Grandstand view of the Battle of Gibraltar . . . from the Rock ( 1621 )
En la ciudad de Gibraltar sacaron el Santísimo Sacramento a las murallas mientras se peleaba, y los que lo vieron desde ella han escrito a diferentes personas, que después que aquel Estrecho lo es, aunque se han visto en el muchas ocasiones, nunca los nacidos la vieron semejante.
Despite the endless warfare that has taken place on and around the Rock over the centuries, there have only been two engagements that have warranted being given the name of "Battle of Gibraltar".
Both took place within the context of the Dutch War of Independence. The first - a major disaster for the Spanish and an important victory for the Dutch - is a much referred to historical event, at any rate by Dutch and British commentators. It has also been covered by me elsewhere. (see LINK)
1607 - The Battle of Gibraltar
The second took place in 1621 and has been given far less publicity. Nevertheless very shortly after the event, a pamphlet was published in Granada which included copies of two letters to Gaspar Ruiz de Pereda, Mayor and Military Governor of Malaga. The first was written by Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo, the Admiral of the Spanish fleet that took part in the engagement. The second was by an anonymous author describing the success of the admiral's naval engagement against the Dutch.
The Dutch fleet - some authorities state there were some Danish ships involved as well - were sighted from the 'Hacho' in Gibraltar. They were not just passing by - they were actually looking for trouble. Fadrique moved his flagship the Santa Teresa - one of the most powerful galleons of the day - out of the Bay and engaged the enemy who somehow managed to demast the ship but were unable to put it out of action. Fadrique - reputedly the one of greatest naval commanders of the era - won the day despite being heavily outnumbered. Four ships were captured, several were sunk and four foundered near Catalan Bay after the battle . Psychologiocally it was a moral boosting victory.
The demasted Santa Teresa fights on (Enrique Jácome y Brocas )
The defeat at the hands of the Dutch in the first Battle of Gibraltar had been avenged. But there was more to it than that.
Una de las mejores circunstancias deste buen suceso, es aver sido el primero después de rota la guerra, porque va a dezir mucho en entrar ganando, y el empezar bien, siempre la tiene por la mitad de la obra, de quien se den a Dios gracias, pues es suya.
Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo (1634 - Felix Castello )