The Menorca of the Crown of Aragon benefited from its maritime and commercial splendor, but from the end of the 14th century the island experienced a drastic process of depopulation and economic decline. This process reached alarming heights in the 15th and 16th centuries, due to a plurality of reasons. Fundamentally the social struggles between the peasantry and the aristocracy, similar and contemporary to the Germanías of the kingdom of Valencia and Mallorca or those of the Catalan revolt against John II. Also influenced by the Ottoman attacks, which looted and destroyed Maó (1535, by the Ottoman corsair Aruj, governor of Algiers for the Sublime Gate as well as brother of the former Ottoman admiral Jeireddin Barbarossa) and the then capital Citadel (1558, by the corsair Ottoman Piali), which threatened the almost complete depopulation of the island.
Captured by the British in 1708 during the War of the Spanish Succession and officially ceded as a result of the Treaty of Utrecht, it became a British dependency for seventy years (and the port of Mahón a British naval base in the Mediterranean) in the 18th century.
The British presence boosted the island’s economy, which became a major trading and smuggling center in the Mediterranean.