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Expedition to Vigo Bay


STUART. Anne. 1702-1714. AR Medal (38mm, 18.01 g, 12h). Expedition to Vigo Bay. By J. Croker. Dated 1702 in Roman numerals. ANNA · DEI · GRA : MAG : BR : FR : ET · HIB : REGINA ·, crowned and draped bust left / CAPTA · ET · INCENSA · GAL : ET · HISP : CLASSE (after the French and Spanish fleets were captured and burned), view of Vigo harbor, with burning Spanish and French vessels within and under attack by British and Dutch vessels under sail right at its mouth; two forts to right; AD · VIGVM · XII · OCT :/MDCCII · (at Vigo on the 12th of October). MI 236/18; Eimer 395. EF, toned, a few small marks.

The War of the Spanish Succession, sparked by Louis XIV of France in his attempts to expand his hegemony, flared into a continent-wide conflict, with France, Spain, and Bavaria opposed by a coalition centered around England, Holland, and Austria. One aim of the Allies was to deprive Spain of the wealth derived from its American colonies. When Admiral Sir George Rooke, commander of the combined fleet, learned the 1702 treasure had arrived at Vigo Bay in Spain, he resolved to seize it. His force of fifty ships besieged the harbor, destroying the French fleet guarding the convoy, sinking most of the ships and capturing cargo worth some 2 million pounds at the time. A special issue of gold and silver coins was struck from the captured plate and a number of medals honored the great victory.