The Isthmus
True or False?

October 2001

Charles A Bruzon
from the
Voice of Gibraltar

In my opinion
The "Gibraltar Chronicle"
29th October 2001

You don't have to be a university graduate to realise how futile and weak the Spanish argument is regarding the so-called section of the isthmus linking Gibraltar to the Iberian Peninsula that Britain is alleged to have usurped from Spain. With the view to clearing up once and fpr all the doubts that exist in the minds of Spanish politicians and apparently now also in the minds of some British politicians, it is extremely important that we look and keep on looking at the 1st Paragraph of Art. X of the Treaty of Utrecht:


In order to understand and make an impartial judgement as to the letter and spirit of the Treaty of Utrecht it is very important that we consider what was the physical layout of the land linking the Rock to the Iberian Peninsula. What did it look like geographically at the time the Treaty of Utrecht was signed in 1713?

From the North Face of the Rock to the outskirts of San Roque the whole area was. virtually uninhabited. There were no such places as La yLinea de La Concepcion, La Atunara, Campamento, El Puente, etc. On the other hand, there already existed gardens and orchards in the isthmus together with at least two extremely important landmarks. La Torre del Diablo and El Molino, later known as El Molino de Los Genoyeses; these were defence posts used to protect Gibraltar against possible Spanish attacks. Apart from these few distinctive features the whole area between Gibraltar and San Roque was just a stretch of land with virtually nothing on it. The Spanish Red Book (El Libro Rojo Espanol) published by the Spanish Foreign Ministry and presented to the Spanish Courts by Don. Fernando Maria Castiella, was Madrid's answer to the White Paper published by the British Government in April 1965 dealing with the question of Gibraltar and the Treaty of Utrecht. For years now much of the Spanish media and certainly the Madrid central government have been using all the means at their disposal to demonstrate that the piece of land known as the Isthmus is Spanish sovereignty.

In an attempt to justify this claim, which in my view cannot be legally justified, the Spanish daily ABC, back in 1966, published an article about Gibraltar and had the cheek to include a current aerial photograph of the isthmus showing the very important landmark of the Molino de los Genoveses virtually in the middle of our runway instead of in its rightful place which is where our frontier fence now is in the area to the west. "Who do you think you're kidding Mr Hitler" (Dad's Army)!!!

The heartbreaking fact is, that whereas we know that they are living in a fantasy world if they think they can prove that the isthmus is theirs, they seem to be succeeding in convincing those British Parliamentarians who are supposed to. be our friends.

The Spanish Libro Rojo which contains 545 pages of documents and arguments which are supposed to prove their case, is full of contradictions and inaccuracies which were clearly highlighted by my late father Luis Francis Bruzon in his book "La Roca" published in 1967. In it he explains that the Spanish Libro Rojo produces a map, a very useful map for us, and this time accurate ! showing the famous Molino in its rightful place i.e. where-our frontier fence now stands in the area north of western beach. The absolute relevance of all this is that when the Treaty of Utrecht mentions the town, port, fortifications and FORTS thereunto belonging...well one of those Forts is the Molino which as I explained earlier became known as El Molino de los Genoveses because a number of Genoese people from whom some Gibraltarian families are descended, planted fruit trees and vegetables in the area.

The official Spanish translation very conveniently leaves out the 's' implying that the only fort that was ceded to Britain was La Torre del Diablo situated in the area of Devil's Tower Road. Well we know that more than one fort was ceded to Britain and one of them was El Molino de los Genoveses. The official Latin and French texts of the Treaty both show the word in the plural and not in the singular.

Let me hasten to add, by way of a short breather, that a contemporary historian observed that Spain did not attach much value to Gibraltar until she lost it forever! One could use many arguments to show that Britain never "usurped" a section of the isthmus as is suggested by Spain but it would be outside the scope of this article to go into more detail now. Spain protests against Britain having erected an iron fence back in 1909. The truth is that soon after 1713 and definitely not later than 1726, British soldiers used to patrol the area from east to west where our frontier now stands.

After The Great Siege which ended in 1783 the British Line became once again clearly defined and this time ONCE AND FOR ALL. An interesting historical observation is that at the signing of the Treaty of Versailles that same year Britain returned Minorca to Spain and the Treaty of Utrecht was confirmed.

We know, and anyone who cares to look closely at Art. X of the Treaty of Utrecht, will know, that the substance of the agreement is contained in the first paragraph quoted above and that most of what follows, if not everything, was ad-ded to avoid further embarrassment to the Spanish King and to make the blow of Spain's loss a little less hard for the Spanish people. The reason why Spain is reluctant to test the Treaty of Utrecht in a court of law is because the points mentioned after paragraph one could not conceivably be put forward in such a modern court and win the case for Spain.

Just consider for a moment the mention in that part of the Treaty that states that Jews are not allowed to reside in Gibraltar.

Well I can tell you that I have many Jewish friends whom I admire and respect; some of them work relentlessly with me in THE VOICE OF GIBRALTAR GROUP, others are my neighbours from Alameda House, yes, I respect and admire them. But to think that a Treaty that contains such a statement is being used by Britain and Spain to deprive the people of Gibraltar of the rights they are fully entitled to within Europe is an abomination and is outright disgraceful.

It would be childish for me to suggest that if ever Britain were to relinquish its 'ownership' of Gibraltar, Spain would be the first in line to put in her 'claim' but all she would get would be the. town because that is all that is mentioned in the last sentence; she wouldn't get the port and she certainly wouldn't get the isthmus !!

Well, according to the Spanish interpretation of Art. X the isthmus was never ceded to the British Crown, so it doesn't belong to Britain 'to give away' !!

Who does THE ISTHMUS belong to then? It belongs to me Charles Bruzon and to the THIRTY THOUSAND PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN GIBRALTAR. THE ISTHMUS IS NEITHER SPAIN'S TO CLAIM NOR BRITAIN'S TO GIVE AWAY. And the AIR above it is ours and it is European and it must form part of THE SINGLE EUROPEAN SKIES.

P.S. The Bruzon family, you must know, is of Genoese descent, and how I would dearly love to be able to prove that one of those orchards close to the MOLINO DELOS GENOVESES belonged to one of my forefathers!

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