The People of Gibraltar
1462 - Gibraltar - The Spanish Fortress - Part 14
The Gates - Puerta de Tierra

La Puerta de Tierra - afterwards known as Puerta de España - was often commonly referred to as la Puerta de la Ciudad because la Puerta de Granada was in an awkward place. This far more accessible gate would receive more attention during improvements to the city’s defences until 1704.

It was reached via the arenales of the isthmus (tombolo) that joined the Rock to the continent. It allowed entry into the Barcina, the most heavily populated part of the town and indirectly into that part of town that would overtake it as regards population - La Turba. The construction of la Muralla de San Bernardo during the 17th century destroyed the monumental Moorish land Gate.

(Ruins of la Puerta de Granada)

In the early 17th century, Hernández del Portillo had pointed out that:
La Puerta de Tierra with its own Alcaide (Governor) is still left in this wall. It is so called because it is through this one and no other that the city is served from the land.
La Puerta de Tierra was altered in accordance with the the ideas of the Modern era.  Bravo de Acuña improved on Calvi’s efforts and left it more or less the same as today’s Landport Gate.  

The lower gate is la Puerta de Tierra - the one above it is La Puerta de Granada      (1567 - Van den Wyngaerde)

The only real changes after this were those directed in 1751 by Gibraltar’s Chief Engineer, James Montressor. 

Landport Gate (1751 - James Montressor)

There is good evidence that la Puerta de Tierra was already in existence in 1469, as Enrique IV of Castile mentions it in his decree conceding Gibraltar to Enrique de Guzman.  Although the date of its original construction is unknown to me it probably dates from either the very start of the Spanish period in the late 15th century - or even more likely from the Nasrid or Marinid period of the 14th.

In 1599 at the King's own command, Luis Bravo de Acuña rebuilt the entire gate and its surrounding walls reinforcing its defensive qualities by creating a moat in front of the north facing side that reached right down to the sea. By the mid 17th century it also acquired a newly designed bridge of well dressed stone as well as a drawbridge

(1627 - Luis Bravo de Acuña - detail, adapted)

In 1624 Philip IV of Spain undertook a tour of Andalusia. He spent only one day in Gibraltar but it was enough to leave behind a legend. Arriving by land from Sanlucar de Barrameda - capital town of the Duke of Medina Sidonia's - he was met by the Governor of Gibraltar, who happened to be Luis Bravo. All went well until they tried to enter the town through the Puerta de Tierra and found that the Royal carriage was too wide to get through. The Count of Olivares, who had accompanied the King was furious and made his displeasure known to Bravo. Why had he not anticipated the problem and had the gate widened appropriately.

The Count of Olivares, prime minister and favourite of Philip IV    (Diego Velasquez)

Taken aback but far from dismayed Bravo is said to have replied that the gate had not been designed to allow carriages into town but to deter the enemy from entering. He might have been tempted to add that he had designed the gate himself.