San Roque, Cádiz

Spanish city

image_skyline_size =
image_skyline_caption =
native_name = San Roque
spanish_name = San Roque
nickname =
demonym = sanroqueño/a
city_motto = "Muy Noble y Muy Leal ciudad de San Roque, donde reside la de Gibraltar"
city_motto_means = Very Noble and Very Loyal city of San Roque, where Gibraltar lives on

image_skyline_size =
image_skyline_caption =
native_name = San Roque
spanish_name = San Roque
nickname =
demonym = sanroqueño/a
city_motto = "Muy Noble y Muy Leal ciudad de San Roque, donde reside la de Gibraltar"
city_motto_means = Very Noble and Very Loyal city of San Roque, where Gibraltar lives on

image_flag_size = 140px
image_coat_of_arms = Escudo de San Roque.svg
image_coat_of_arms_size = 100px

image_city_map_size = 190px
image_city_map_caption = Location of San Roque
lat_long =
time_zone =
time_zone_summer =
founded = 1706
native_language = Spanish
community = Andalusia
community_link = Andalusia
province = Cádiz
province_link = Cádiz (province)
comarca = Campo de Gibraltar
comarca_link = Campo de Gibraltar
divisions =
neighborhoods =
mayor = José Vázquez Castillo
political_party = PP
political_party_link = People's Party
area = 140
altitude = 109
population = 25,548
date-population = 2007
population-ranking =
density = 182.5
date-density = 2007
website =
postal_code = 11360
area_code =

San Roque is a small town and municipality in the south of Spain. It is part of the province of Cádiz, which in turn is part of the autonomous community of Andalusia. San Roque is situated a short way inland of the north side of the Bay of Gibraltar, just to the north of the Gibraltar peninsula. The municipality has a total surface of 140 km² with a population of approximately 25,500 people, as of 2005. Its name is Spanish for Saint Roch, a Christian saint who was revered in a chapel that predates the foundation of the town.


The area around San Roque has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The oldest known settlement within the municipality is the ruined town of Carteia, founded by the Turdetani (the later name for the diminished Tartessan empire). It became a Phoenician tradepost and evolved into a Carthaginian town by 228 BCE. Its major trade was in local wine and garum or "salazón", a fish-based sauce [ [ Carteia was founded by the Turdetani, the later name for the diminished Tartessan empire ] ] .

Carteia was captured by Rome in 206 BCE. A few years later, in 171 BCE, Iberian-born children of Roman soldiers appeared before the Roman Senate to request a town to live in, and were given Carteia, named "Colonia Libertinorum Carteia".

After the fall of Rome, the Vandals briefly established themselves in the area until 428 before they embarked on the conquest of North Africa, via an invasion fleet across the Strait of Gibraltar. The Visigoths replaced them around the 6th Century. The Byzantine Empire made incursions into Andalusia between 554 and 626, occupying Carteia for a number of years, before finally being ejected by the Visigoths.

In 711, Carteia and the surrounding area became the beachhead for the Ummayad conquest of the Iberian Peninsula led by Tariq ibn Ziyad. Alfonso XI of Castile took control of the territory by defeating a Muslim Merinid army in the 14th century. Over the next few centuries, the population was gradually Hispanicised and Christianised.Fact|date=April 2008

In 1649 a quarter of the Gibraltar population perished from endemic disease, a number of residents retreated to the area of San Roque, and survived the outbreak, believed to be typhoid. [JACKSON, William (1990): "The Rock of the Gibraltarians. A History of Gibraltar", 2nd ed. Gibraltar Books. Grendon, Northamptonshire, UK. ISBN 0-948466-14-6, p. 84. General Sir William Jackson was Governor of Gibraltar between 1978 and 1982, a military Historian and former Chairman of the Friends of Gibraltar Heritage.]

The town of San Roque was founded by the former Spanish inhabitants of Gibraltar in 1706, after the majority left following the takeover by Anglo-Dutch forces during the War of the Spanish Succession.

On 1 August, 1704, the Anglo-Dutch Navy began a siege on Gibraltar. They demanded that the inhabitants surrender unconditionally and swear loyalty to the Archduke Charles, one of the contenders for the Spanish crown. The Gibraltar City Council refused the ultimatum. During the nights of 3rd and 4th of August, heavy shelling took place, targeting the castle and the town itself. The next day the Spaniards surrendered the town to the Prince of Hesse, one of the fleet commanders. The inhabitants, soldiers and officers were , provided that they took an oath of fidelity to Charles as their new king. However very few decided to remain in the town.

Many believed that they would be able to return soon. Fortresses changed hands quite frequently in the 17th and 18th centuries. Anglo-Dutch rule over Gibraltar would be probably temporary, until the fortunes of war changed. Moreover, English atrocities in the Battle of Cádiz in 1702 and the behaviour of sailors in the first days after the surrender of the town might have made the Gibraltar inhabitants think that the escape was the only way to save their lives. Churches and places of worship (except the Cathedral) had been desecrated and women insulted and outraged. In reprisals British and Dutch sailors were murdered after the cease fire was agreed. Although Hesse's and Rooke's official made their best to restore discipline, when it happened, few of the inhabitants wished or dared to remain. [JACKSON, William (1990): "The Rock of the Gibraltarians. A History of Gibraltar", 2nd ed. Gibraltar Books. Grendon, Northamptonshire, UK. ISBN 0-948466-14-6, p. 100-101. General Sir William Jackson was Governor of Gibraltar between 1978 and 1982, a military Historian and former Chairman of the Friends of Gibraltar Heritage:quote|Although Article V promised freedom or religion and full civil rights to all Spaniards who wished to stay in Hapsburg Gibraltar, few decided to run the risk of remaining in the town. [..] English atrocities at Cádiz and elsewhere and the behaviour of the English sailors in the first days after the surrender suggested that if they stayed they might not live to see that day. Hesse's and Rooke's senior officers did their utmost to impose discipline, but the inhabitants worst fears were confirmed: women were insulted and outraged; Roman Catholic churches and institutions were taken over as stores and for other military purposes [..] ; and the whole town suffered at the hands of the ship's crew and marines who came ashore. Many body reprisals were taken by inhabitants before they left, bodies of murdered Englishmen and Dutchmen being thrown down wells and cesspits. By the time discipline was fully restored, few of the inhabitants wished or dared to remain.] [ Brief History of the Shrine Of Our Lady Of Europe, Gibraltar Tourist Office]

Of the 1,200 registered families, only 22 stayed. Among the things the Spanish took with them were a statue of the Holy Crowned Virgin Mary, and the historical documents signed by Catholic Monarchs in 1502 for which the coat of arms of Gibraltar was granted. ["Rock of Contention. A History of Gibraltar", p. 176.] ["The Rock of the Gibraltarians. A History of Gibraltar", p. 101.] This event is known as the "exodus of Gibraltar" [ [ Herederos de Gibraltar] ] . Most of the refugees encamped around the Chapel of Saint Roch ("Ermita de San Roque"). The establishment became a new town in 1706, addressed by King Philip V of Spain as "My city of Gibraltar resident in its Campo" and "My well beloved", because it remained loyal to his cause during the War of Succession. Gibraltar's City Council, banner and records were moved there and thus San Roque become the "Spanish Gibraltar". San Roque official motto is "Very Noble and Very Loyal city of San Roque, where Gibraltar lives on" (Spanish: "Muy Noble y Muy Leal ciudad de San Roque, donde reside la de Gibraltar").

In 1873, during the Spanish First Republic, the town declared its independence as the "Canton of San Roque" for a few months.


Demography 7col|400px
Source: [ INE (Spain)]

Local sights

The New Saint Roch's Chapel (Sp.: "Ermita de San Roque") was erected in 1801. Its style is neoclassical. The shrine houses a statue of Saint Roch. In the fourth week of April every year, a procession is held on the saint's honour, with people carrying his image on a float. The statue is then taken from the temple to the "Pinar del Rey" pinewoods nearby and back. During the Spanish War of Independence, Saint Roch's Chapel was ransacked by the Napoleonic troops and the historic statue of the saint was destroyed. The image was replaced in 1833 by a new one donated by an army captain from San Roque called Juan Rojas, who was stationed in Seville. At the time this city was suffering from cholera epidemics, so Captain Rojas vowed to make the effigy himself if he and his family recovered from the disease. This happened indeed and the new image of Saint Roch was donated to the church by Rojas.

The Parish Church is consagrated to Saint Mary the Crowned. It dates from the 18th Century and features Spanish-Tuscan architecture and Baroque artwork. Once the new town has been established, work began in 1735 on the construction of a church over the foundations of the original Chapel of Saint Roch, built in 1508. In the interior of the building, the most remarkable feature is the main altar, where the statue of the Patron Saint, Saint Mary the Crowned, is venerated alongside images of Saint Sebastian and Saint Joseph. These statues were brought to San Roque from Gibraltar in 1704 following the "Exodus of Gibraltar" and date back to the 15th Century. Other religious items brought from The Rock are "The Holy Burial" and "The Most Holy Christ of Humbleness and Patience" statues, each placed on its own side chapel. The image of the "Most Holy Christ of the Happy Death" is the work of San Roque-born sculptor Luis Ortega Brú. José Cadalso, a local poet and soldier, killed during the Great Siege of 1782, is buried in one of the side chapels. The church records feature the parish records from Gibraltar, from 1556 until 1704. Saint Mary the Crowned's Church was declared a listed building in 1974.

The Governor's Palace (Sp.: "Palacio de los Gobernadores"), which houses the municipal art gallery "Luis Ortega Brú", is also located in the same square.

The oldest bar in the town is the Bar Torres, adjacent to the central square.

Economy and industry

The main economic activities are tourism and manufacturing.

CEPSA oil refinery (Sp.:"Refinería de Gibraltar-San Roque"), built in 1967, is situated in Guadarranque Industrial Estate. It is the largest in the Iberian Peninsula, with a crude oil daily processing capacity of 240,000 barrels per day. [ Refinería Gibraltar-San Roque CEPSA]

Local San Roque Golf Club is an important source of tourism. Sotogrande is an exclusive beach and golf resort located in the municipality.

The beaches of Campamento and Puente Mayorga, although no longer so popular as in the sixties due to adjacent industrial activity, are close to San Roque town, facing the Bay of Gibraltar.

Famous inhabitants

*Juan Cadalso, poet
*Alberto Casañal Shakery, poet.
*Juan Luis Galiardo, actor.
*Luis de Lacy Goutier, liberal army officer.
*Luis Ortega Brú, sculptor

ee also

*La Línea de la Concepción



External links

* [ San Roque City Council]
* [,-5.351114&spn=0.019946,0.030088&t=k San Roque in Google Maps]
* [ The Resident - English language newspaper serving San Roque and surrounding area]
* [ Articles on 1704 Surrender]
* [ Pictures of the "Gibraltar-San Roque" Refinery.]

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