Corvette “Zaragoza” (General Zaragoza) was built in 1891 in the Forjes shipyard, in the Havre, France (Forges, Co., in Le Havre). The person in charge of bringing it to México was Brigadier of the Navy Angel Ortiz Monasterio. In its journey, it visited the Ports of Cherbourg, Cadiz and the Island of Puerto Rico and it arrived to Veracruz on February 13th, 1892, giving the control of the ship to Captain Reginal Carey Brenton.
The officers and crew of the Zaragoza are made up of: 1 man-of-war captain, commander, 1 frigate captain, chief of details, 3 first lieutenants, 3 second lieutenants, 2 sup-lieutenants, 3 first marine officers, 20 first midshipmen, 1 first chief engineer, 1 second chief engineer, 2 second engineers, 1 electric engineer, 1 third engineer, 12 mechanical apprentices, 1 first boatswain, 2 second constables, stewards, waiters, quartermasters, gunners, sailors, etc., numbering altogether 139 persons.
The Zaragoza is 213 feet in length, has a displacement of 1,226 tons and a speed of 13 knots, is built of steel, and its armament consists of four or six 7 inch Canat guns, two Nordenfeidt rapid fire guns and two Hotchkiss revolving guns.
Corvette “Zaragoza” was the first ship to navigate around the world under the orders of Commodore Angel Ortiz Monasterio, who had brought it to the country. It was Commodore Ortiz, as well as Captain Reginal Cary Brenton, who as an English instructor, started the trip around the world departing from Tampico on April 5th, 1895 and having Acapulco as their destiny, going through the Magellan Straits. Angel Ortiz Monasterio completed the trip on July 3th, 1897 in Veracruz.
This circumnavigation trip included stops at San Francisco, Honolulu, Yokohama, Nagasaki, Hong Kong, Ceylon, Adam, Portsaid, Tolón and Veracruz, where he finished the first trip around the world made by Mexican sailors.
Its first instruction trip was carried out to Europe, as a celebration of the Centenary of the discovery of America. It attended the inauguration of the monument to Genoese navigator Christopher Columbus in the Port of Palos on October 12th, 1892, with the attendance of other countries such as: England, France, Italy, Portugal, Dutchland, Austria, Argentina, etc. It was also present in the ports of Cadiz and Sevilla during those celebrations.
It participated in the Yucatán campaign against rebellious Mayan Indigenous people in 1898-1905 by transporting troops, provisions, ammunitions, etc, to the ports of Progreso, Xcalax, Isla Mujeres, Morelos Port, Cozumel, Bay of the Ascension, Hondo River, etc.
It participated in combat in Tampico’s port from April 8th to May 13th, 1914, when revolutionary troops sieged the port. In telegram dated August 25th, that same year, the commandant of the Gulf’s fleet, Gabriel Carballo, reported to President Venustiano Carranza that chiefs and officers, as well as the crew members of the corvette “Zaragoza” were at his disposal. Varacruz and Zaragoza brought reinforcements to Tampico on March 31. Both ships fired shrapnel shells at the rebel encampment.
Federal officers on the Mexican gunboat Zaragoza had intercepted messages and put in at the Huasteca dock to cut the telephone wire. At the same time they ordered the radio operator to stop his transmissions.
In 1915, it participated against the rebels of Yucatán, transporting troops, material of war and provisions, sanitary material, etc., as well as the surveillance of the coast.
In October, 1919, it escorted the remain of poet Amado Nervo, who died being Mexico’s Ambassador in the Republic of Uruguay.
In summary, corvette “Zaragoza” participated in different acts of the service, Flagship of the Mexican Navy, a Floating Naval School, surveillance of coasts, transporting troops, equipment or participating directly in combat. Since it was purchased until it was decommissioned, it was always in service, becoming the ship that navigated the most in national and international seas.
When being decommissioned and in terrible conditions, corvette “Zaragoza” served during 35 years since the day it incorporated to the National Navy. On March 6th, 1926, Major General Joaquín Amaro, War and Navy Secretary, lowered the flag and the ship was dismantled. It was taken to the Veracruzan shallows, where it was sunken with gunshots and joined the Ship Asia, denominated “Congreso Mexicano”, one of the first ships with which our naval tradition began.
Sources: http://www.semar.gob.mx, The riches of Mexico and its institutions, (1893) By Adolfo Duclós Salinas, The Americana, (1912) by Frederick Converse Beach, George Edwin Rines, Mexico: A geographical sketch (1900),