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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Santa Cruz set to repel the English, again

Castillo de San Juan Bautista (Castillo Negro)

Friday, 25th July 2008 is the 211th Anniversary of Santa Cruz' historic defeat of Horacio Nelson and Tenerife's capital is to commemorate or celebrate (the latter, I think, is more apt) the date with a reenactment (now annual) of the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (1797) ... and have a budget of 240,000 euros (over £190,000) available to do it.

The fun starts, in the area of the Castle of St John the Baptist a.k.a. Castillo Negro (Black Castle) (alongside the rather more modern day Auditorio de Tenerife), at 12.00 mid-day and, unlike real battles, will last for just one hour. Some 130 people are taking part in the reenactment, with the city being defended, once again, by the battalion of Canarian infantry, under the orders of General Gutiérrez.

British retreat and victory for Santa Cruz

The following day, Saturday, 26th July, at 11.30 a.m., sees a military parade from the Plaza Weyler to the Plaza de España, then from 8.30 p.m. there's to be a further recreation - this time in the streets of the old town - remembering how Santa Cruz' population succeeded in causing the English troops to retreat. That will be taking place in the area around the bridge over the Barranco de Santos, the Iglesia de La Concepción (church) and the Calle La Noria in the old part of the city.

Both reenactments are to be directed by Teodoro Ríos, who will ensure careful attention is paid to historical detail. Costumes are under the watchful eye of José Carlos Iribarren, who worked on the film Alatriste and, the special effects (as well as the fireworks during the Verbena de La Victoria (Victory Celebration Dance)) will be provided by Los Realejos firework firm, Hermanos Toste.

In addition, 75 reenacters have been invited from various points of the Spanish mainland, from England and from Holland.

an entire festive week ...

On July 21st, in the Museo Militar de Almeida (the museum's highlight is was the famous 'Tigre' canon which, according to tradition, injured Admiral Horacio Nelson during his failed attempt to occupy Tenerife on July 25th 1797, resulting in the amputation of his right arm) was the presentation of a new book and a conference on the events of 1797.

On July 22nd, again in the Military Museum, is another conference, centering on the personalities involved on July 25th, along with a presentation of a new book by local historian Daniel García Pulido, as well as a showing of the rather ominously titled film, La isla de las cabezas cortadas (Cutthroat Island.)

On July 23rd, it's the turn of historian, Ronald Brighouse to give a talk centred on Nelson and the Royal Navy. Another film follows.

On July 24th, from 10 a.m. will be a public reading of books related to the events. In the evening, the British flag captured that night in 1797 will be (re)presented, having been restored.

On July 25th after the reenactment of the sea battle and the English landings at midday, at 7.30 p.m., mass will be celebrated in the La Concepción church, with a procession around the local streets in honour of Santiago Apóstol (Saint James) and a floral offering made to the tomb of General Gutiérrez.

Also on July 25th there's an exhibition of reproductions of paintings that recreate these events, as well as some military paraphernalia that is part of the municipal heritage. They're also studying the possibility of installing 14 commemorative milestones along the capital's coast. These monoliths, with their corresponding plaques would be placed at strategic points where the defence of the city was cemented (and they're outside the 240k budget.)

The town hall is to award silver medals to all babies born on Friday, 25 July.

July 26th 11.30 a.m. military parade "of the epoch" (another recreation of the 18th Century) from the Plaza Weyler to the Plaza de España. At 7 p.m. various military bands will parade through the city's streets. From 8.30 p.m. will be the recreation of the street battles in the old part of town and, from 10 p.m., the party starts proper, with a Verbena de La Victoria (Victory Celebration Knees Up), at which attendees will wear 18th Century costumes.

And, finally, on July 27th, the festive week (their words) closes with a concert by the Unidad de Música de la Subinspección del Mando de Canarias (a military band), in the Plaza del Príncipe (where you can get a good Barraquito.)

Via: this post at the Flickers Tenerife group.

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