Protected Cruiser Ministro Zenteno
by Roberto Paredes

History: Ministro Zenteno was a protected cruiser built towards the ends of the nineteenth century. This ship was laid down in 1896 by Armstrong Mitchell & Co. Ltd., Elswick, Newcastle, UK. It was designed by Sir Philips Watts. Originally, the Brazilian Navy ordered four cruisers but they only kept the Almirante Barroso. The other three vessels were sold, two to the USA and one to Chile. In the US Navy, the ships were renamed as New Orleans and Albany. The last one was purchased by the Chilean Navy in 1896. Chili paid $250.000 pounds sterling for the ship.

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 The Ministro Zenteno differed from the Almirante Barroso only by having a uniform armament of 6 inch guns instead of the mixed guns of 6 inch and 4.7 inch in the Brazilian cruiser. Ministro Zenteno had two on the forecastle and the poop and the others on the upper deck abreast the foremast and mainmast. A ram bow was featured along with a fixed torpedo tube with two other torpedo tubes being mounted on the broadside aft, all above water. The protective deck was 1 ¼ in with 3 ½ in slopes amidships and there was a 4 in over the boiler room, glacis and conning tower. The vessel was stricken in 1930. 

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Model: The model was made by Armstrong Mitchell & Co. Ltd. and is now in the Chilean Navy Museum at Valparaíso.

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Statistics: Displacement: 3437 tons; Dimensions: 100.6m x 13.3m x 5.14m. (330ft x 43ft 9in x 16ft 10 ¼in); Armament: 8 guns x 6in/40; 10 guns x 75 mm; 4 guns x 37 mm; 4 Maxim machine guns; 3 torpedo tubes (18in); Machinery: 2-shaft VTE, cyl boilers, 7500ihp = 22.5 kts. Coal 400/850 tons. Complement: 317 men.

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Roberto Paredes can be reached at

Mr. Paredes web site on the Chilean Navy is linked below.