Juan Bauptista Topete - Encyclopedia

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JUAN BAUPTISTA TOPETE (1821-1885), Spanish naval commander and politician, was born in Mexico on the 24th of May 1821. His father and grandfather were also Spanish admirals. He entered the navy at the age of seventeen, cut out a Carlist vessel in 1839, became a midshipman at twenty-two, obtained the cross of naval merit for saving the life of a sailor in 1841 and became a lieutenant in 1845. He served on the West Indian station for three years, and was engaged in repressing the slave trade before he was promoted frigate captain in 1857. He was chief of staff to the fleet during the Morocco War, 1859, after which he got the crosses of San Fernando and San Hermenegildo. Having been appointed chief of the Carrara arsenal at Cadiz, he was elected deputy and joined the Union Liberal of O'Donnell and Serrano. He was sent out to the Pacific in command of the frigate "Blanca," and was present at the bombardment of Valparaiso and Callao, where he was badly wounded, and in other engagements of the war between Chile and Peru. On his return to Spain, Topete was made port captain at Cadiz, which enabled him to take the lead of the conspiracy in the fleet against the Bourbon monarchy. He sent the steamer "Buenaventura" to the Canary Isle for Serrano and the other exiles; and when Prim and Sagasta arrived from Gibraltar, the whole fleet under the influence of Topete took such an attitude that the people, garrison and authorities of Cadiz followed suit. Topete took part in all the acts of the revolutionary government, accepted the post of marine minister, was elected a member of the Cortes of 1869, supported the pretensions of Montpensier, opposed the election of Amadeus, sat in several cabinets of that king's reign, was prosecuted by the federal republic of 1873 and again took charge of the marine under Serrano in 1874. After the Restoration Topete for some years held aloof, but finally accepted the presidency of a naval board in 1877, and sat in the Senate as a life peer until his death on the 29th of October 1885 at Madrid.

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