I've googled all the obvious: Spain history; Spain war Britain; Spanish history timeline; Britain and Spain at war; Iberian Peninsular War etc., and bounced around Wikipedia checking Nelson and Napoleon, but there's a big fat gap between what seems to be a brief war at sea from 1796 (when Spain declares war on Britain) and 1797 (when the British navy defeats the Spanish) and 1804 when Spain declares war on Britain again. Then in 1805 Spanish ships join the French against the British at Trafalgar.
Specifically would Spanish shipping in the Atlantic have been fair game for British Privateers between 1797 and 1804? Did the defeat of the Spanish end that short war or was it just a temporary setback for Spain?
According to http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/H/history/napoleon/timeline1.html Spain declares war on Britain in 1796 but in February 1797, the British navy defeats Spain at the battle of St Vincent, off Portugal, and seizes Spanish Trinidad and Dutch Tobago (West Indies).
But what happens then between the two countries? I can't find any details of whys or wherefores; whether it's an uneasy peace, sometimes broken, or whether Spanish shipping is completely off limits to British navy and privateers. What exactly is the state of play in 1800 in the Atlantic when much of my action takes place?
My British privateer is sailing the Atlantic from 1797 to 1801 with Letters of Marque from the Crown. Which countries' shipping (apart from the obvious France) are fair game without them being branded as pirates?