Tercentenary of the Treaty of Utrecht


Thursday 10th of October 2013 & Friday 11th October 2013

Tercentenary of the Treaty of Utrecht

Tercentenary of the Treaty of Utrecht

The Tercentenary of the Treaty of Utrecht in March and April this year will certainly strike a chord given the ever present reality of Article X as it relates to the status of Gibraltar not only as a British protected territory and also as an integral part of Europe.

It is difficult to ignore the reality of this 1713 treaty given that it remains central to questions regarding the self determination of the Gibraltarians but the aim of this symposium is to engage with the Treaty as one that dealt with the redrawing of borders across territories and with the balance of power in Europe. The Treaty, signed between England and Spain, refers to a ‘perpetual and never-ceasing hope [that] the needle of the balance may remain invariable’. (10) This balance is also referred to as a ‘Federal Equilibrium’, with the suggestion that this is a Treaty that envisaged Europe as a nascent federal state. Indeed, Article VIII emphasises the importance of ‘free navigation and commerce between the subjects of each kingdom as it was heretofore in times of peace.

As such, our approach is to view the Treaty of Utrecht as a tool or document that, if on the one hand, brokered peace in Europe, it also, on the other, sought to configure Europe as a federal state – as a European Union of sorts.

For this reason, we thought we could look at the wider contexts of the Treaty to evaluate not only how this document continues to determine Gibraltar but to also understand the historical contexts of this European settlement across time and space, across Europe and throughout these three hundred years.  The following are headings that will help us to open our understanding of the Treaty of Utrecht.

  1. Borders – the redrawing of borders in Europe and how this issue of borders resonates to the present day.
  2. The wider implications for other European territories
  3. The wider implications for Gibraltar
  4. Commercial Transactions
  5. Geopolitical Discourse
  6. The Legal Position
  7. Social History – the tercentenary of Utrecht offers us the opportunity to look back at a Gibraltar and Europe of that era. To see how people lived
  8. Contemporary European History and History of the Mediterranean – the zone in general and not just Gibraltar.