Capture of Gibraltar
The Capture of Gibraltar by Anglo-Dutch forces of the Grand Alliance occurred between 1 and 4 August 1704 during the War of the Spanish Succession. Since the beginning of the war the Alliance had been looking for a harbour in the Iberian Peninsula to control the Strait of Gibraltar and facilitate naval operations against the French fleet in the western Mediterranean Sea. An attempt to seize Cádiz had ended in failure in September 1702, but following the Alliance fleet's successful raid in Vigo Bay in October that year, the combined fleets of the'Maritime Powers', the Netherlands and England, had emerged as the dominant naval force in the region; this strength helped persuade King Peter II of Portugal to sever his alliance with France and Bourbon-controlled Spain, ally himself with the Grand Alliance in 1703. Now with access to the Portuguese port of Lisbon the Alliance fleets could campaign in the Mediterranean, conduct operations in support of the Austrian Habsburg candidate to the Spanish throne, the Archduke Charles, known to his supporters as Charles III of Spain.
Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt represented the Habsburg cause in the region. In May 1704 the Prince and Admiral George Rooke, commander of the main Grand Alliance fleet, failed to take Barcelona in the name of'Charles III'. In order to compensate for their lack of success the Alliance commanders resolved to capture Gibraltar, a small town on the southern Spanish coast. Following a heavy bombardment the town was invaded by Dutch marines and sailors; the governor, Diego de Salinas, agreed to surrender Gibraltar and its small garrison on 4 August. Three days Prince George entered the town with Austrian and Spanish Habsburg troops in the name of Charles III of Spain; the Grand Alliance failed in its objective of replacing Philip V with Charles III as King of Spain, but in the peace negotiations Gibraltar was ceded to Britain. At the start of the War of the Spanish Succession Portugal was nominally an ally of the Bourbons: France under Louis XIV, Spain under his grandson, Philip V. Although not a belligerent, Portugal's harbours were closed to the enemies of the Bourbon powers – principally the vessels of England and the Dutch Republic.
However, following the Anglo-Dutch naval victory at Vigo Bay in 1702 the balance of naval forces had swung in favour of the Grand Alliance. Having now the ability to cut off Portugal's food supplies and trade it was not hard for the Allied diplomats to induce King Peter II to sign the Methuen Treaties of May 1703 and join the Alliance. Once Peter II had committed himself to war the Alliance fleets gained access to Portugal's harbours, in particular the port of Lisbon. In return for his allegiance Peter II had demanded military and financial aid and territorial concessions in Spain. Known to his supporters as Charles III of Spain, the young pretender arrived in Lisbon – via London – with George Rooke's fleet on 7 March 1704, amid great celebrations. Apart from the failed Grand Alliance attempt to take Cádiz in 1702, the subsequent attack on the Spanish treasure fleet in Vigo Bay, the war had thus far been limited to the Low Countries and Italy. With Portugal's change of allegiance, the war moved towards Spain.
In May 1704 the court at Lisbon received news that French and Spanish troops had crossed the frontier into Portugal. This army of 26,000 men under Philip V and the Duke of Berwick scored several victories on the border: Salvaterra fell on 8 May, Penha Garcia on 11 May, Philip V oversaw the fall of Castelo Branco on 23 May, T'Serclaes captured Portalegre on 8 June, but without supply for their forces, the coming summer heat made it impossible for them to continue with the campaign, Philip V returned to Madrid on 16 July to a hero's welcome. However, the heat did not affect the war at sea. Using Lisbon as an improvised forward base Admiral Rooke's Anglo-Dutch fleet ventured into the Mediterranean Sea in May 1704. After seeing the Levant trading fleet safely through the Strait of Gibraltar Rooke headed towards Nice to put himself in touch with Victor Amadeus II, Duke of Savoy; the Grand Alliance had planned for a naval attack upon the French base at Toulon in conjunction with the Savoyard army and the rebels of the Cévennes.
Accompanying Rooke was Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt who had enjoyed popularity amongst the Catalans as their governor at the end of the Nine Years' War. The Prince was the great exponent of the Barcelona plan. On 30 May, under cover of the ships’ guns, Prince George landed with 1,200 English and 400 Dutch marines. Moreover, the dissidents were incensed by the size of the Alliance force and had expected the personal appearance of'Charles III'. Ultimatums for Velesco to surrender on pain of bombardment were ignored, the plans for an insurrection from within the city's walls failed to materialize. Rooke, fearing an attack from a French squadron, was impatient for departure. Prince George could do little more than order his local followers – a thousand in all – to disperse to
The Blue Ensign is a flag, one of several British ensigns, used by certain organisations or territories associated with the United Kingdom. It is used either plain, or defaced with a other emblem; the evolution of the Blue Ensign followed that of the Union Jack. The ensign originated in the 17th century with the St George's cross in the canton, with a blue field; the Acts of Union 1707 united England and Wales with Scotland in the Kingdom of Great Britain, thus producing a new Blue Ensign with the new Union Flag in the canton. With the Act of Union 1800, Ireland joined the United Kingdom and St Patrick's Cross was added to the Union Flag and, accordingly, to the cantons of all British ensigns from 1 January 1801. Prior to the reorganisation of the Royal Navy in 1864, the plain blue ensign had been the ensign of one of three squadrons of the Royal Navy, the Blue Squadron; this changed in 1864, when an order in council provided that the Red Ensign was allocated to merchantmen, the Blue Ensign was to be the flag of ships in public service or commanded by an officer in the Royal Naval Reserve, the White Ensign was allocated to the Navy.
Thus, after 1864, the plain blue ensign is permitted to be worn, instead of the Red Ensign, by three categories of civilian vessel: British merchant vessels whose officers and crew include a certain number of retired Royal Navy personnel or Royal Navy reservists, or are commanded by an officer of the Royal Naval Reserve in possession of a Government warrant. The number and rank of such crew members required has varied over the years, as have the additional conditions required, since the system was first introduced in 1864. Royal Research Ships by warrant whether manned by former Royal Navy personnel or Merchant Navy personnel. British-registered yachts belonging to members of the following yacht clubs:Permission for yachts to wear the blue ensign was suspended during both World War I and World War II. Since 1864, the Blue Ensign is defaced with a badge or emblem, to form the ensign of United Kingdom government departments or public bodies. Current defaced Blue Ensigns are: Yachting Blue Ensigns defaced by the badge of the club were recorded in the Navy List until 1985, now they are administered by the Royal Yachting Association for the Ministry of Defence.
Current defaced Blue Ensigns are: Current flags: Flag of Anguilla Government Ensign of Bermuda Flag of the British Virgin Islands Flag of the Cayman Islands Flag of the Falkland Islands Government Ensign of Gibraltar Flag of Montserrat Flag of Pitcairn Islands Flag of Saint Helena Flag of Turks and Caicos IslandsFormer flags: The defaced blue ensign was used as: The jack of the Royal Canadian Navy from its inception until the adoption of the Maple Leaf flag in 1965. The blue ensign was approved by the British Admiralty in 1868 for use by ships owned by the Canadian government; the ensign and the jack of the Royal Indian Navy: Flag of The United States of the Ionian Islands Flag of British Hong Kong and the ensign of the Royal Hong Kong Police Force were based on the Blue Ensign. Flag of Weihaiwei. Newfoundland The badge in the flag consists of Mercury, the god of Commerce and Merchandise, presenting to Britannia, a fisherman who, in a kneeling attitude, is offering the harvest of all the sea.
Above the device in a scroll are the words Terra Nova, below the motto Haec Tibi Dona Fero or "These gifts I bring thee." The seal was redesigned by Adelaine Lane, niece of Governor Sir Cavendish Boyle in 1903. These include: Flag of Australia Flag of New South Wales Flag of Queensland Flag of South Australia Flag of Tasmania Flag of Victoria Flag of Western Australia Flag of Fiji Flag of New Zealand Flag of the Cook Islands Flag of Tuvalu Flag of Ceylon Ensign of The Royal Hospital School George Rex Flag Tanganyika Territory blue ensign British ensign Australian flag debate New Zealand flag debate Green Ensign Historical flags of the British Empire and the overseas territories Red Ensign White Ensign Ensign Notes Footnotes Blue Ensign page on the "Flags of the World" website UK, Government, Yacht clubs on flags.net
Gibraltar Botanic Gardens
The Gibraltar Botanic Gardens or La Alameda Gardens are a botanical garden in Gibraltar, spanning around 6 hectares. The Rock Hotel lies above the park. In 1816 the gardens were commissioned by the British Governor of Gibraltar General George Don, it was his intention that the soldiers stationed in the fortress would have a pleasant recreational area to enjoy when off duty, so inhabitants could enjoy the air protected from the extreme heat of the sun. The gardens were resurrected in 1991 by an external company when it was realised that since the 1970s they had fallen into a poor state. Three years the gardens had the addition of a zoo: the Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park. In 2001 a bronze sculpture of James Joyce's Molly Bloom was installed in the gardens; this running figure was commissioned from Jon Searle to celebrate the bicentenary of the Gibraltar Chronicle in 2001. General Don had commissioned a memorial of George Augustus Eliott, 1st Baron Heathfield in 1815, which did not materialise in the form requested.
A colossal statue of General Eliot, carved from the bowsprit of the Spanish ship San Juan Nepomuceno, taken at the Battle of Trafalgar was first created. That statue was taken to the Governor's residence, The Convent, where it stands today, being replaced by the present bronze bust in 1858; this statue is guarded for four 18th-century howitzers. The plants of the Alameda Gardens are a combination of native species and others brought in from abroad: Dracaena draco, a subtropical Dragon Tree native to the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Madeira and locally in western Morocco; the oldest dragon tree in the gardens is about 300 years old. Stone pine, a species of pine native of southern Europe the Iberian Peninsula. Wild Olive, a species of small tree in the family Oleaceae. Celtis australis, a deciduous tree that can be among 20 to 25 metres of height. Grevillea robusta, the largest species in the genus Grevillea. There is only one specimen of this tree in the gardens. Canary Island Date Palm, a large palm native to the Canary Islands off the Atlantic coast of north Africa.
Washingtonia filifera, a palm native to the desert oases of Central and southwestern Arizona, southern Nevada, extreme northwest Mexico and inland deserts of southern California. Howea forsteriana, endemic to Lord Howe Island. Solitaire Palm Ptychosperma elegans an evergreen shrub native to East Asia. Bougainvillea, a genus of flowering plants native to South America from Brazil west to Peru and south to southern Argentina. Asteraceae, the second largest family of flowering plants. Pelargonium, a genus of flowering plants. Succulent plant, water-retaining plants adapted to arid soil conditions; the Alameda Open Air Theatre was inaugurated once again on 12 April 1996 at four o'clock with three bands of music playing - the same number of bands as had attended 180 years before to the hour at the opening of the Alameda Gardens in 1816. In order to extend its use from just theatre to general use, a number of new features were introduced, like the waterfall and lake - the largest area of open fresh water on the Rock, with Koi Carp and a collection of exotic lilies.
Since its opening, this venue has been used for a variety of purposes, from beauty contests to band concerts weddings, dinner dances and variety shows. It is the main venue for the GIB Fringe; the theater is available for hire and all proceeds will go directly into continued improvements in the theatre and in the rest of Gibraltar's historic and improving Alameda Gardens. Useful information about the theater and its facilities: Seating Capacity: 435 Stage Area: 120 m2 Lighting Equipment: 34 Wide and Beams with colored filters if required. 3 stage and 3 public entrances. Bar, changing rooms and toilet facilities. Seating with table maximum capacity: 300 List of plants in the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens Gibraltar candytuft Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park Grove Poplar avenue "Gibraltar Botanical Gardens "The Alameda"". Government of Gibraltar. Retrieved 2007-11-27. Official website Alameda Gardens in the site of the Government of Gibraltar
MV New Flame
MV New Flame was a Panamanian bulk-carrier cargo ship. It collided with an oil tanker off Europa Point, the southernmost tip of Gibraltar on 12 August 2007, ended up submerged in the Strait of Gibraltar; the vessel broke into two in December 2007 amid numerous unsuccessful recovery efforts. The cargo was salvaged and the stern section removed for scrap. Following the crew's rescue, the captain was arrested for having departed without authorisation. Charges of endangering shipping were dropped. New Flame measured 190 metres long, 30 metres wide and 28 metres tall, of which 16 metres were under the water line, it had a capacity of nearly 44,000 tonnes deadweight. At time of the incident it had a crew of 23 and it was owned by Transmar, a Greek shipping company; the ship was built in June 1994 by Daewoo H. I, South Korea and first named as Skaustrand. From 1995 it was named Aditya Gautam and was owned by the Indian company Century Textiles & Industries Ltd, who sold it in 2005 to Transmar for $22.5 million.
In the early morning of 12 August 2007, New Flame departed from Europa Point en route to Turkey, carrying 27,000 tons of scrap metal and 750 tons of fuel oil. About one kilometre south of Europa Point, it ran into the stern of Torm Gertrud, a double-hulled Danish petroleum tanker, scheduled to complete a personnel transfer in the Spanish port of Algeciras; the tanker proceeded towards Algeciras after the collision, where it was secured, with its cargo of 39,000 tons of fuel, whilst New Flame took water by the bow. The ship was abandoned by the crew and thereafter became submerged and ran aground nearby; the rescue response at the working level of Gibraltar was commended, although there was considerable criticism at a local level in Spain, due to the dispute between Spain and Gibraltar. Removal of the vessel’s fuel was initiated on 15 August with the arrival of the tug Hua-An joined by the tug Fotiy Krylov, it was the first priority of the salvage operation to minimise the environmental impact of the collision, followed by operations to refloat the ship.
On 20 August the salvage operation turned to the controlled break-up of the ship in two halves and the first reports of a'minor' oil-spill were reported. It was reported; the tug Fotiy Krylov had attempted to move the ship and divers checked the damage, concluding that the ship's structural integrity was sound enough for the removal of fuel to continue. By 24 August, it looked that the ship would be refloated if only to tow to a safer location; the salvage companies involved were Svitzer Wijsmuller Salvage. On 14 September 2007, the Government of Gibraltar announced that all fuel had been removed from the vessel, totalling 780 cubic metres; the operation had been hampered by the exposed location of the wreck. It was reported that the ship would not be salvaged in a single piece due to structural damage and would be instead cut in two parts at one-third of its length from the bow; the stern section would be removed first and towed to a safe area, where it would have its cargo removed and be taken to dry dock in Gibraltar.
On completion, the bow part would have been taken apart. The operation was scheduled to start in October 2007 with the removal of the stern in November and the bow as late as March 2008. However, the salvage company experienced technical difficulties in cutting up the vessel. Following prolonged bad weather, the vessel broke into two on 22 December 2007, prompting an emergency meeting by the Government of Gibraltar with maritime authorities. On 28 December 2007, the vessel's insurers placed the salvage operation in the hands of Titan Maritime, one of the world's largest marine salvage companies. New Flame avoided becoming a local shipwreck when in August 2008, the stern section was lifted and taken to the ship repair yard; the salvage operation of New Flame featured on "Salvage Code Red" on the National Geographic Channel on 16 February 2009. Following the collision, there were concerns raised that such incidents in the area were commonplace, with local politicians on both Gibraltar and Spanish sides calling for a review of procedures.
On 21 August the Spanish Maritime Safety Agency announced that it had put in place its anti-pollution alert program. This involved the deployment of the ship Don Inda, based in Galicia, which arrived at Algeciras on 14 August. On 31 August the European Maritime Safety Agency announced that, at the request of the Spanish administration the ship Mistra Bay, which specialised in the treatment of pollution, would be sent to the area. Following continued media speculation and accusations in Spain, the Government of Gibraltar announced it would make no further public comment, except to say that "this salvage operation has taken place more than comparable salvage operations elsewhere in the world." The captain, Demetrio Konstantinos, a Greek national, was arrested and released on bail. He faced safety charges. Subsequently Konstantinos pleaded guilty to leaving port without proper notification and paid a small fine, but charges of endangering shipping were dropped. MV Fedra "Pictures and discussion of events".
"Pictures and commentary soon after the collision and once salvage underway". "206/2007, Salvage Operation'New Flame' Attachment". Government of Gibraltar Press Release. 2007-09-14. Archived from the original on 2007-11-24. "New Flame - Gibraltar, agosto de 2007". Titan Marine
Barbary macaques in Gibraltar
From the Atlas Mountains and the Rif Mountains of Morocco, the Barbary macaque population in Gibraltar is the only wild monkey population on the European continent. Although most populations in Africa are experiencing declining populations due to hunting and deforestation, the population of Barbary monkeys in Gibraltar is increasing; some 300 animals in five troops occupy the Upper Rock area of the Gibraltar Nature Reserve, though they make occasional forays into the town. As they are a tailless species, they are known locally as Barbary apes or rock apes, despite being monkeys; the local people refer to them as monos when conversing in Spanish or Llanito. The name Barbary refers to the Berber People of Morocco who since the beginning of history had ties with the animals surrounding their region, as the Barbary macaques; the macaque population had been present on the Rock of Gibraltar long before Gibraltar was captured by the British in 1704 and according to records, since prior to reconquest of Gibraltar from the Muslims.
It was during the Islamic period. In his work Historia de la Muy Noble y Más Leal Ciudad de Gibraltar, written between 1605 and 1610, Alonso Hernández del Portillo, the first chronicler of Gibraltar, wrote: "But now let us speak of other and living producers which in spite of the asperity of the rock still maintain themselves in the mountain, there are monkeys, who may be called the true owners, with possession from time immemorial, always tenacious of the dominion, living for the most part on the eastern side in high and inaccessible chasms." In his History of Gibraltar, Ignacio López de Ayala, a Spanish historian like Portillo, wrote of the monkeys: "Neither the incursions of Moor, the Spaniards nor the English, nor cannon nor bomb of either have been able to dislodge them." Repeated introduction of animals and the lack of reliable data concerning founders of the Gibraltar macaque population has obscured their origin. The fact that all extant Gibraltarian mtDNA haplotypes were found in North Africa, combined with the lack of fossil evidence of M. sylvanus in Gibraltar at the end of the last glaciation diminishes the possibility that the Gibraltar macaques represent or include any remnant of the original European population, a possibility which can not be excluded.
Indeed, it had been earlier suggested that the original Gibraltar macaques were a remnant of populations that had spread throughout Southern Europe during the Pliocene, up to 5.5 million years ago. The Macaca sylvanus species is declining. About 75% of the total population is found in the Middle Atlas Mountains. During the Pleistocene, this species inhabited the Mediterranean coasts and Europe, reaching as far north as Germany and the British Isles; the species decreased with the arrival of the Ice Age, to extinction in the Iberian Peninsula 30,000 years ago. The Gibraltar Barbary macaques are considered by many to be the top tourist attraction in Gibraltar; the most popular troop is that of Queen's Gate at the Ape's Den, where people can get close to the monkeys. They will approach and sometimes climb onto people, as they are used to human interaction, they are still wild animals and will bite if frightened or annoyed. The macaques' contact with large numbers of tourists was causing the integrity of their social groups to break down, as they began to become dependent on humans.
This induced the monkeys to forage in the town, resulting in damage to buildings and vehicles. Close contact with humans has led to the macaques learning how to open pockets and unzip handbags and rucksacks in order to steal food from humans. For these reasons, deliberately feeding the macaques in Gibraltar is now an offence punishable by law. Anyone caught feeding the monkeys is liable to be fined up to £4,000. Gibraltar's Barbary macaque population was under the care of the British Army and the Gibraltar Regiment from 1915 to 1991, who controlled a population that consisted of a single troop. The'Keeper of the Apes' would keep the official records, maintaining an up-to-date register for each ape, listing their births and names and supervising their diet, which they drew every week; the food allowance of fruit and nuts was included in the budget, set by the War Office at £4 a month in 1944. They would humorously announce births in the'Gibraltar Chronicle':— "Rock Apes. Births: To Phyllis, wife of Tony, at the Upper Rock, on 30th June 1942— a child.
Both doing well." Much to the delight of readers. They were named after governors and high-ranking officers. Any ill or injured monkey needing surgery or any other form of medical attention was taken to Royal Naval Hospital Gibraltar and received the same treatment as would an enlisted service man; when UK-based infantry units were withdrawn and garrison duty was left to the Gibraltar Regiment, the Government of Gibraltar took over responsibility for the monkeys. Lt Bill Parker of the Royal Artillery Major W O Skelton of the Royal Artillery Gunner Wilfred Portlock of the Royal Artillery Regiment Sgt Alfred Holmes of the Gibraltar Regiment Cpl. Ernest Asquez of the Gibraltar Regiment On 11th May 1954, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the ape packs while on a visit to Gibraltar. A photograph captured the Queen feeding a Barbary ape while the Duke of Edinburgh stood next to battle-dressed ape-keeper Gunner Wilfred Portlock; the monkeys are managed by the Gibraltar Orni
History of Gibraltar
The history of Gibraltar, a small peninsula on the southern Iberian coast near the entrance of the Mediterranean Sea, spans over 2,900 years. The peninsula has evolved from a place of reverence in ancient times into "one of the most densely fortified and fought-over places in Europe", as one historian has put it. Gibraltar's location has given it an outsized significance in the history of Europe and its fortified town, established in medieval times, has hosted garrisons that sustained numerous sieges and battles over the centuries. Gibraltar was first inhabited over 50,000 years ago by Neanderthals and may have been one of their last places of habitation before they died out around 24,000 years ago. Gibraltar's recorded history began around 950 BC with the Phoenicians; the Carthaginians and Romans worshipped Hercules in shrines said to have been built on the Rock of Gibraltar, which they called Mons Calpe, the "Hollow Mountain", which they regarded as one of the twin Pillars of Hercules. Gibraltar became part of the Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania following the collapse of the Roman Empire and came under Muslim Moorish rule in 711 AD.
It was permanently settled for the first time by the Moors and was renamed Jebel Tariq – the Mount of Tariq corrupted into Gibraltar. The Christian Crown of Castile annexed it in 1309, lost it again to the Moors in 1333 and regained it in 1462. Gibraltar became part of the unified Kingdom of Spain and remained under Spanish rule until 1704, it was captured during the War of the Spanish Succession by an Anglo-Dutch fleet in the name of Charles VI of Austria, the Habsburg contender to the Spanish throne. At the war's end, Spain ceded the territory to Britain under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713. Spain tried to regain control of Gibraltar, which Britain had declared a Crown colony, through military and economic pressure. Gibraltar was besieged and bombarded during three wars between Britain and Spain but the attacks were repulsed on each occasion. By the end of the last siege, in the late 18th century, Gibraltar had faced fourteen sieges in 500 years. In the years after Trafalgar, Gibraltar became a major base in the Peninsular War.
The colony grew during the 19th and early 20th centuries, becoming a key British possession in the Mediterranean. It was a key stopping point for vessels en route to India via the Suez Canal. A large British naval base was constructed there at great expense at the end of the 19th century and became the backbone of Gibraltar's economy. British control of Gibraltar enabled the Allies to control the entrance to the Mediterranean during the Second World War, it was attacked on several occasions by German and Vichy French forces, though without causing much damage. The Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco declined to join a Nazi plan to occupy Gibraltar but revived Spain's claim to the territory after the war; as the territorial dispute intensified, Spain closed its border with Gibraltar between 1969 and 1985 and communications links were severed. Spain's position was supported by Latin American countries but was rejected by Britain and the Gibraltarians themselves, who vigorously asserted their right to self-determination.
Discussions of Gibraltar's status have continued between Britain and Spain but have not reached any conclusion. Since 1985, Gibraltar has undergone major changes as a result of reductions in Britain's overseas defence commitments. Most British forces have left the territory, no longer seen as a place of major military importance, its economy is now based on tourism, financial services and Internet gambling. Gibraltar is self-governed, with its own parliament and government, though the UK maintains responsibility for defence and foreign policy, its economic success has made it one of the wealthiest areas of the European Union. The history of Gibraltar has been driven by its strategic position near the entrance of the Mediterranean Sea, it is a narrow peninsula at the eastern side of the Bay of Gibraltar, 6 kilometres from the city of Algeciras. Gibraltar is on the far south coast of Spain at one of the narrowest points in the Mediterranean, only 24 kilometres from the coast of Morocco in North Africa.
Its position on the bay makes it an advantageous natural anchorage for ships. As one writer has put it, "whoever controls Gibraltar controls the movement of ships into and out of the Mediterranean. In terms of military and naval power, few places have a more strategic location than Gibraltar."The territory's area measures only 6.7 square kilometres. Most of the land area is occupied by the steeply sloping Rock of Gibraltar which reaches a height of 426 metres; the town of Gibraltar lies at the base of the Rock on the west side of the peninsula. A narrow, low-lying isthmus connects the peninsula to the Spanish mainland; the North Face of the Rock is a nearly vertical cliff 396 metres high overlooking the isthmus. Gibraltar's geography has thus given it considerable natural defensive advantages, it is impossible to scale the eastern or northern sides of the Rock, which are either vertical or nearly so. To the south, the flat area around Europa Point is surrounded by cliffs which are up to 30 metres high.
The western side is the only practicable area for a landing, but here the steep slopes on which the town is built work to the advantage of a defender. These factors have given it an enormous military significance over the centuries. Gibraltar's appearance in prehistory was different. Whereas today it is surrounded by sea, th
George Augustus Eliott, 1st Baron Heathfield
George Augustus Eliott, 1st Baron Heathfield, PC, KB was a British Army officer who served in three major wars during the eighteenth century. He rose to distinction during the Seven Years' War when he fought in Germany and participated in the British attacks on Belle Île and Cuba. Eliott is most notable for his command of the Gibraltar garrison during the Great Siege of Gibraltar, which lasted from 1779 and 1783, during the American War of Independence, he was celebrated for his successful defence of the fortress. Eliott was born at Wells House, near Stobs Castle, the 10th son of Sir Gilbert Eliott, 3rd Baronet, of Stobs, by his distant cousin Eleanor Elliot of Brugh and Wells in Roxburghshire. Eleanor's brother was courtier William Elliot of Wells. One of his Eleanor's sisters, had married Roger Elliott, another Governor of Gibraltar. Eliott was educated at the University of Leiden in the Dutch Republic and studied artillery and other military subjects at the école militaire of La Fère in France.
He served with the Prussian Army between 1735 and 1736. In 1741 he transferred to the Engineers and joined the 2nd Troop of Horse Grenadier Guards, of which his maternal uncle, William Elliot of Wells, was Lieutenant-Colonel, of which Eliott was afterwards Lieutenant-Colonel, he served throughout the War of Austrian Succession between 1742 and 1748, fighting at the Battle of Dettingen, where he was wounded, again at the Battle of Fontenoy. He became an Engineer Extraordinary in 1744 and Engineer Ordinary in 1747 when he was stationed at Sheerness. Eliott resigned from the Engineers in 1757. Eliott served as ADC to King George II between 1756 and 1759 during which time he was raised to Colonel. Appointed Brigadier for the 1758 expedition to France, where he was placed in command of the Brigade of Light Cavalry, He was tasked to raise and was appointed colonel of the 1st Light Horse. Eliott distinguished himself in the German campaign during the Battle of Minden in 1759 when he was promoted to Major-General and the 1760 Battle of Emsdorf.
He took part in the Capture of Belle Île in 1761. He was 2nd-in-charge at the capture of Havana during the 1762 British expedition against Cuba for which he received a significant amount of prize money, he was promoted Lieutenant-General in 1765. On 6 March 1775 he was made a Privy Counsellor and temporarily appointed commander of Forces in Ireland. On 25 May 1777 Eliott was appointed Governor of Gibraltar, taking over from the acting Governor, Robert Boyd. Eliott was promoted to General in 1778. In July 1779, Gibraltar was besieged by the Spanish. Eliott using his engineering skills to good effect in improving the fortifications. By August, it was apparent that the Spanish intended to starve the garrison; the Great Siege of Gibraltar would last from 1779 to 1783. A notable letter from Eliott to the Misses Fuller survives, dated 21 September 1779 and delivered on 4 October, it said "Nothing new. G. A. E." Eliott was an abstemious man, his diet comprising vegetables and water. He rarely slept for more than four hours at a time.
On 13 September 1782, the French and Spanish initiated a grand attack, involving 100,000 men, 48 ships and 450 cannon. Under great duress, the Garrison held its position and, by 1783, the siege was finishing. On 8 January 1783, the British Parliament sent their official thanks to Eliott and he was nominated a Knight of the Bath. By 6 February 1783, the siege was over. Eliott was invested with his honour at Gibraltar on 23 April. A portrait from 1784, "The Siege of Gibraltar" by George Carter survives in the National Portrait Gallery. Eliott returned to England in 1787, he was created Lord Heathfield, Baron Heathfield of Gibraltar on 6 July 1787 and in addition many statues and coins were produced in his honour. A will exists dated 27 February 1788. On 19 May 1788 Eliott was formally installed as Knight of the Bath, and, in June 1788, a portrait "The Installation Supper" was painted by James Gillray and resides in the National Portrait Gallery. About this time, Eliott was making his way overland back to Gibraltar.
However, he stayed in the Aachen area to recuperate. During 1790, he stayed at: Grossen Hotel, Dubigk. In June 1790 he rented the Schloss Kalkofen, moved in his furniture but did not live long to enjoy the facilities. On 6 July 1790, Eliott died at the Schloss Kalkofen, Aachen, of palsy / stroke brought on by drinking too much of the local mineral water, was buried in the grounds of the Schloss, his personal estate was probated by 27 July and his furniture sold off by his heirs. In 1790, his body was reburied at Heathfield, East Sussex. Still, his body was again disinterred and reburied at St Andrew's Church, Buckland Monachorum, Devon in the church associated with his wife's Drake ancestry. On 8 September 1748 at St Sepulchre-without-Newgate, George Augustus Eliott married Anne Pollexfen Drake, a collateral descendant of Sir Francis Drake, they had two children: Francis Augustus Eliott, 2nd and last Baron Heathfield Anne Pollexfen Eliott, who married John Trayton Fuller on 21 May 1777 General Eliott has been commemorated on a Gibraltar pound banknote.
In August and September 1787, George's portrait was painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds and now resides in the National Gallery. A painting entitled The Defeat of the Floating