Blas de Lezo


Blas de Lezo was one of the most influential admirals in his time , recognized for being a man who gave everything of himself, to win all battles, in addition, he is remembered for his great feats in the various battles he led.


Personal information

  • When was he born: 02/03/1689
  • Where he was born: Pasajes, Spain
  • When he died: 09/07/1741
  • Where he died: Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

Who was Blas de Lezo?

He is a renowned admiral of Spanish origin , who is historically recognized for all the feats he performed in the battles that were led under his command.

  • Biography of Blas de Lezo
  • Death
  • What did Blas de Lezo do
  • Defense of Cartagena de Indias
  • Physical characteristics
  • Personality
  • Why they called him half a man
  • Phrases by Blas de Lezo
  • Monuments
  • Books

Biography of Blas de Lezo

His full name was Blas de Lezo y Olavarieta , born on February 3, 1689 in the old Oyarzo, at the foot of Monte Ulía, in the Basque country ; later he was baptized in the church of San Pedro de Pasajes on February 6, 1689 ; Born as the grandson of Captain Pedro de Lezo , who had won a noble execution in 1657, his father was Pedro Francisco de Lezo and his mother Agustina de Olavarrieta , who made their wedding vows in 1683 . His upbringing was quiet, on the shores of the Cantabrian Sea , which was a home for sailors that was recognized for having an air offantastic tales about fishing and fabulous voyages through the waters of the sea. 

He was a Spanish admiral who was mostly recognized for his multiple war wounds ; He was considered one of the most tenacious strategists in the history of the Spanish Armada ; At the age of 13, he entered the French-Spanish Navy as a marine guard , in the war in which the succession of the Spanish throne was taking place, all his studies were advanced in France and his first time serving was in the fleet of the first Admiral The Count of Tolosa , in the battle of Vélez-Málaga.

In 1704, on August 24 , Blas de Lezo, who was only a teenager at that time, lost his left leg , after which he was promoted to high-ranking ensign , carrying out his activities from then on with a leg made of wood ; A year later and after adapting to his physical limitation he served enthusiastically as a ship’s lieutenant and went to the aid of Peñíscola and after a year of this he guarded some convoys that were sent from France to Felipe V , in this same year Lezo set fire for the first time a ship , which was known as the Resolution in the vicinity of Ventimiglia.

In 1707 , after two years remaining relatively unharmed in all his battles, he lost his left eye , however he continued his service tenaciously, thus promoting a year later to lieutenant in the port of Rochefort and two years later he was promoted to Captain of the frigate again.

During the reign of Felipe V he participated in multiple naval actions, adding to this that he organized the protection of the Spanish dominions of Chile and Peru, positioning himself against the pirates of the time , coupled with this, he directed the taking of Oran in 1732 By the year 1741 he was already Commander General of Cartagena de Indias , for which he was one of the first who went out to defend the city from the attack of the English , together with Viceroy Sebastián de Eslava ; action for which he took a lot of fame and a lot of honor.


He died on September 7, 1741 , not because of war, since when he went to battles this seemed to have more than 7 lives, he died because of physical and moral pain, since the viceroy of the time had put him in blame for all the disasters that were caused by the war.

What did Blas de Lezo do

He was an admiral who did everything he could to put the name of his nation up high , one of the best strategists and sailors that ever existed for his time, specializing and being active in various battles that cost him various parts of his anatomy , however That never stopped him in his ascent to become Commander General .

Defense of Cartagena de Indias

Its defense was one of the most successful against the English , since the ships and resources of Cartagena de Indias at that time were at a great disadvantage since they only had 6 ships of the line, 7 commercial galleons and some smaller vessels , while that the enemies had more than 140 ships, of which 36 were ships and the rest were frigates, transports , firecrackers and bombards.

However, Blas de Lezo’s strategy was so precise that with six ships he defeated the English , not a single ship was left standing, but he achieved the victory that he so longed for with his reckless character.

Physical characteristics

Blas de Lezo was a man with a pale complexion and thick build , his height was average, most of the time he dressed elegantly ; As mentioned above, he lost his right arm , his left eye and his left leg in battle , which was replaced by a completely wooden leg.


His face was always serious and cold, due to the same consequences of the war and the experiences he lived in these battles, although except for this, he was a man who from an early age, longed for a profession which he proposed to obtain, which he ended up fulfilling. and exercising. His perseverance and courage led him to accomplish everything he set out to do, including navigating and providing justice to all those who sought help in him. As the years passed, he suffered the loss of his limbs that did not stop him and he continued on his way until he reached Commander General.

Why they called him half a man

Some Gipuzkoans used to define it in Basque as ankamortz , this word meant half a man. This nickname was due to the fact that in different wars and battles in which he had been a part, he lost many of his limbs and parts of his body, such as his left leg, his right arm and his left eye, being already at the age of 25 old he was almost with only half a body.

Phrases by Blas de Lezo

  • “I hope and demand, and I am sure I will get the same behavior from you.”
  • “Every good Spaniard should always piss looking at England.”
  • “Die, then, to live in honor!”
  • “If I had been in Portobelo, his mercy would not have insulted the king’s squares with impunity, my lord. Because the courage that those from Portobelo lacked would have been more than enough to contain their cowardice. “


One of the monuments of Blas de Lezo that are most recognized , is the following, which was made in the city that he saved from English hands:

  • In 1955 on September 7 in Cartagena de Indias a statue was donated by the Spanish government in homage to Blas de Lezo.


  • Half-man: Blas de Lezo and the battle that England hid from the world, Alber Vázquez.
  • Don Blas de Lezo: Biography of a Spanish sailor, Gonzalo María Quintero.
  • The day that Spain defeated England, Pablo E Victoria.

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