DEPOT DE LA MARINE. Plan of Fort St. Philip on the island of Minorca. Depot de la Marine. 1756

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DEPOT DE LA MARINE. Plan of Fort St. Philip on the island of Minorca. Depot de la Marine. 1756

Single sheet (sheet size 17 x 22 inches; chart size 15 6/8 x 15 inches). A fine manuscript map of Fort St. Philip on the Island of Minorca, pen and ink and colour wash, with the title above a comprehensive key to the right, decorated with a fine compass rose (old vertical fold).

Showing the fortified peninsula of Fort St. Philip at the entrance to the harbor of Port Mahon in great detail. Letters on the map refers to a legend situated right. The fort held by the English, was taken by the French after a siege of two months at the beginning of the Seven Years War. It was returned to the British by the Treaty of Paris of 1763.

The original fort was built during the mid 16th-century by Juan Baurista Calvi in the shape of a four pointed star, with four bastions and four curtain walls, surrounded by a dry moat excavated from the underlying rock. In the 17th-century, the castle was enlarged by covering the curtain walls with ravelins (triangular fortifications) on the far side of the dry moat covering the whole of the building with covered walk ways, palisades and glacis (sloping banks).

Although the British first occupied Menorca in 1708, it was not until 1713, with the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht, that Britain obtained sovereignty of the island. Even before the signing of the treaty the British began expanding the castle and strengthening its defence systems. The work consisted of adding counterguards covering the bastions, enlarging the ravelins opposite the curtain walls, communicating the moats from the counterguards and ravelins at three different levels, to the main moat. The original four pointed star building was surrounded by lunettes stretching from Mahón harbour to the bay of Cala San Estaban. Next to the castle was the Arrabal, or town, which had grown up near the castle walls, the proximity of the town enabled the French to mount batteries in the town during the siege of 1756. It was later re-built and is the present day village of Es Castell.

In 1782, the island was taken by the Spanish; the castle surrendered and was handed back to Spain, after more than half a century of British rule. On the orders of Carlos III, the castle was demolished. It was to be rebuilt and demolished for the second time in 1805 by the Spanish. Ariel views of the area still show the distinct outline of the castle.

Many years after the demolition of the castle of San Felipe, when the artillery were on La Mola, two batteries were placed on the ruins of the site of the old castle, at the points of San Carlos, and Prince´s battery overlooking the harbour interior.

[WITH]: Three fine original manuscript documents:

- "Observations Sur le Fort St. Philipe, Situe a L'entree du Port Mahon". Single folio sheet folded to make 4-pages (14 4/8 x 9 2/8 inches), written in manuscript on 2 sides,and dated Toulon 5ht April 1756, (signature obscured)

- "Extract d'une Lettre de Monsieur Le marquise de Le Galissionaire...". Single folio sheet folded to make 4-pages written in fair copy manuscript on 3 sides, aboard the ship the Thunderer on 21st May 1756 at the Port Mahon.

- "Detail decequi s'est passe Le 27 Juin a L'attaque des ouvrager avancee du fort St. Philippe". 2 sheets 4to., folded to make 8-pages, written on 7 sides.