The Long Farewell

Russell Chamberlin observes as Menorca celebrates the bicentennial of the Treaty of Amiens.

‘The English have gone – but left their weather behind’, a Menorcan remarked ruefully, surveying a bleak, treeless promontory from the ramparts of fort Isabel II. A howling gale brought heavy rain cascading down on the celebrations on May 11th that marked the Bicentenary of the Treaty of Amiens, under the terms of which Britain returned the island of Menorca to the Spanish crown. Situated on grim cliffs some five miles from the capital Mahon, Isabel is austerely functional, built in 1860 and used until 1968 as a prison, consisting essentially of a central parade ground enclosed in stone walls. But in British tradition, the moment the ceremony ended, the sun came out in splendour.

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