The Castle of San Felipe and the birth of the municipality of Es Castell

The history of the town of Es Castell dates back to the 16th century, all coinciding with the assault and looting of the Ottoman pirate Keir Eddin Redbeard, which occurred in 1535. From the result of this event, the Emperor Carlos I of Spain and V of Germany, decreed by the Royal order of July 13, 1554, the building of a fortress at the mouth of the Port of Mahón for its defense. The land chosen was the possession of “Torre d’en Serra” owned by Pau Serra, a Mahon jury.

The construction of this Castle called “de San Felip” was so important that people from all over the island participated; stonemasons, bricklayers, carpenters, workers … These people worked all week long and that led to barracks being built around the work to spend the night. These barracks eventually became houses and the houses into a town, as we will see below.

This populated nucleus was called “Raval del Castillo de San Felipe” and it was located right at the gates of the fortress. The population that inhabited the town were the families of soldiers and the military that defended the Castle.

Local historians agree that they were first housed inside the castle but many of them were married soldiers and soon there was no room to house their families. In this way, the workers’ buildings were used to house said people. Over time, urban expansion reached the extreme that from the roofs of the houses you could almost touch the walls of the fortress. So much so that in the year 1679 the houses that were closest to the castle were demolished and in this way a small esplanade was formed between the fortress and the houses. Even so, the lack of accommodation caused its construction again, again choking the entrance to the fortress. In the year 1,685, about 3,000 people already resided in the area.

At the beginning of the 18th century, the Spanish war was unleashed for the succession to the crown that faced Austracistas and Bourbons in a fratricidal war. Menorca will not remain on the sidelines and the Raval will also play its role when in 1709 the Austracistas make use of the cover to attack the Castle. This first confrontation and subsequent British attack in the year 1713 (which led to the first British domination of Menorca), were two sufficiently convincing events that, from the year 1719, the Raval was moved 500 steps further, to try to prevent it from The houses were used as a possible wall to attack the fortress again.

 

During the first British domination of Menorca (1713-1756), the privileges of the inhabitants of the Raval did not diminish and the intentions of the newcomers was to destroy this nucleus because it was very detrimental to the security of the fortress and, furthermore, because its inhabitants had been faithful to the Bourbons.

Therefore, the new Raval (as it was called from then on) grows again disproportionately since it would be inhabited by the “Ravalencs” and by the families of the recently arrived soldiers. Thus, we arrive at 1756 and Europe is immersed in the Seven Years’ War, France decides the invasion of Menorca and once again the Raval plays its role. The houses once again serve as a wall to attack the Castle and take the Island. The French authorities were convinced that the Raval should be demolished, but they did not carry it out due to the lack of accommodation for the numerous troops.

Finally, Menorca returns to England for the peace of Paris in 1763, and now it does, as of February 4, 1771, after the publication of General Moystin’s Band and the new population having already been traced to the current location according to the design of the engineer Mackellar, the Raval settlers are forced to colonize the new “Georgetown” in honor of King George III of Great Britain, a name that was changed in 1782 to “Villa Real de Carlos III” Villacarlos, and, from the year 1989, it recovered the popular denomination of Es Castell.

 

 

 

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