1704-1789






Gibraltar Spanish, 1462-1704



In 1462 Gibraltar was taken by Castile. Both the Duke of Medina Sidonia and the Castilian crown claimed possession; a royal governor was appointed, the city granted privileges. The marriage of Isabel of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon (1469; both ruled their respective countries since 1474/1479) laid the foundation for the united Kingdom of Spain, the first king of which is regarded their grandson, Charles I. (= Emperor Charles V., 1519-1556); thus Gibraltar turned from a Castilian to a Spanish possession.
The sack of Zahara, a Castilian city, by soldiers of the Emirate of Granada, started the war between Granada and Castile & Aragon, that lead to the conquest of Granada in 1492. In 1497, Gibraltar functioned as base for a Castilian expedition against the North African coast; Melilla was taken. In 1499, Gibraltar served as a port of departure for expelled Moors. In 1502, a penal settlement was established at Gibraltar. After the death of Queen Isabella (1506), the Duke of Medina Sidonia tried to take Gibraltar by force (10th siege). In 1540 Corsairs from North Africa (among them Moors expelled from Andalusia, familiar with the region) raided Gibraltar; on their way back the Corsair fleet was taken by the Spanish fleet. To deal with the Corsair problem, Spain built a chain of watchtowers along her southern coast, providing an early warning system. In 1581 the Mendicant Friars of Our Lady of Victims established themselves at Gibraltar; they tried to negotiate the freedom of christians held captive in North Africa (most of whom were abducted during Corsair raids).
In 1607, late in the Dutch War of Independence, a Dutch fleet under van Heemskerck destroyed the Spanish fleet under Juan Alvarez d'Avila while the latter was still at anchor at Gibraltar; both admirals fell in the battle. In 1609, Gibraltar again served as port of departure, for expelled Moriscos. In 1614 Gibraltar served as base for a naval expedition against the Corsairs. In 1620 an English fleet for the first time sailed past Gibraltar into the Mediterranean; a second one passed G. in 1625. In 1627, Spain modernized the fortifications of Gibraltar.
A 1649 epidemic killed a quarter of the population. Through the marriage of King Charles II. of England and Princess Catherine of Braganca (the ruling house of Portugal), England received Bombay and Tangiers as part of the dowry. England and Spain entered into a natural alliance, because of common concern of the rise of France and of the Corsair threat. English fleets were received amiably in Spanish ports in the 1650es to 1680es.
In the War of Spanish Succession, England supports the Austrian Habsburg party - Carlos III., later Emperor Charles VI., the ultimately loosing side. During the war, a combined Anglo-Dutch force under the command of Duke Georg von Hessen-Darmstadt (an Imperial commander) takes Gibraltar by siege in 1704.






EXTERNAL
FILES
History of Gibraltar, from gibnet
Timeline of Gibraltar History, from Govt. of Gibraltar Website
DOCUMENTS Map Rock of Gibraltar, 1695, from Mappe di Citta' ed altre mappe antiche diverse, comment in Italian
REFERENCE William G.F. Jackson, The Rock of the Gibraltarians. A History of Gibraltar, Grendon : Gibraltar Books (1987) 1998;



This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on July 29th 2003, last revised on November 9th 2004

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