Isabel II Fortress
in La Mola

A must to understand the history of the Island

La Mola

On the XVIII Century the British started building the St Anne´s fortress, which was never completed.  They considered at that time, that it was better to use their resources in enlarging and modernizing St. Philip´s Castle in the south shore of the entrance of Port Mahon.

The fortification works at La Mola were started in 1847, (in view of the possibility that the British would come back to Menorca), in order to defend the island   properly. 

The rivalry between England and France around the middle of the XVIII Century included Menorca, being at the   crossroads of the routes Gibraltar-Malta and Toulon-Algiers. It belonged to Spain since the Treaty of Amiens of 1802,  that ended the British sovereignty that started in 1713 by the Treaty of Utrech.

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The field fortifications were completed the following year, and were enlarged a little later with a permanent fortification that closed the fortification´s  gorge  from the North coast of La Mola, to the South at  the” Clot”.  This permanent fortification was inaugurated in the year 1852, but was not considered sufficient, starting then a larger and more ambitious project, which became the ultimate one.

The bulwark system was ruled out (it had fallen in to disuse) , creating then a polygonal front with two clearly differentiated sectors, in the land front,  defending the access to the fortress at the “ Freus”, and in the maritime front with it´ s guns facing and defending  the entrance of Port Mahon.

This fortification system was based in the teachings of the Engineer  Montalambert that concentrated gunfire at the inwards angles with it´ s  redoubts at the interior of the wide dry moats,  and at various firing levels  from the fortress casemates. Other important works, at the centre of the polygonal land line, was the Hornwork ,   that beats the land front from   it´ s right side and centre, while it defends the maritime front from it´s left side.

Once the fortification was completed, the placement of the artillery begun.  At that time, the technological advance experimented by the artillery, created moments of uncertainty, as our military industry was not fully prepared for that challenge.

The first guns placed were Krupp, 30´5 cm. and 26 cm. Later on, our industry built the Ordoñez , 24 cm, as well as the Munaiz , 15 cm. These constant changes of materials  and  elements , were reflected on the site, and you can notice the various settlements that have been dismantled. Later on the last guns were installed. We are referring to the Vickers 38´1 during Spain´s 2nd Republic years. Two of those can be seen at La Mola during the full visit ( the guns itself and the underground chambers from where the projectiles and the gun powder loads were stored and lifted to the gun firing platform).

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La Mola in pictures

A must to understand the history of the Island