One of the most interesting books published by the Menorca Military Consortium is “Un corsair menorquín. Historical recreation of the naval and medical Menorca at the beginning of the 19th century ”, by the writer Alejandro Fernández Alonso.
In the 19th century, when the island was recovered by Spain in the Peace of Amiens, the last blows of the lucrative activity of the corsairs took place. In the turbulent first years of the century, with constant changes of alliances, Spain authorized the privateering against England between 1806 and 1808, in the years when our friendship with France and our subordination to the interests of Napoleon cost us the defeat of Trafalgar. However, in this brief period, the corsair activity has nothing to do with that of the previous century, since only about seven ships are armed against the British. Perhaps most notable was the presence of a Menorcan corsair in the Baltic and the North Sea, with a sloop acquired in Copenhagen by the captain and pilot of the Mahón registration Francisco Martorell Llisart.
Turned the tables, and after the invasion of Spain by the Corsican, with capital letters, the Corsican is authorized, with small letters, precisely against France in the years 1808 and 1809. And finally, the new French invasion carried out in 1823 by the One Hundred Thousand Sons of San Luis gives rise to the last Minorcan and Spanish corsair episode.
Corsair actions, however, are very rare in these periods and are not well documented either, although, despite everything, there is evidence that in the last episode, in 1823, up to 14 ships were put to sea that armed some fifty guns with more than 600 crew members. But by then the little inclination towards privateering by the Spanish authorities, together with the greater difficulty of catches (increasingly protected boats, sailing under neutral flags), made the end of the Menorcan corsairs a fait accompli.
Let’s say that privateering as such was abolished by the Paris Declaration of 1856, signed by the main powers of the time, although its end was not definitively recognized by Spain until 1908.
If you are interested in knowing more about this part of the history of Menorca, Spain and Europe, you can purchase the book through the “publications” section of this website.