Home > Fun Facts > Nelson Arm Mystery

The Nelson Arm Mystery - did it end up in Gran Canaria?

The Nelson arm mystery. There is a story that the amputated arm of the Rear-Admiral is hidden behind the altar in the cathedral of Las Palmas,Gran Canaria. It was during the attack by Nelson's fleet on the harbour of Santa Cruz, in 1797, that a burst of grapeshot hit the right arm, resulting in a compound fracture and a severed artery. The ship's surgeon amputated the arm immediately. But how did it get to Las Palmas, some 90-odd miles away?

This question is the reason why the story is probably just a rumour. Why would the British surgeon give the Nelson arm, which would have been regarded as a trophy, to his enemies? Why was it transported all the way to a neighbouring island? Why would a strictly Roman Catholic cathedral allow it to be put below its altar anyway? That honour was reserved solely for saints. Although Nelson was considered one of the finest military strategists of his day, a saint he certainly wasn't.

Nevertheless, the story has never been refuted, but, unfortunately, is unlikely to be true.

Back in Tenerife, there are symbols of the battle that are real. In the Plaza de España, Santa Cruz, there is a monument dedicated to the island and people of Tenerife. It is supposedly marking the actual place where Nelson was shot.

In the Military Museum of the Canary Islands, called Almeida Fort, you can see the actual gun (called "tigre"), which was supposed to have hit Nelson, thereby hastening his defeat.

Anchors from one of the ships sunk in the battle were recovered and can now be seen in front of the Navy Headquarters and Santa Cruz harbour, at the crossroads of Avenida de Anaga and the Ramblas boulevards.


Painting depicting the British fleet attacking Santa Cruz


For the people of Tenerife, Nelson has always been respected as a gentleman, honouring to the letter his terms of surrender. So much so, a street was named after him. In a nice residential district of Santa Cruz, you can find "Avenida Horacio Nelson". Despite his having attacked their island, the Tinerfeños display to this day an enduring affection for the man.





Facebook Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

return to fun facts

return to homepage



top of the page



COMMENT
on this page


get the best deals on tenerife car hire


book your airport-hotel transfer with

ShuttleDirect


get cheaper tickets for these tenerife attractions by booking online

Siam Park
Loro Park
Aqualand
Jungle Park
Medieval Night

Need a specific question answering about Tenerife?
Click here



Follow teninfocentre on Twitter
follow the TIC on twitter



Sponsor This Site

Mount Teide, Tenerife

your ad here!
Become a site sponsor
and have your ad appear
on every page.
More info.

Victoria Court 2, Tenerife

One-bed apartment for
holiday let in
Los Cristianos




Site Build It!

want to know how to create
your own site -
a web business that
makes money
?
click the logo



Related Links

Las Americas panorama
Accommodation

Casa Pedro, Las Chafiras, Tenerife
Eating Out

Siam Park, Tenerife
Attractions

villa Tenerife
Villas

John with giggles
Tell me all your
Tenerife experiences