On 25 July 1797, the British Rear-Admiral Horatio Nelson endeavoured to disembark in Santa Cruz de Tenerife with an army of 900 men in an effort to take possession of the Island after two failed attempts a few days earlier. At that time, Spain was allied with France against England, meaning that the Spanish troops based in Tenerife had been reinforced by a detachment from the French army commanded by Lieutenant-General Antonio Gutiérrez. Although some English fighters managed to disembark, they were shot down as they reached the city's streets, while the cannons fired at their ships from the shore. Eventually, the English troops were defeated and Horatio Nelson was wounded in the arm as he made it to land. The attack ended with an agreement that allowed the English to return to their ships with their weapons under a promise not to attack any of the islands in the archipelago.
The tireless onslaught of pirates on the islands meant that the archipelago had to be militarised and that its towns and villages had to be hidden out of view from the sea. Many of the attacks suffered were the result of clandestine dealings between the island dwellers and the pirates, as was the case of the secret arrangements between the English corsair Hawkin and the Ponte family.