|Battle of San Juan (1797)|
|Part of the French Revolutionary Wars|
The Fortín de San Gerónimo was key to the defense of San Juan.
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of San Juan was a 1797 ill-fated British assault on the Spanish colonial port city of San Juan in Puerto Rico during the 1796–1808 Anglo-Spanish War. The attack was carried out facing the historic town of Miramar.
The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 1 January 1801. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government that was based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". Since its inception the kingdom was in legislative and personal union with Ireland and after the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover.
A port is a maritime facility which may comprise one or more wharves where ships may dock to load and discharge passengers and cargo. Although usually situated on a sea coast or estuary, some ports, such as Hamburg, Manchester and Duluth, are many miles inland, with access to the sea via river or canal.
San Juan is the capital and most populous municipality in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States. As of the 2010 census, it is the 46th-largest city under the jurisdiction of the United States, with a population of 395,326. San Juan was founded by Spanish colonists in 1521, who called it Ciudad de Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico's capital is the third oldest European-established capital city in the Americas, after Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic, founded in 1496 and Panama City, in Panama, founded in 1519. Several historical buildings are located in San Juan; among the most notable are the city's former defensive forts, Fort San Felipe del Morro and Fort San Cristóbal, and La Fortaleza, the oldest executive mansion in continuous use in the Americas.
Spain aligned herself with France by signing the Second Treaty of San Ildefonso in 1796. Britain then targeted both countries' Caribbean colonies. Admiral Sir Henry Harvey's fleet picked up Sir Ralph Abercromby's army in Barbados. Together, they captured Trinidad from the Spanish, before heading for San Juan.
The Second Treaty of San Ildefonso was signed on 19 August 1796 between Spain and the First French Republic. Based on the terms of the agreement, France and Spain would become allies and combine their forces against the British Empire.
On February 18, 1797, a fleet of 18 warships under the command of Sir Ralph Abercromby invaded and took the Island of Trinidad. Within a few days the last Spanish Governor, Don José María Chacón surrendered the island to Abercromby.
On 17 April 1797, Lieutenant-General Sir Ralph Abercromby's fleet of 68 vessels appeared offshore Puerto Rico with a force of 7,000, which included German auxiliaries and French émigrés. Two frigates then blocked San Juan harbor.
Sir Ralph Abercromby was a Scottish soldier and politician. He twice served as MP for Clackmannanshire, rose to the rank of lieutenant-general in the British Army, was appointed Governor of Trinidad, served as Commander-in-Chief, Ireland, and was noted for his services during the French Revolutionary Wars.
The governor, Field Marshal Don Ramón de Castro y Gutiérrez, had already mobilized his 4000 militia and 200 Spanish garrison troops, which combined with 300 French privateers, 2000 armed peasantry, and paroled prisoners, brought his troop strength almost equal to the British. He also had 376 cannon, 35 mortars, 4 howitzers and 3 swivel guns amongst the island's defenses.
A privateer is a private person or ship that engages in maritime warfare under a commission of war. The commission, also known as a letter of marque, empowers the person to carry on all forms of hostility permissible at sea by the usages of war, including attacking foreign vessels during wartime and taking them as prizes. Historically, captured ships were subject to condemnation and sale under prize law, with the proceeds divided between the privateer sponsors, shipowners, captains and crew. A percentage share usually went to the issuer of the commission. Since robbery under arms was once common to seaborne trade, all merchant ships were already armed. During war, naval resources were auxiliary to operations on land so privateering was a way of subsidizing state power by mobilizing armed ships and sailors.
A mortar is usually a simple, lightweight, man portable, muzzle-loaded weapon, consisting of a smooth-bore metal tube fixed to a base plate with a lightweight bipod mount and a sight. They launch explosive shells in high-arcing ballistic trajectories. Mortars are typically used as indirect fire weapons for close fire support with a variety of ammunition.
A howitzer is a type of artillery piece characterized by a relatively short barrel and the use of comparatively small propellant charges to propel projectiles over relatively high trajectories, with a steep angle of descent.
Abercromby landed 3000 troops on 18 April and took control of Cangrejos. Castro moved his forces to Escambrón and the Spanish First Line of Defense.
Santurce is a barrio in the municipality of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Its population in 2010 was 81,251. It is also the biggest and most populated of all the districts in the capital with a bigger population than most municipalities of Puerto Rico and one of the most densely populated areas of the island.
On 21 April, the British started a 7-day artillery duel with Spanish forts of San Gerónimo and San Antonio, located at the Boquerón Inlet. At the same time, the puertorriqueños put pressure on the British positions, the Spanish recaptured Martín Peña Bridge, while militia Sergeant Francisco Díaz raided behind British lines, bringing back prisoners. Then, on the 29th and 30th, the Spanish crossed the Boquerón Inlet, and forced the British to pull back.
Martín Peña Bridge, in Spanish properly known as Puente Martín Peña, is an Art Deco style bridge from 1939, designed by Cecilio Delgado and others. It is located in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
José "Pepe" Díaz and Francisco Díaz were two cousins who served as Sergeants in the Toa Alta Militia. Both cousins helped defeat Sir Ralph Abercromby and defend Puerto Rico from a British invasion in 1797.
On 1 May, the Spanish learned the British were gone, leaving behind arms, stores and ammunition.
Castillo San Felipe del Morro, also known as El Morro, is a citadel built between 16th and 18th centuries in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Castillo San Cristóbal, is a fortress in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was built by Spain to protect against land based attacks on the city of San Juan. It is part of San Juan National Historic Site.
Fortín de San Gerónimo del Boquerón is a small fort located at the mouth of the Condado Lagoon, across from the historic sector of Miramar in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The Battle of Mobile was a British attempt to recapture the town of Mobile, in the British province of West Florida, from the Spanish during the Anglo-Spanish War. The Spanish had previously captured Mobile in March 1780. On January 7, 1781, a British attack against a Spanish outpost on the east side of Mobile Bay was repulsed, and the German leader of the expedition was killed.
HMS Arethusa was a 38-gun Minerva-class fifth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy built at Bristol in 1781. She served in three wars and made a number of notable captures before she was broken up in 1815.
Benito Pérez Brito de los Ríos y Fernández Valdelomar was a Spanish military officer and colonial official. From March 21, 1812 to November 1812, he was viceroy of New Granada.
Juan de Amézqueta, was a captain in the Puerto Rican Militia who defended Puerto Rico from an invasion by the Dutch in 1625. He fought and wounded Captain Balduino Enrico who was ordered by the Dutch Government to capture Puerto Rico.
The history of Puerto Rico began with the settlement of the archipelago of Puerto Rico by the Ortoiroid people between 3,000 and 2,000 BC. Other tribes, such as the Saladoid and Arawak Native Puerto Ricans, populated the island between 430 BC and 1000 AD. At the time of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World in 1493, the dominant indigenous culture was that of the Taínos. The Taíno people's numbers went dangerously low during the later half of the 16th century because of new infectious diseases carried by Europeans, exploitation by Spanish settlers, and warfare.
The Battle of San Juan (1595) was a Spanish victory during the Anglo–Spanish War. This war broke out in 1585 and was fought not only in the European theatre but in Spain's American colonies. After emerging from six years of disgrace following the resounding defeat of the English Armada at Lisbon in 1589, Francis Drake embarked on a long and disastrous campaign against Hispanic America, suffering several consecutive defeats there. On 22 November 1595 Drake and John Hawkins tried to invade San Juan with 27 ships and 2,500 men. After failing to be able to land at the Ensenada del Escambron on the eastern end of San Juan Islet, he attempted to sail into San Juan Bay with the intention of sacking the city. Unable to capture the island, following the death of his comrade, John Hawkins, Drake abandoned San Juan, and set sail for Panama where he died from disease and received a burial at sea after failing to establish an English settlement in America.
The Battle of San Juan was fought on 29 September 1625, and was an engagement of the Eighty Years' War. A Dutch expedition under the command of Boudewijn Hendricksz attacked the island of Puerto Rico, but despite besieging San Juan for two months, was unable to capture it from Spain.
Gonzalo Méndez de Canço y Donlebún was a Spanish admiral who served as the seventh governor of the Spanish province of La Florida (1596-1603). He fought in the Battle of San Juan (1595) against the English admiral Francis Drake. During his tenure as governor of Florida, he dealt severely with a rebellion known as Juanillo´s revolt among the Native Americans in Guale, forcing them, as well as other tribes in Florida, to submit to Spanish domination. De Canço was best known, however, for promoting the cultivation of maize in the province, and for introducing its cultivation to Asturias, Spain, where it eventually became an important crop.
The Battle of las Palmas was an unsuccessful English naval expedition in 1595 during the Anglo-Spanish War against the Spanish island of Gran Canaria. The English Fleet was originally directed towards Puerto Rico, but had taken a detour in hopes of an easy victory and taking supplies. The English expeditionary fleet under Francis Drake, Sir John Hawkins, and Sir Thomas Baskerville failed to achieve victory and was forced to withdraw from the Canary Islands towards the Spanish Caribbean, where Francis Drake died of dysentery at Mosquito Gulf.
The Battle of San Juan was a military and naval action on June 15, 1598 when an English force of 20 ships and 1,700 men under Sir George Clifford, Earl of Cumberland overwhelmed and took the Spanish fortress Castillo San Felipe del Morro and thus took the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico. They were able to hold the castle for 65 days but disease took its toll and the English forces left but not before plundering and burning San Juan to the ground. It was this attack that proved to be the only one to ever break through and capture El Morro castle.
Rafael Conti Flores, also spelled "Conty" (1746–1814) was a Colonel in the Spanish Army who was in charge of the Puerto Rican Militia in the town of Aguadilla. In 1790, he captured 11 enemy ships involved in smuggling stolen goods. In 1797, he helped defeat Sir Ralph Abercromby and defend Puerto Rico from a British invasion in Aguadilla. In 1809, he organized a military expedition fight with the aim of returning Hispaniola, which now comprises the nations of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, back to Spanish rule.
The Battle of Cartagena de Indias (1586) or the Capture of Cartagena de Indias was a military and naval action fought on 9–11 February 1586, of the recently declared Anglo-Spanish War that resulted in the assault and capture by English soldiers and sailors of the Spanish city of Cartagena de Indias governed by Pedro de Bustos on the Spanish Main. The English were led by Francis Drake. The raid was part of his Great Expedition to the Spanish New World. The English soldiers then occupied the city for over two months and captured much booty along with a ransom before departing on 12 April.
Fortín de San Antonio was a fortification created by the Spanish in San Juan, Puerto Rico with the aim of fortifying the San Antonio Bridge. The bridge was of great strategic importance, given that it was the only land accessible entrance to the islet of San Juan. It was located southeast of Fort San Jeronimo.
Boudewijn Hendricksz was a Dutch corsair and later Admiral. He is most famous for his role in the Battle of San Juan (1625) during the Eighty Years' War, in which he tried but failed to capture San Juan from Spanish forces. In the same year, prior the assault on San Juan he attempted to recapture Bahia, Brazil after the Spanish overcame Dutch forces in the city.