The world's first electric battery-powered submarine “Peral”

Isaac Peral was born on 1 June 1851 in Cartegena, a large and densely populated city on the Mediterranean coast, which was established as a naval base in the 16th Century.
At the tender age of 14, Peral enrolled at the San Fernando Naval Military School in Cadiz, and at 16, he earned a commission into the Spanish Navy. During his Naval career, Peral was involved in active duties, travelling to Cuba and the Phillipines. Peral excelled in his work, and was awarded a medal for bravery.
In 1882, Peral was awarded the role of Professor of Physics at the Escuela de Ampliación de Estudios de la Armada. His growing knowledge of science and technology, combined with an understanding that Spain needed new methods to protect their territories overseas, spurred him to begin work on the plans for El Peral, a submarine designed for military use.
With the encouragement and financial input of the naval minister Manuel de la Pezuela, Peral was able to build a full sized model of his design and which was launched in 1888. El Peral measured 22 metres in length, with a cigar-like shape, and was powered by two electrical 30 horse power engines. During the testing process, the submarine simulated both day and night time attacks, along with firing three Whitehead torpedos.
Unfortunately, despite promising results, in 1890, further investigation of underwater vessels for military use was brought to an end.
In 1890 Peral was withdrawn from service, equipment removed, and the hull stored at La Carraca Arsenal. In 1913 her demolition was ordered but this was not carried out. In 1929, Admiral Mateo García de los Reyes, first commander of the Spanish submarine forces, managed to reclaim the hull and towed it to Cartagena, putting it ashore at the submarine base. In 1965 the authorities of Cartagena succeeded in moving the hull to the Plaza de los Héroes de Cavite. In 2002 was moved to the Paseo Alfonso XII, in front of the port of Cartagena. In 2013, Peral was restored and moved to the Cartagena Naval Museum.

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