The People of Gibraltar

1462 - Enrique  IV -  No Persons Shall Dare to Cut Wood

In 1462 after a confused series of skirmishes and parleys with the defenders of Gibraltar, Christian forces under Alonzo, Conde de Arcos, his son Rodrigo and the first Duque de Medina Sidonia, Juan Alonso de Guzman, finally managed to take the Rock from the Moors in the name of the Christianity - and Enrique IV of Castile.

Known by the rather unfortunately nickname of 'El Impotente' Enrique found himself with something of a white elephant as it was hard to entice his subjects to come and live on the Rock. His solution was to produce a decree which allowed anybody who wanted to do so all sorts of privileges and enticements. 

In this he was following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Fernando IV of Castile who had found himself in a similar situation in 1310 when he also managed to defeat the Moors and take possession of what was obviously in those days, a rather unappealing Rock. ( see LINK )

Enrique IV of Castile ( 15th century - Unknown )

Letters Patent of Privileges granted by Enrique IV of Castile after the Christian forces under , in which Algeciras and its surrounding area is granted to the City of Gibraltar

HENRY, by the Grace of God, King of Castille, Leon, &c. &c. to all Dukes, Counts, Marquises, Priors, Commanders, &c. &c.; to all Mayors, Councillors, &c. &c., and our good Citizens of Jerez la Frontera, and Tarifa, and all my other Cities, Towns, and Lordships, and to each and every one of you by whom these my Letters Patent shall be seen, health and favour. 

And as you well know how, by the grace and assistance of God, the City of Gibraltar was taken from the Moors, enemies of our holy Catholic Faith, and is now belonging to me and my Royal Crown; and as the said City guards the Straits, so that there may not pass to the King or Kingdom of Granada assistance in men, horses, arms, nor provisions; 

and as the said City has but few inhabitants ; and that to people it, I ought to bestow grace and favour on those who choose to go and dwell there, and remain continually with their wives and families, so that they may be the more disposed to serve me, and defend and protect the said City, and guard the Straits; 

and I being informed that the boundary of the said City is small for the number of inhabitants who ought to dwell there, according to its extent; and as, for many good reasons, it is necessary to give an extended boundary to the inhabitants, that they may have pastures for their cattle, lands for the plough, for planting vines, and for other uses; it is therefore, by my favour, that the present dwellers therein, and those who may hereafter reside there, may pasture their cattle, plough, sow, plant vines, and make gardens in the district of Algeciras; 

and that no persons whatsoever belonging to other towns or places, as set forth in the beginning hereof, shall dare to cut wood in the district of the said City of Gibraltar, nor in those of the said Algeciras, except those who now live or hereafter may live in the said City of Gibraltar; notwithstanding whatsoever favours Don Juan, the King, my father, of glorious memory, did to the places, towns, and cities, or to any person or persons in any of them, not in the district of the said Cities of Gibraltar and Algeciras, nor any confirmation thereof that I may have made, nor any letter or letters given to those Cities, towns, or places, to enable them to pasture, plough, or sow ; 

which I, of my own proper will and royal absolute power, which in this matter I choose to use, to the end of fulfilling my service, and for the peopling the said City, do abrogate, revoke, and annul in whatever does or may relate thereto: and if any of you, the Lower Cities or places as aforesaid, shall dare to contravene this order by pasturing cattle, ploughing, cutting wood, &c. &c. within the said district of Gibraltar, I order by these my Letters, and give full power to Pedro de Porras, my Mayor of the Castle and Fortress of the City of Gibraltar, to take prisoners the persons so doing, with their cattle, to be punished as is customary with those who pasture, &c. on the lands of others. 

And I order the said Pedro de Porras to defend and guard the said district ; and if anything shall be taken therefrom, to cause it to be restored to the City of Gibraltar, that its inhabitants may enjoy all that I order by these Letters.

And in order that he, Pedro de Porras, may be assisted in case of need, I order all good men and inhabitants of the said City, Mayors, Councillors, Sheriffs, Officers, and all others of the subjects of my realms, that they give and afford him all aid and succour that may be necessary. And moreover, I order the person who shall exhibit these Letters, that he require to appear before me at my Court, wherever I may be, the Corporations by their sufficient attorneys, and officers of each city, town, or place offending, within fifteen days, that they may be dealt with accordingly.

Given in the town of Agreda, 15th of December, 1462.