One of the world's leading historians and experts on the Spanish Inquisition, Dr Henry Kamen, proclaimed in Palma yesterday that Gibraltar should remain as it is for “five centuries more.” Kamen, who is former Professor at Warwick University, a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a professor with the Higher Council for Scientific Reserarch in Barcelona, where he has been based for the past ten years, was in Majorca to give a lecture about Britain's interests and activities in the Mediterranean in the early 18th century. As far back at the 17th century, Spain, which now wants joint sovereignty of Gibraltar, had her opportunity to take possession of The Rock, but quite simply did not want it. Kamen explained that under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1714, Minorca and Gibraltar became British territory, but then Britain decided that it no longer wanted Gibraltar, “however Britain could not reach a deal with the Spanish and eventually, by bad luck had to get rid of Minorca.” However, by then the British had obtained a different base in the Mediterranean, Malta. “The British and Spanish could not reach a bargain over Gibraltar then, and they still cannot now,” Kamen said. Gibraltar today, “is no anachronism,” Kamen says “absolutely not.” “It's a country which has existed for various centuries and is no more of an anachronism than Ceuta or Melilla belonging to a country which is not Africa. “All over the world, for historical reasons, there are colonies of people a long way from the country to which they belong and I think that Gibraltar has the right to remain as it is for five centuries to come. “They've done no harm to anybody and nobody is claiming Gibraltar (outright). Quite frankly I do not see a problem and do not understand what the problem is.”

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