The Great Siege of Gibraltar was an epic four year struggle between two uneven sides. The small British garrison commanded by Governor George Augustus Eliott faced the significantly superior combined forces of the French and Spanish army and navy. The defenders however could count on the natural defensive features of the rock together with Governor Eliott’s rugged determination to defend the fortress at all costs. The Great Siege of Gibraltar is characterized by the ingenuity displayed by both attackers and defenders in the race to develop siege techniques which would gain their side the upper hand.

This local history module is especially designed for Year 6 pupils and takes a look at the main events of the siege and its commanders as well as innovative military adaptations such as Koehler’s depressing carriage and d’Arcon’s floating batteries. It also looks at the effect the siege had on those civilians who remained behind in a devastated town where not one building was left standing and how, despite untold misery, they made themselves useful in the defence of their homes and property.


Keith Sheriff
Teacher and Trustee,
Gibraltar Heritage Trust