The British attack on the Spanish frigates on 5 October 1804, resulting in the sinking of the frigate Mercedes and the capture of the frigates Fama, Medea and Clara and their removal to the United Kingdom, signified the loss of considerable material goods not only for the Spanish State but also for many individuals.
From that moment, the Secretary of State and Office of State and the diplomatic corps in England acted as mediators in a conflict rooted in claims for compensation. The General Archive in Simancas contains documentation related to these international relations whose aim was to inform Spanish diplomats in England of the goods that were lost in the frigate Mercedes and regarding the property seized by the British.
Compensation and reparations to individuals who lost all their belongings as a result of the British attack became a matter of state. In August 1824, a Royal Order was declared by the Secretary of State of the Government to compensate individuals. It required them to send a list of the damages to their property to the Secretary, together with written evidence to prove ownership of the property, at what precise moment and the amount claimed. Claims that were made on time were recognised as outstanding debts and were settled, one by one, through the course of the 19th century. Today they are kept in the General Archive of the Administration.
Artículos de interés
Fuentes documentales relativas a la fragata Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes y los damnificados por su hundimiento, custodiadas en el Archivo General de la Administración
Noticias sobre la fragata Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes en los convenios de arreglo de presas con Gran Bretaña
Pago a los consignatarios del Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes. Deuda de presas inglesas