Early in the Cuban Insurrection, to contain the United States, Spain planned convert about ten vessels into auxiliary cruisers. However, the main need at the time was for transports to carry Spanish troops to Cuba. Most of the intended auxiliary cruisers were altered to serve as transports instead.
Therefore, when the War began, Spain had about ten armored steamers. The vessels became part of Gruppo E of the Reserve Squadron. Though intended for action against American lines of communication, most of these vessels were used as blockade runners.
Formerly the Hamburg-American Lines liner COLUMBIA, she was built at Birkenhead. The vessel formerly carried 400 first class passengers, 12o second class passengers and 580 third class passengers. The vessel was intended for use by the German government in times of war. On April 8, 1898, Spain purchased this liner and converted her to the auxiliary cruiser RAPIDO. The vessel was commissioned 12 days later.
RAPIDO was part of Admiral Camara's Reserve squadron, and accompanied the Admiral on his aborted trip to the Philippines, which ended at Port Said, Egypt.
After the war, RAPIDO was used as transport to return the Spanish troops from Cuba to metropolis, Spain. In late 189, Hamburg America Lines repurchased RAPIDO and put her back into service as COLUMBIA.
In 1904, the liner was sold to Russia, and was converted to an auxiliary cruiser and named TEREK. She saw service on the Pacific ocean. Before being scrapped in 1907.
|Armament:||Two 162mm/35mm breechloading guns|
|Two 140mm/35mm breechloading guns|
|Six 47mm/44mm quickfire guns|
|Engine Type:||Twin screws, 12,500 hp.|
"Spanish auxiliary cruisers of 1898" Warship International. - 1970. # 1. - P.88.
Wilson H.W., Downfall of Spain.