Captain of sea and war
|Naval officer ranks|
Captain of sea and war (Portuguese: capitão de mar e guerra) is a rank in a small number of navies, notably those of Portugal and Brazil, which corresponds to the rank of ship-of-the-line captain, or the US and Commonwealth rank of full captain.
The term captain of sea and war, like the modern rank of ship-of-the-line captain in the navies of France, Italy, and Spain, has deep historic roots. Although the rank was first formally established in the 17th century, the expression had been sometimes been used in the Portuguese and Spanish (as Capitán de Mar y Guerra) armadas of the 16th century. But generally, in the 16th and early 17th centuries, the captain of a Portuguese man-of-war was simply called a capitão, while the commander of a fleet was termed capitão-mor, literally "captain-major".
During the 16th century, the term almirante was used in Portugal to designate the second in command of a fleet. Only during the 18th century would it come to designate the fleet commander - an admiral in the more modern sense. But during the latter half of the 17th century, the term "captain of sea and war" came to designate the commander of a larger man-of-war - the ship of the line that began evolving at that time. When that happened, the Portuguese Navy, as other navies, came to use the term capitão de fragata and capitão-tenente, literally "frigate captain" and "captain-lieutenant", to designate the commanders of smaller warships. When Brazil gained her independence from Portugal in 1822, her Navy adopted the Portuguese rank denominations, which both countries still use.
Rank insignia of a Portuguese captain of sea and war, worn on the lower sleeve
Rank insignia of a Brazilian captain of sea and war, worn on the lower sleeve
Front page of the Breve Compendio do que pertence à obrigação de hum Capitão de Mar, & Guerra, or "Brief compendium of what pertains to the obligation of a captain of sea and war" (1676)