Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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CHURRUCA Y ELORZA, Cosme Damian de (chu-ru'-kah), Spanish naval officer, born in Mo-trico, province of Guipdzcoa, 27 September, 1761 ; died in Trafalgar, 21 October, 1805. He distinguished himself at the siege of Gibraltar in rescuing survivors from the floating batteries after it had been destroyed by the English. He accompanied a Spanish surveying expedition to the strait of Magellan, and wrote a diary of his exploration of Tierra del Fue-go (Madrid, 1793). In 1791, being then in command of a frigate, he was placed at the head of an expedition to survey the coasts of the gulf of Mexico. The war between Spain and France interrupted this work; but he had completed twenty-four charts of the coasts of Cuba, Hayti, Porto Rico, etc., some of which have been published. He was afterward sent as an envoy to Brest. In October, 1805, he was in command of the ship "San Juan Nepomuceno" at Cadiz, and shortly before the battle of Trafalgar wrote to a friend:" If you hear that my ship is taken, know for certain that I am dead." In that battle, his leg having been shot CHUTE away by a cannon-bal1, he put the mutilated limb in a barrel full of flour to check the hemorrhage, and in that condition continued at his post for three hours, when he died. His flag was nailed to the mast. The British have carefully preserved the hull of the "San Juan," with the name of Chur-ruca inscribed in golden letters upon the entrance to the cabin, and all visitors are required to uncover their heads on entering. Churruca was distinguished for his knowledge of natural philosophy, mathematics, and astronomy, and left many important works, among which are "Treinta y cuatro Cartas esfericas y Mapas geometricos"; " Carta esferica de las Antillas "; "Carta particular geometrica de Puerto Rico"; "Carta esf5rica de las Islas Caribes de Sotavento"; "Metodo geometrico para determinar todas las inflexiones de la quilla de un buque quebrantado" ; and "In-struccidn sobre punterias."
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