In His Majesty’s Service: the career of Captain Francisco de Cuéllar in the armed forces of the Spanish Monarchy (1578-1606)

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Kelly, Francis
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University College Cork
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Captain Francisco de Cuéllar was a military officer who served in the armed forces of the Spanish Monarchy during the late sixteenth century. He is known to Irish history through a remarkable account (Carta) that he composed about his experiences in Ireland and Scotland following shipwreck on the Sligo coast in September 1588. While Cuéllar and his Carta became synonymous with the story of the Spanish Armada in Ireland, virtually nothing else was known about him. This thesis has two objectives: to present the first comprehensive study of Captain Cuéllar’s career, which spanned the years 1578-1606, and to assess his military service within the broader context of soldierly life of the period. Using a rich haul of previously undiscovered documentation from Spanish and Belgian archives, the progression of Captain Cuéllar’s military service has been retraced. Divided into two sections, Part I comprises three chapters that retell the story of his career. The aim of the section is not just to document Cuéllar’s activities, but also to reflect on the strategic designs of the Spanish Monarchy that shaped the context in which Cuéllar’s military service was played out. Part II also consists of three chapters. In this section the discussion will focus on analysis of his military service. Cuéllar served as an officer for most of his career. As a captain he was a member of a cohort of officials whose responsibility it was to recruit, maintain, and lead the troops with the task of ensuring that the policies formulated by the Spanish Monarchy, in the international sphere, would succeed. Through additional topics: promotion, remuneration, discipline etc., Cuéllar’s experiences and activities are evaluated in relation to established assumptions about military life. Thereby, the study seeks to garner new insights about the livelihood of the average military officer of the time.
History , Biography , Spanish Armada , Spain , Ireland , Military history , Early modern , Sixteenth century
Kelly, F. 2017. In His Majesty’s Service: the career of Captain Francisco de Cuéllar in the armed forces of the Spanish Monarchy (1578-1606). PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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