San Roque, Cádiz

San Roque

View of San Roque at dusk showing Gibraltar in the background.


Coat of arms
Motto: "Muy Noble y Muy Leal ciudad de San Roque, donde reside la de Gibraltar"
(Very Noble and Very Loyal city of San Roque, where Gibraltar lives on)

Location of San Roque
San Roque

Location in Spain

Coordinates: 36°12′35″N 5°23′4″W / 36.20972°N 5.38444°W / 36.20972; -5.38444Coordinates: 36°12′35″N 5°23′4″W / 36.20972°N 5.38444°W / 36.20972; -5.38444
Country  Spain
Autonomous community  Andalusia
Province Cádiz
Comarca Campo de Gibraltar
Judicial district San Roque
Founded 21 May 1706
  Alcalde Juan Carlos Ruiz Boix (PSOE)
  Total 146.88 km2 (56.71 sq mi)
Elevation 108 m (354 ft)
Population (2009)
  Total 29,249
  Density 200/km2 (520/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Sanroqueño/a
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 11360 (San Roque casco) 11310 (Sotogrande) 11311 (Guadiaro y Pueblo Nuevo de Guadiaro) 11312 (Torreguadiaro, San Diego y San Enrique de Guadiaro) 11313 (Puente Mayorga) 11314 (Campamento) 11368 (Estación de San Roque) 11369 (Carteia, Guadarranque, Miraflores y Taraguilla)
Dialing code (+34) 956 78 XX XX
Official language(s) Spanish

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 145 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 shrine dating back to 1508 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 Phoenicians. 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.[1]

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.

Roman forum, 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 Umayyad 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.

In 1649 a quarter of the Gibraltar population perished from epidemic disease. A number of residents retreated to the area of San Roque, and survived the outbreak, believed to be typhoid.[2]

The modern settlement of San Roque was established by the former Spanish inhabitants of Gibraltar, after the majority fled following the takeover by Anglo-Dutch forces and their Spanish allies during the War of the Spanish Succession in 1704.[3] 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. 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.

Main sights

Historical population
Source: INE (Spain)

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, Santa María La Coronada Church, is consecrated to Saint Mary the Crowned and it was declared a listed building in 1974. The main building dates from the 18th century and features Spanish-Tuscan architecture and Baroque artwork. Work began in 1735 on the construction of a church over the foundations of the 1508 Chapel of Saint Roch.[4]

The Governor's Palace (Spanish: Palacio de los Gobernadores), which houses the municipal art gallery "Luis Ortega Bru", 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 Gibraltar-San Roque Refinery (Spanish: 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.[5]

Local San Roque 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 the nearby industrial activity, are close to San Roque town, facing the Bay of Gibraltar.

Notable people

Gabine Muguruza, Tennis Player, French Open Champion, 2016

Sister cities

See also


  1. Carteia was founded by the Turdetani, the later name for the diminished Tartessan empire
  2. 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.
  3. Gold, Peter (2005). Gibraltar: British or Spanish?. Routledge. p. 2.
  4. 1 2 3 "Saint Mary the Crowned Parish Church Saint Mary the Crowned Parish Church". Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  5. Refinería Gibraltar-San Roque CEPSA
  6. El Perro


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