Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (1706)
The Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife was a minor military action of the War of the Spanish Succession during which an English fleet of 13 ships under the command of Admiral John Jennings attempted unsuccessfully to seize the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Jennings previously relied on the English triumphs in the Iberian Peninsula demanding recognition for the sovereignty of Charles II of England over the Canary Islands, but their offers were rejected.
By 1706, during the War of the Spanish Succession, Philip V had lost Gibraltar to an Anglo-Dutch fleet commanded by George Rooke, the Spanish galleons in the port of Vigo had been burnt or captured, and the Allied army was entering Castile after overran Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia. In this situation Admiral John Jenning sailed into Santa Cruz bay with 12 ships of the line and several minor warships in order to capture the town or surrender it to England. The English ships were then subjected to a heavy gunfire from hidden shore batteries, suffering many casualties.
After an initial attempt of landing rejected by the Spanish artillery of Castle of San Cristóbal, Jennings sent an emissary to the authorities of Santa Cruz who apologized for the attack saying that it was an error. In addition, the emissary urged the authorities of the island to join the Austrian side under the menace of take the city by force. The mayor José de Ayala y Rojas, head of the defense of Santa Cruz in the absence of Governor Agustín de Robles, refused, confirming the fidelity of the islands to King Philip V. «If Philip, our king, had lost his all in the Peninsula, these islands would still remain faithful to him.» He said. Afer this, the English fleet withdrew.
Although the British fleet retreated rapidly at night, the Spanish armed militia remained two days patrolling Santa Cruz, and few months in La Palma. For this victory over the English was added to the Coat of arms of Santa Cruz de Tenerife a second lion head, being the third result of the attack of Horatio Nelson in 1797, which also failed. The British attacked again the Canary Islands in 1743, but they were also beaten off.
- The Julian calendar as used in England in 1706 differed by eleven days. Thus, the battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife took place on 6 November (Gregorian calendar) or 26 October(Julian calendar)
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- Nicholas p.85
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