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     In 1808 Napoleon entered Spain to attack Portugal. French forces remained in Spain for the next five years. Under British pressure the French retreated to San Sebastian.
     San Sebastian stands on a peninsula, projecting northward into the Bay of Biscay. The fortress was of a basic square design covering the flat area of the peninsula and fully enclosing the town. In July 1818 a British army under the command of General Graham placed the city under siege.
     On August 31 an attempt to relieve the siege was repelled by Spanish troops at San Marcial and the fortress fell to the British. Because the townspeople were believed to support the French the town and fortress were sacked and burned.
     The stamp commemorates the battle of San Sebastian in 1813, and the 150th anniversary of the rebuilding of the town in 1863.

SCN 1178

     The Canary Islands came under Spanish control in the 16th century. In 1599 the Dutch invated the Islands and defeated the Spanish. The stamp was issued in 1999 to commemorate the 4th centenary of the defense of Grand Canary.
     The stamp shows the Dutch invaders rowing ashore and advancing against the Spanish defenders massed in the upper right area. In the lower right corner is the fortress, Gratiosa. It was blown up when the Dutch left. The town of Allgona is on the left side of the stamp. The ships are Dutch.
     The picture on the stamp was engraved by Johan Theodore de Bry (1528-1598) of Frankfort in 1590, and was published in 1600 in Grands Voyages. It is preserved in the Museum of Colon de las Palmas.
     The name, Canary Islands was named by King Juba II of Mauretania (25 B.C to 25 a.d.) for the ferocious dogs he found there. The Latin word for dog is canis. The songbird was named for the islands.

SCN 3000

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