British and French Menorca (1708 - 1802)
In 1706 Menorca was split by civil war during the Spanish War of Succession, with violence between supporters of Felipe de Borbón and Archduke Charles of Austria (pretender to the Spanish throne). In 1708, Anglo-Dutch forces landed and took the island without a shot fired starting a period of British rule, officially cemented in 1713 by the Treaty of Utrecht.
The British domination of 1708-1756 has been described by many as the so-called "Golden Age of Menorca". Richard Kane, the first governor, is remembered fondly for the improvements he made including improved farming, a road across the island, new schools and the abolition of the Inquisition. He also moved the capital to Maó, causing the diminishment in status of Ciutadella, where British Protestant rule was unwelcome by the nobles and Catholic clergy.
In 1756 the Duke of Richelieu was welcomed into Ciutadella when he landed with 20,000 French troops. There was a brief naval skirmish but the British withdrew. This failure to defend the island caused the public disgrace and execution of Admiral Byng on the deck of HMS Monarch. The French ruled for the next seven years, founding the village of Sant Lluis and inventing mayonnaise during their stay, until the Treaty of Paris returned Menorca to the British in 1763
The next nineteen years of British rule were not as benevolent, the only work of note being the construction of Georgetown (Es Castell). Poverty amongst the islanders was extreme and many emigrated to Florida. In 1782, a Franco-Spanish force captured the island for Carloss III of Spain after a six month siege.
In 1798, Britain retook the island for the final time and just four years later, Menorca was returned to the Spanish crown in the Treaty of Amiens of 1802.