A History of the Chipulina Family
Unknown Ancestors - Taking of Gibraltar

1689 The story begins with the War of the League of Augsburg. It was a war which led to the accession of England as a first rate European power. It was also a war which led almost inevitably to another one, the War of the Spanish Succession, which was to have far reaching consequences for Gibraltar and its future inhabitants. It is impossible to say who the family ancestors were at the time. A majority of them were probably living in the towns and cities of the Republic of Genoa and in Spanish villages in the south of Spain. A few may have been residents of the British Isles and Portugal. Almost certainly none of them had yet set foot in Gibraltar, and most of them had probably never even heard of the place.

1704  During the War of the Spanish Succession France and half of Spain had remained loyal to Phillip V who on the principle that possession is nine-tenth of the law had already installed himself in Madrid. The rest of the Spaniards together with England, Holland and just about every other country in Europe favoured the Hapsburg Archduke Charles of Austria – or as he was known to his supporters, Charles III of Spain.

Throughout its history Gibraltar has periodically been subjected to a series of sieges. On the 1st of August the 11th Siege of Gibraltar began with the arrival of an Anglo-Dutch squadron at the Bay of Gibraltar. Sir George Rooke was the English admiral in charge. Charles III was represented by his commander in chief, Prince George of Hesse Darmstadt.

Admiral Sir George Rooke

The capitualtion of Gibraltar to the allied forces was swift and decisive, the aftermath rather less so. Hesse deployed his Dutch marines along the northern isthmus and immediately sent a letter to the Spanish Governor of Gibraltar, Diego de Salinas ordering him to acknowledge Charless III as the legitimate king of Spain.  Salinas, who only had a very small volunteer force to defend the Rock, bravely, if foolishly refused. Hesse immediately began a heavy bombardment of the town. Under Rooke's orders Rear-Admiral Byng also proceeded to bombard the Rock, followed this up by sending his sailors to invade the Rock from the south.

Admiral Byng's men set off to capture Gibraltar

Hours later the Governor was forced to surrender. The allied troops spent then spent several days raping anything that moved and looting anything that didn't. The women and children who had taken refuge at the shrine of 'Our Lady of Europa' had already been subjected to all sorts of indignities by the English sailors. Two days later Hesse appointed an Irishman, Henry Nugent, as Governor.

The civilian population of about 4000 decided it would be best to leave Gibraltar to the allied forces and eventually re-established themselves in the nearby Spanish towns of Los Barrios, Algeciras, Málaga, Medina Sidoñia and Ronda. The great majority however, settled in nearby San Roque.

Modern San Roque

Over the years San Roque, had acquired a special significance. There was a hermitage there dedicated to St. Roch, a Frenchman who had dedicated his life to helping the plague-stricken. The inhabitants of Gibraltar had noticed that whenever the plaque visited the Rock those that came to San Roque seem to stand a greater chance of survival than those who stayed on the Rock.

All told only about 100 people opted to stay behind under the dubious flag of Charles III. An unknown number of Genoese families are also known to have remained on the Rock but none were members of the Chipulina family. Soon after some of the fishermen of the Rock also moved out and settled just across the bay and founded the modern city of Algeciras.

Weeks later a Franco-Spanish attack led by the Captain General of Andalusia, The Marquis of Villadarias, tried to recapture the Rock. It failed and the 12th Siege of Gibraltar began.

One memorable event that occured during this siege involved a young goatherd called  Simon Susarte who had been born and bred in Gibraltar. Susarte led 200 Spaniards up the steep 'impossible' east side of the Rock. The goatherd's path took a southerly direction and then twisted back over Signal Hill where the Spaniards killed the guards. They sheltered in nearby Goat's Hair caves and attacked at daybreak.

The advantage of a surprise attack was lost when a young lad taking rations up to his father who happened to be on duty at the station, found him dead and raised the alarm. A statue of Susarte stands in a square of the same name in San Roque.

Simon Susarte - San Roque

1705 By April the siege had ended. The Archduke honoured Gibraltar with a visit and was received as Charles III of Spain. Patronage being as rife then as it always has been, the King named Prince Henry of Hesse-Darmstadt, Prince George's brother, as Governor of the Rock. In the event Prince Henry was by-passed and an Englishman, Major-General Shrimpton took over as Governor.

Gibraltar - the old mole