Like the starship Enterprise on a 5-year mission, Spanish ships were sent from the island of Cuba to blindly seek what was 'out there' and claim it for the Crown.
Spanish ships sailed northward and made their way as far north as what is now New England.
The land was charted but there were never enough Spaniards to colonize all that land. As a result, the Spanish were not too surprised when they found out about a French installation just north of present day St. Augustine.
The town was founded as a base for a Spanish military expedition sent to destroy the French outpost, and then, afterwards, maintained as an outpost against any future resettlement by the French or English.
The American squadron made a series of firing passes, wreaking great havoc on the Spanish ships. At first, Dewey's ships concentrated their fire on Montojo's flagship, unprotected cruiser Reina Cristina, and on unprotected cruiser Castilla, and Isla de Cuba suffered little damage. When Reina Cristina was disabled, Isla de Cuba and her sister ship, Isla de Luzón, came alongside the sinking Reina Cristina to assist her under heavy American gunfire. Admiral Montojo shifted his flag to Isla de Cuba.When Montojo's squadron had been battered into submission, Isla de Cuba was scuttled in shallow water to avoid capture. Her upper works remained above the water, and a team from gunboat USS Petrel went aboard and set Isla de Cuba on fire.