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Pedro de Valdés graduation award

Pedro Valdés’ biography


Mr. Pedro de Valdés was born in Gijón in 1544. As a second son, he was selected by his parents for church service but he fled to Naples, where he presented himself to the viceroy and began, when he was sixteen years old, his military career. After a naval confrontation against the Turkish Navy he was awarded with the Order of Santiago due to his bravery in combat. In 1956 he joined the Army of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, First Spanish Commander and Conqueror of the Provinces of Florida, where he cleaned the Atlantic Ocean of privateers.


During 8 year he was his Lieutenant, Field Master and Admiral. Until 1574 he developed an important role in all the combats in Florida that was reconquered from the French Huguenots.


He was General Captain of the Army for the galleons in the Indies twice. He was also General Captain in the Army in Flandes, taking the city of Antwerp.  Later, he departed with this fleet along the Cantabric coastline capturing several enemy ships. Due to the rebellion in the Kingdom of Portugal, he commanded a naval blockade of its coast. In the “Armada Invencible” disaster, where he was “Admiral of the Andalucía” section, his ship (“Nuestra Señora del Rosario”) was lost in battle and he was in prison for seven years In the Tower of London, England, until he was released after paying the rescue with the remaining of his parent’s inheritance.


He was Captain General in Cuba, standing out for his good administration. As the pirated kept attacking the Antilles, he made the court understand the necessity of a small armada, mainly in Santiago de Cuba, that was almost totally depopulated. He remained in this position until 1608, when he ended in military and political career. He was a man of enormous bravery with a lot of experience as commander. He achieved important victories despite the adversities. He dedicated his life to the Crown in the fight against the pirates and privateers.


Felipe II awarded him with the Canalejas Marquisate. After a hazardous life and 54 years of service to the King as Captain, Field Master, General and Governor by land and by sea overseas, he signed his testament on the 9th of March in 1615 when he was already bankrupted in his palace in Roces (Gijon).



Claudio Alvargonzález, 16, 1º
33201 Cimadevilla - Gijón

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