The Treaty Of Utrecht And Gibraltar

The news is full of the spat with Spain over ownership of Gibraltar, Well, here is the original text of the Treaty of Utrecht, concerning the agreements over Gibraltar signed in 1713 by Spain’s king, Phillip V. It clearly states that the territory known as Gibraltar is handed over ‘in Perpetuam’ to Britain.  The following is the text of the treaty relative to Gibraltar:

The Original Document I'm Sure The Spanish Government Can Read It If They Wish.

The Original Document
I’m Sure The Spanish Government Can Read It If They Wish.


13 JULY 1713

The Catholic King does hereby, for himself, his heirs and successors, yield to the Crown of Great Britain the full and entire propriety of the town and castle of Gibraltar, together with the port, fortifications, and forts thereunto belonging; and he gives up the said propriety to be held and enjoyed absolutely with all manner of right for ever, without any exception or impediment whatsoever.

But that abuses and frauds may be avoided by importing any kind of goods, the Catholic King wills, and takes it to be understood, that the above-named propriety be yielded to Great Britain without any territorial jurisdiction and without any open communication by land with the country round about.

Yet whereas the communication by sea with the coast of Spain may not at all times be safe or open, and thereby it may happen that the garrison and other inhabitants of Gibraltar may be brought to great straits; and as it is the intention of the Catholic King, only that fraudulent importations of goods should, as is above said, be hindered by an inland communications. it is therefore provided that in such cases it may be lawful to purchase, for ready money, in the neighbouring territories of Spain, provisions and other things necessary for the use of the garrison, the inhabitants, and the ships which lie in the harbour. 

But if any goods be found imported by Gibraltar, either by way of barter for purchasing provisions, or under any other pretence, the same shall be confiscated, and complaint being made thereof, those persons who have acted contrary to the faith of this treaty, shall be severely punished.

And Her Britannic Majesty, at the request of the Catholic King, does consent and agree, that no leave shall be given under any pretence whatsoever, either to Jews or Moors, to reside or have their dwellings in the said town of Gibraltar; and that no refuge or shelter shall be allowed to any Moorish ships of war in the harbour of the said town, whereby the communication between Spain and Ceuta may be obstructed, or the coasts of Spain be infested by the excursions of the Moors.

But whereas treaties of friendship and a liberty and intercourse of commerce are between the British and certain territories situated on the coast of Africa, it is always to be understood, that the British subjects cannot refuse the Moors and their ships entry into the port of Gibraltar purely upon the account of merchandising. Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain does further promise, that the free exercise of their religion shall be indulged to the Roman Catholic inhabitants of the aforesaid town.

And in case it shall hereafter seem meet to the Crown of Great Britain to grant, sell or by any means to alienate therefrom the propriety of the said town of Gibraltar, it is hereby agreed and concluded that the preference of having the sale shall always be given to the Crown of Spain before any others.

Arch Duke Charles Of Austria

Arch Duke Charles Of Austria

As you can see, part of the text covers the importation of ‘fraudulent goods’ but allows trade with Spanish territory for normal goods (i.e. food, and everyday items), but also gives Spain preferential treatment should Britain wish to leave the peninsular at any time. Apart from that there are no restrictions on ownership and it is forever.

King Philip V of Spain - The Catholic King

King Philip V of Spain – The Catholic King

This treaty was signed willingly by the Spanish king as a final act to end the War of Succession that had raged from 1701 to 1714 which concerned who had the right to succeed  the last of the Habsburg kings of Spain, Charles II who had no legal heir. It must be remembered that the royal families of Europe intermarried like crazy to maintain the bloodline, which meant that both France and Austria had claim to Spain when Charles died.  It is all far too complicated to mention here, but suffice it to say, war became inevitable when the royal houses of both France and Austria laid claim to the territory of Spain, especially taking into account the many overseas countries it controlled.

Louis XIV Of France

Louis XIV Of France

In any event, this led to the Succession Wars and in a bid to end the conflict the Treaty of Utrecht was signed. It laid down the borders of modern Europe with concessions being made to the victors. Part of those concessions included Gibraltar.

Gibraltar - Constantly On Guard

Gibraltar – Constantly On Guard

The wording of the Treaty shown above is quite clear in that the Spanish gave up all right to ownership and influence in the territory forever. It is therefore unreasonable for the Spanish government to now claim this document never existed, or was signed under duress. The cold fact of the matter is that Spain has no rights to Gibraltar unless Britain no longer wants it, and the people of the peninsular will have a lot to say about that.


2 Responses to “The Treaty Of Utrecht And Gibraltar”

  1. James Says:

    If Gibraltar (Great Britain) has allowed “either to Jews or Moors, to reside or have their dwellings in the said town of Gibraltar” would that not be a violation of the terms of the treaty?


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