Don Cosmo Damien Churruca was a Spanish Officer and well known scientific navigator. In 1792 he was appointed to lead the expedition to fix the longitudinal points in the New World relative to Cadiz.
He arrived in Trinidad on July 21st 1792 with the permission of the Spanish Governor Don Jose Maria Chacon, proceeded to establish an observatory at Laventille, near to the Roman Catholic Church.
Today, a plaque names the ancient structure, Fort Chacon.
On January 2nd 1793, Churruca made geographical and astronomical history by observing with great precision, the immersion of the third satellite of Jupiter in the disc of the moon and also that of the first satellite. From his observations, he fixed for the first time, an accurate meridian in the New World. On January 28th 1793, Churruca dismantled his observatory and sailed to Grenada and then to Spain.
On 21st October 1793 in Cadiz, Churruca accurately assimilated his observations enabling him to link the New World with the Old and fix an absolute longitude of the Observatory at Laventille. This he later confirmed by further observations in Havana, Cuba.
Churruca married Don Maria Dolores Ruiz de Apodaca, a niece of Son Sebastien Ruiz de Apodaca, Admiral of the Spanish fleet which was at Chaguaramas when General Abercromby captured Trinidad in 1797.
Observatory Street in Laventille was named for Churruca’s observatory.
-The National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago, The Built Heritage of Trinidad and Tobago, 2010
Other Known Name: Churruca’s Observatory
Address: Observatory Street, Laventille Hills
Town/City: Port of Spain
Region: San Juan – Laventille
Site Type: Cultural Heritage
Public Accessibility: Full Access
Cultural Community: Spanish
Site Features: Forts, Batteries & Cannons
Observatory Street, Laventille Hills, Port of Spain, San Juan – Laventille