4 August 1704, 210 years ago during the War of the Spanish Succession, Gibraltar finally surrendered to an allied force under Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt and Admiral Sir George Rooke.
“... finding nothing of importance to be done...“ (Admiral Sir George Rooke)
|Early 20th century cigarette card commemorating the Capture of Gibraltar|
Actually, Rooke and his Mediterranean fleet were supposed to capture the port of Cadiz. But since he got his nose bloodied there two years before already and the days, when British admirals were put before a firing squad for not bringing their ships into action had not yet come, Rooke was at a leisure to come up with another bright idea and while he cruised through the western Med, he seemed to have remembered an old strategic fancy, Cromwell, of all the people, had come up with: capturing Gibraltar and upgrade it to a stronghold, controlling the Barbary corsairs as well as the Spanish. Since the defences of the place had last been modified during Spain’s wars with the Moors in the late Middle Ages, the idea was actually not as fanciful as it seemed at first glance.
|Don Diego de Salinas with the Rock in the background |
as imagined by the Spanish hyper realist painter Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau Nieto (1964 -)
Don Diego de Salinas and his poor excuse for a garrison had barricaded themselves in Gibraltar’s old Moorish citadel, but with the threat of execution of his men after a further assault and the ongoing abuses against the civilians, he finally decided to surrender to the allies, negotiating a free retreat for everyone who would follow him to the mainland. Gibraltar was governed by Prince George for a short time afterwards and then fell under British rule, confirmed in the Treaty of Utrecht after the war in 1713. The Rock remained British ever since. Prince George fell a year later in an attempt to take Barcelona by storm, he is buried in Spain, his heart was brought to his native city of Darmstadt in Hesse though, where it is still hanging from the ceiling of the Fürstengruft (prince's crypt) of the Stadtkirche in a brass casket. Don Diego de Salinas finally became another man from La Mancha as governor of Villaescusa de Haro, in Cuenca until his death in 1720.
* The image was found on http://gibraltar-intro.blogspot.de/2010/10/chapter-2.html
And more about the capture of Gibraltar on: