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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Santa Cruz, Once Again, Celebrates Victory Over The English

Horatio Nelson wounded at Tenerife
The Tenerife capital yesterday celebrated the 209th Anniversary of its famous and proud victory over English Admiral, Horacio Nelson, whose failed attempt on Santa Cruz, on July 25th, 1797, cost him his right arm.

Among the acts to commemorate this important date in the city's history was a mass in the church of La Concepción and afterwards, a procession of the pendant around the area of the Calle de la Noria and a floral offering to the statue of General Antonio Gutiérrez, who led the troops that defeated the British Navy.

Historian, Daniel García Pulido, a member of the "Association of Friends of July 25th", also announced that the group has been asked to collaborate in an investigation over the whereabouts of the wreck of the British ship, the cutter Fox, which was sunk off Santa Cruz during the battle. According to this report, Fox was carrying a reserve store of arms and ammunition and went down with 180 men, 97 of whom were lost. It is certain that the remains of the ship lie between Paso Alto and the Plaza de España. A private initiative aims to discover the exact whereabouts.

Another of the questions which the group has been studying is over the number of British losses during the battle. The number that the Canarian troops had boasted was 800, nevertheless, the historians have so far confirmed, after combing the records, that the true number was 124.

Asked what would have happened if the Tenerife troops had not defeated Nelson, García Pulido responded that two theories exist. "Thanks to documentation, we know that Nelson wanted to stay in Tenerife and use it as an exchange." While British history claims that the admiral's only intention was to destroy the ships, loaded with a large quantity of gold and silver, which were anchored in the port of Santa Cruz and would have bankrupted Spain.

Two aspects of the battle are certain: one, the capital increased its prestige after this development. The other: that there is much still to study and resolve.

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