THE SPANISH NAVY
The Spanish Navy was beset by mixed fortunes in the Age of Sail, achieving great victories and major defeats in an interesting balance. Particularly during the Napoleonic era, Spanish allegiances were subject to fluctuations, oftentimes at odds with the British, yet allying with them when the situation suited (such as their rejection of Napoleon in 1808 – even in the wake of Trafalgar in which a quarter of the Spanish Navy had been lost).
The Spanish Navy was the largest in the world at the outset of the 1700s, though this diminished to third-largest as the century wore on. Not only fighting close to home, the Spanish Navy fought engagements as far away as the Carribean and South America, where they achieved similarly mixed results.