CARASSA Y SOUSA, RAMÓN de

fl 1778 from Spain


Spanish naval officer. Ramón de Carassa entered the Spanish navy as a guardiamarina on 19 February 1758. After successive promotions he was promoted teniente de fragata on 13 January 1771 and in this rank he was appointed in command of the schooner Santa Engracia on 14 July 1774, sailing in her to Vera Cruz and later to Buenos Aires, from where he was sent to the Falklands as comandante gobernador of the Spanish settlement at Puerto de la Soledad (Port Louis), taking over as governor on 19 February 1777 when Govenor GIL (whose relief for health reasons had been granted six months earlier) was eventually able to leave Puerto de la Soledad. Carassa's tenure was an eventful one. In 1778 Vertiz, viceroy of Río de la Plata, proposed the transfer of the governor's seat from Puerto de la Soledad to Port Egmont (Puerto de la Cruzada), arguing that it offered greater advantages as it was at a shorter distance from the mainland. The King did not agree, considering that the small army garrison of 30 men and a ship of the Spanish Navy should prevent foreign encroachment. Consequently while fulfilling the usual administrative duties as governor, Carassa was specifically instructed to prevent any attempt by foreigners, especially the British, to set up an establishment in the islands. In particular he was to reconnoitre Port Egmont and destroy any buildings and fortifications found there, to ensure that 'pirates' did not have an opportunity to settle there. In February two snows*, the San Cristóbal and the Gloria, with the sumaca* Nuestra Señora de Olivera were dispatched with stores and further instructions for the governor. On 5 June 1778 Carassa informed the viceroy of the loss by shipwreck of the sumaca San Antonio, and on 18 June 1778 he reported his inability to carry out the yearly examination of Port Egmont, as required by the King, because at the appropriate season no ship had arrived for that purpose. However, from information brought by the Gloria, shipwrecked in the vicinity of that port, he was confident that, since the previous examination in April 1777, there were neither inhabitants there nor any signs that any had returned. In November 1779 he was relieved by Salvador de MEDINA. Carassa's final promotion was to capitán de navío on 11 March 1786.

Authors

Andrew David & Carlos Novi