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Book signing of ‘Ordinary Life in Peace and War’ tomorrow at Heritage Trust

Richard Garcia will be signing copies of his new book, which was published on Wednesday this week, at the Gibraltar Heritage Trust shop on John Mackintosh Square tomorrow from 10.30am to 12.30pm.

The book is entitled Ordinary Life in Peace and War, 1749-1783. It is volume 2 of the trilogy that is entitled ‘In the Shadow of the British Fortress of Gibraltar’.

This book covers the period from the arrival as Governor of Lieutenant-General Humphrey Bland in 1749 to the end of the Great Siege in February 1783. It was the first flowering of the Gibraltar civilian community, encouraged by Governors who were firm but fair in the way that they ruled Gibraltar.

The period is examined in great detail. It shows how the population grew, the way in which trade and commerce developed, the physical improvements made to the town, issues of law and order and of religion, and the environmental dimension. It then takes a completely new look at the Great Siege that put an end to the success story that had been developing up to 1779: the siege is examined from the perspective of the civilian population, rather than from the military perspective.

Of particular interest is the section that deals with Gibraltar’s regional relationships, with both Spain and Morocco. Bland was responsible for establishing good relations with Spain at a local level for the first time since the capture of Gibraltar in 1704.

“What I have tried to do,” said Richard Garcia, “is to paint a very different picture from the sketchy image that has hitherto been the standard depiction of Gibraltar at this time. The emphasis, at last, is on the ordinary people who made Gibraltar such a success. It is the story of our forefathers.”

The final volume of the trilogy, taking the story up to 1805, will be published in early September.

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