of the "Revenge" in 1591, the contribution of the Basques to Spain's sea power, and the re-building of the Armada after the 1588 defeat. Much of the material, particularly that after 1604, concerns Gaspar Olarte de Orozco and other associates who had dealings with Bertendona and his Vizcayan squadron.

Among correspondents in the collection are Albert, Archduke of Austria; Antonio de Arespacochaga; Antonio de Aroztegui; Martin de Aroztegui; Alonso de Bazan; Luis Fajardo; Pedro Franqueza y Esteve, conde de Villalonga; Diego de Ibarra; Esteban de Ibarra; Juan de Idiaquez; Juan de Silva, conde de Portalege; Spain. Sovereigns, etc., 1556- 1598 (Felipe II); Spain. Sovereigns, etc., 1598-1621 (Felipe III); and Spain. Sovereigns, etc., 1621-1665 (Felipe IV).

For further information see Charles Ralph Boxer. "The Papers of Martin de Bertendona, A Basque Admiral of Spain's Golden Age, 1586-1604", in The Indiana University Bookman, (Bloomington, Indiana), No. 10, November 1969, p. 3-23; Garrett Mattingly, The Armada, Boston, Houghton, Mifflin, 1959 (DA360 .M44); and Michael A. Lewis, The Spanish Armada, London, B.T. Batsford, 1960 (DA360 .L67).

Collection size: 177 items in one box and one oversize folder

Collection size: 177 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.