Treaty of Utrecht

Tratado de Utrecht


13 JULY 1713


The Catholic King does hereby, for himself, his heirs and successors, yield to the Crown of Great Britain the full and entire propriety of the town and castle of Gibraltar, together with the port, fortifications, and forts thereunto belonging; and he gives up the said propriety to be held and enjoyed absolutely with all manner of right for ever, without any exception or impediment whatsoever.

But that abuses and frauds may be avoided by importing any kind of goods, the Catholic King wills, and takes it to be understood, that the above-named propriety be yielded to Great Britain without any territorial jurisdiction and without any open communication by land with the country round about.

Yet whereas the communication by sea with the coast of Spain may not at all times be safe or open, and thereby it may happen that the garrison and other inhabitants of Gibraltar may be brought to great straits; and as it is the intention of the Catholic King, only that fraudulent importations of goods should, as is above said, be hindered by an inland communications. it is therefore provided that in such cases it may be lawful to purchase, for ready money, in the neighbouring territories of Spain, provisions and other things necessary for the use of the garrison, the inhabitants, and the ships which lie in the harbour.

But if any goods be found imported by Gibraltar, either by way of barter for purchasing provisions, or under any other pretence, the same shall be confiscated, and complaint being made thereof, those persons who have acted contrary to the faith of this treaty, shall be severely punished.

And Her Britannic Majesty, at the request of the Catholic King, does consent and agree, that no leave shall be given under any pretence whatsoever, either to Jews or Moors, to reside or have their dwellings in the said town of Gibraltar; and that no refuge or shelter shall be allowed to any Moorish ships of war in the harbour of the said town, whereby the communication between Spain and Ceuta may be obstructed, or the coasts of Spain be infested by the excursions of the Moors.

But whereas treaties of friendship and a liberty and intercourse of commerce are between the British and certain territories situated on the coast of Africa, it is always to be understood, that the British subjects cannot refuse the Moors and their ships entry into the port of Gibraltar purely upon the account of merchandising. Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain does further promise, that the free exercise of their religion shall be indulged to the Roman Catholic inhabitants of the aforesaid town.

And in case it shall hereafter seem meet to the Crown of Great Britain to grant , sell or by any means to alienate therefrom the propriety of the said town of Gibraltar, it is hereby agreed and concluded that the preference of having the sale shall always be given to the Crown of Spain before any others.

El Rey católico, por sí, por sus herederos y por sus sucesores, cede por este Tratado a
la corona de la Gran Bretaña la plena y entera propiedad de la ciudad y castillo de
Gibraltar, juntamente con su puerto y las defensas y fortalezas que le pertenecen, dando la dicha propiedad para que la tenga y goce absolutamente, con entero derecho y para
siempre, sin excepción ni impedimento alguno;

Pero para evitar los abusos y fraudes que podría haber en la introducción de las
mercancías, quiere el Rey católico, y supone que se entiende así: que la dicha propiedad se cede a la Gran Bretaña sin jurisdicción alguna territorial, y sin comunicación alguna abierta con la región circunvecina de parte de tierra.


13 DE JULIO DE 1713

Y como la comunicación con las costas de España por vía marítima no puede estar abierta y segura en todos
tiempos y de aquí puede resultar que los soldados de la guarnición de Gibraltar y los vecinos de aquella ciudad
de Gibraltar se vean reducidos a grandes angustias, siendo la mente del Rey católico sólo evitar la introducción
fraudulenta de mercancías como se ha dicho con el comercio de tierra, se ha convenido que en estos casos se
pueda comprar a dinero de contado en la región de España circunvecina la provisión y demás cosas necesarias
para el uso de las tropas de la guarnición y de los vecinos y navíos que estuvieren en el puerto.

Pero si se aprehendieren algunas mercancías introducidas por Gibraltar ya para permuta de víveres, o ya para
otro fin, se adjudicarían al Fisco, y dando queja de esta contravención del presente Tratado, serán castigados
severamente los culpables.

Y Su Majestad Británica, a instancia del Rey católico, consiente y conviene en que no se permita por motivo
alguno que Judíos ni Moros habiten, ni tengan domicilio en dicha ciudad de Gibraltar y que no se dé entrada ni
acogida a los navíos de guerra de los moros en el puerto de aquella ciudad, con que se pueda cortar la
comunicación de España a Ceuta, o ser infestadas las costas españolas por los Moros.

Y como hay tratados de amistad y libertad y frecuencia de comercio entre los vasallos británicos y algunas
regiones de la costa de África, se ha de entender siempre que no se les puede negar la entrada en el puerto de
Gibraltar a los Moros y sus navíos que sólo vienen a comerciar. Promete también S.M. la Reina de la Gran
Bretaña que a los habitantes de la dicha ciudad de Gibraltar se les concederá el uso libre de la religión católica

Si en algún tiempo a la Corona de la Gran Bretaña le pareciera conveniente dar, vender o enajenar la dicha
ciudad de Gibraltar, se ha convenido y concordado por este Tratado que se dará a la Corona de España la
primera acción, antes que a otros para redimirla.


The status of the territory between the North Front of the Rock and La Linea was settled militarily and diplomatically over 200 years ago.

In 1713 at the time of the cession of Gibraltar in perpetuity to the British crown,various fortifications were established and occupied by British troops in the area which came to be known as ‘the British Neutral Ground’. This was the area to the North of Gibraltar, militarily conquered and continuously occupied by the British except,during time of war.

After the Spanish attack(In Breach of Spain’s written promise in the treaty of Utrecht0 in 1727 was repulsed by the British, the treaty of Seville(1729) was the scene of long arguments between the Government of Spain and of the United Kingdom as to how far North the ‘undoubted right’ of Britain extended from the North face of the Rock and it was finally accepted that a distance of 600 Toises, being more than 2 cannon shots distance between the British guns and the Spanish guns,would be considered the ‘neutral ground’, and so it continued thereafter.

(Editors Note: Paolo Narvaez Guarnieri defines a Toise as a unit equivalent to length of two arms. Equal to 1,949 meters)

After the 14th seige ended in 1783, the British resumed the occupation of the British half of the neutral ground, and at least since 1838, when permanent sentries were posted along the line of the then existing frontier, the entire area has been exclusively occupied and administered by the Gibraltar authorities.

In 1908 the British constructed a fence along ‘the British edge of the neutral territory at Gibraltar (actually, to avoid offending Spain it was put 1 metre inside the British territory) and, for reasons of courtesy, gave notice to the Government of Spain before doing so.

During the construction of the border fence, the Governor of Algeciras was instructed to complain that it was being built ‘one or two metres in advance of the British line, and he explained in his letter to the Governor of Gibraltar’ I should not have called your excellency’s attention were it not that such construction has gone beyond the line of British sentries’.

As has often been the case, the statements made by the Spanish Government are less accurate and cannot be relied upon.

The British foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey had the matter looked into and in 1909 wrote to the Spanish ambassador in London to draw to his attention and request that he inform his Government in Madrid that ‘It is perfectly clear…. That the fence…. Will be entirely upon British territory’. The Spanish Government did not seek to argue the contrary and in any event gained 1 metre of the sovereign territory of Gibraltar, which they continue to occupy today.

Article by W.L.Chamberland published on the VOX Newspaper

May I pray indulgence of the learned amongst us and analyse the so called Article x of Utrecht which even in the 21st Century the Spaniards cling to because they have no other comfort.

First let me remind all and sundry of the wording, ‘and in case it shall hereafter seem meet to the Crown of Great Britain to grant, sell, or by any means to alienate therefrom the propriety of the said town of Gibraltar, it is hereby agreed and concluded that the preference of having the same shall always be given to the Crown of Spain before any others.'

The logic behind this would appear even in those days when people were mere chattels to be sold and bartered that it cannot under any stretch of the imagination mean the British inhabitants in situ at any time, however it must have meant that Britain could not offer it for example to the Moors who had held it for a longer period that even the Spaniards, therefore the insistence of its return to Spain does not and never has held water, thus the reason why they steer clear of Courts of Law.

Another very important aspect is that of Article vi, which states, quote - His Catholic Majesty does hereby enter into a solemn undertaking that He shall henceforth never commit any act of hostility against Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain nor any of Her line who do succeed her. This is absolutely laughable because it was as a result of Her Majesty's visit to Gibraltar that Franco reacted, so much for treaty assurances.

There are other peaches of articles none other than Articles ii and xiv, these are the ones dealing with the correct line of succession to the Spanish Throne, again after 294 years they still have not got it right, in fact they have from day one been meddling with this to the extent that since 1713 they have had non-Savoy aspirants, a Bonaparte, two republics one semi military committee, the only legal aspirant according to Article ii i.e Amadeo the one who threw the Crown into the sea, a dictatorship and restoration ad lib of the ‘Boubons' fraternity to suit the occasion. Article xv, that is the one that allowed Basque fishermen to operate of Newfoundland, and when Canada ,rightly dug her toes in, Britain sided with them, where was Utrecht to the Mandarins at the Foreign Office, the same who still swear by Utrecht when it comes to Gibraltar. Article xiii is the one that grants the people of Catalonia all the same rights as those of the two Castilles, to which Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain does intercede on their behalf, where were the Mandarins when Franco even prohibited the use of the Catalan language?. All these clauses are in Utrecht so why no reaction but only when Spain foolishly insists on Article x.

We have been told before that we cannot take action against Spain at the ICJ because Gibraltar, although the sufferers were not signatories but as a question for debate would it not be a much more profitable exercise if instead of spending so much money on entertaining, after all some only come for the beer and others for the jolly, we engaged a top firm of International Lawyers and took the Spaniards to the European Court of Justice and before some start shouting foul because we have to move with the times, think honestly who are living in the past and flouting each and every International Treaty or Convention signed after 1713 and to date not show where in these documents it states, ‘not applicable to Gibraltar because of Utrecht.'