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La Cala del Laudero

Ref: Info Point

Further Information

During the Spanish period many of the small bays and coves in the Rock were known as calas or caletas and those named in the south-western part of the Rock were named after chapels and shrines which existed nearby. Ayala in his history of Gibraltar describes the coves and bays of the areas thus:1

To the westward [of uropa Point] the hermitage of the Virgin of Europe. A few paces from there lies the Caleta del Laudero; then de los Remedios, so called because it is dominated by a hermitage of that name. It is followed by a natural bay which they called Colorada, and then another Caleta of San Juan el verde

Cristobal Rojas map dated 1608. The hermitages of San Juan el Verde, Los Remedios and Nuestra Señora de Europa as well as la torre de los Ginobeses (Genoese tower) is clearly labelled.

The Caleta del Laudero also referred in maps as la Calita de Landeras is today’s Little Bay whilst that of Los Remedios is Camp Bay. Ayala however, confused the sequence in respect to the last two coves for the Caleta de San Juan el Verde, now Rosia Bay, came before that of the Colorada which is natural bay formed at the bottom of the Red Sands. Ayala’s mistake is probably attributed to the fact that the Chapel of San Juan el Verde stood almost on the curvature of this bay, on the site of St. John’s Court. The British had by then renamed the Caleta de San Juan el Verde to Rosia Bay, named after another small chapel named Santa Rosa which formerly stood on the grounds of South Barracks.

Part of the Moorish wall at Europa Point.

Ayala also tells us that the Moors had set up a small settlement overlooking the Caleta del Laudero protected by a gate and defensive wall:2

To the northward of the Virgin of Europe, and above the cove of Laudero, ran an old wall, wherein was a Moorish gate, leading to the place called the corral de Fez; where it is understood existed a settlement of Moors from the kingdom of Fez, or of merchants who brought goods from Africa to the Moors in Spain…

Part of this defensive wall was uncovered during the construction of the Europa Point Stadium in June 2019. This wall, which dates to the time of the Merinid Dynasty, was built by order of the Emir Abu’l Hassan in 1333 and stretched all the way to Europa Point, making previously unsecure areas open for settlement.

 

 

Hayreddin Barbarossa, admiral of the Turkish fleet under whose orders Ali Hamat attacked Gibraltar in 1580.

The Spaniards, however, appear to have neglected to maintain this defensive wall for on the 10th September 1540, a Turkish fleet of sixteen galleys under the command of the Corsair Captain Ali Hamat, one of Barbarossa’s feared Sea-Captains led by the Italian renegade Caramani landed on the Calita del Laudero. The Chronicler, Pedro Barrantes Maldonado describes the waters of the Laudero as ‘safe and deep during the Levanter’.  Maldonado also tells us that above the Laudero stood a tower (He called it la torre de los Genoveses) where two sentries seeing the pirates rush ashore, ran towards the town to raise the alarm.3

The alarm, however, was raised too late to save the city, which was ransacked with many captives taken. To prevent any further attacks from the South, the Emperor Charles V, ordered a defensive wall be built from the sea to the top of the Rock.

Turkish war galley of the type probably used by Caramani for his raid.

After the capture Gibraltar in 1704, the British unable to pronounce the old Spanish names of the coves gradually changed them into their present form. The name of the Cala del Laudero was changed to Europa Bay (named after the Virgen de Europa) and later Little Bay; the Cala de Los Remedios became Camp Bay because a number of British soldiers were camped on the cliffs above what is was then known as the Devil’s Bowling Green; the Caleta of San Juan el Verde meanwhile became known as Rosia Bay.

Felipe Crame map of 1762. The Cala del Laudero is now referred to as the Cala de Europa.

Jean-Denis Barbié du Bocage map of 1799 showing the position of Camp Bay, Rosia Bay and Petite Bay (Little Bay).

La Cala del Laudero Image

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