Journalist’s ‘historical love story’ explores links between Gibraltar and Menorca
People in Catalonia are “living in a world of expectation” after a tumultuous year, a Catalan journalist said yesterday as he launched his latest book on historical and social links between Menorca and Gibraltar.
Speaking in the offices of the Gibraltar Heritage Trust, Marti Crespo said Catalonia has recently seen Spain’s Supreme Court end its investigation into Catalan independence leaders, who will likely to face trial after last year’s referendum.
Mr Crespo told the Chronicle he was overwhelmed with the situation in Catalonia and the actions of the Spanish government.
“Right now we are living in a world of expectation, we don’t know what will happen in the courts and how people will react,” Mr Crespo said.
“For the past seven years the public have been very active and last year with the referendum and the disillusion of the government, people holding onto their strength and waiting.”
“There is an element of tiredness, which is understandable.”
In his book Mr Crespo traces western Mediterranean history during the 18th and 19th centuries and how the Menorcan’s from the Balearic Islands accounted for 6% of Gibraltar’s population during this time.
The book, which is in the Catalan language, is currently stocked at the Heritage Trust but has sold out in Catalonia and Menorca. Mr Crespo is looking to produce the book in the English language in future.
“This book is a love story and a love for history, about 15 years ago when I first visited Gibraltar I fully fell in love with this Rock,” he said.
“I am very interested in micro nations like Gibraltar, so for me it was touching.”
“It was this because of this love for Gibraltar that I decided to contribute in a modest way and dig into its rich past and history by writing a book about its community.”
Mr Crespo added that Menorcans contributed to Gibraltar’s unique identity as did many other cultures.
He highlighted how Gibraltarian painter Gustavo Bacarisas and local writer Mark Sanchez both have ancestors from Menorca.
Mr Crespo noticed a gap in the market for his book as others focus on the Genoese, Maltese and other cultures while the Menorcans did not have a book on their contribution to Gibraltar.
“The Menorcans would maybe appear in a paragraph discussing the identity of the Llanitos, but I have not found a book just focusing on the Menorcans,” Mr Crespo said.
He described how in the 18th century Menorcan dialect was likely to be heard on the streets of Gibraltar as would other languages before Gibraltarians settled on speaking Llanito.
The surnames of many Gibraltarians Mr Crespo added are derived from Menorcan last names which have been spelt differently.