The 900 Ton Vessel that the Earl Of Cumberland Sailed On

By Phineas Upham

The Red Dragon, or the official title “The Scourge of Malice,” was a massive 38-gun flagship ordered by the Earl of Cumberland in 1595. The Earl’s goal was to create the largest ship known to any company, and while perhaps not the absolute largest is weighed somewhere between 600 and 900 tonnes.

The Earl departed with three other ships promptly upon christening the ship. His goal was the Spanish Main, but he was recalled by the Queen soon after he departed. He left his smaller fleet to continue on the voyage, but they were unable to complete the journey alone. After regrouping, the Scourge of Malice was once again allayed, this time by weather that damaged her main mast. She sought repairs and set out in 1598.

The Earl set out to capture Brazil from the Spanish, assaulting a fort with some 600 men, including reinforcements from the Spanish army. But conditions at the fort were not so forgiving. Dysentary had overtaken the troops, they had lost their discipline, and the fort became a death trap of looting and thievery.

Still, even in that disheveled state, the English could not overtake their fortified position. They eventually opted to lay siege. The operation took around two weeks before the Spanish left the fort and the English took over. The Earl occupied for 65 days before the same dysentery that had affected the Spanish overtook the British too.

The fort was abandoned soon after, and the Earl commissioned the vessel to the East India Company. There it became known as the Red Dragon, where its achievements and wealth amassed.

About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or Twitter page.

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