When in 1802 Menorca passed definitively into Spanish hands, the economic and social shock on the island was significant. The abolition of historical jurisdictions and privileges, as in the rest of Spain, together with the introduction of new customs and taxation in the rest of the country, managed to quickly make us forget the growth experienced during the British period. The end of the Napoleonic Wars, which had placed the island as a provider of commercial transit in the Mediterranean, and especially the abolition of all “private patents” that provided such good benefits to the English crown as to the islanders themselves, ruined the island’s economy. Without a job, many Menorcans responded to France’s call to colonize the city of Algiers from 1830, just 196 miles south of Mahon.
That same year began a historic link between Menorca and Algeria that would not be broken until the country’s independence in 1962. The figures for this emigration are overwhelming; if in 1818 there were 37,114 inhabitants in Menorca, in 1847 there were 29,851, almost ten thousand people emigrated spontaneously or organized in those first years of colonization, to settle around the capital. In 1850, in fact, several Mayan families founded the village of Fort-de-l’Eau.