After being captured by the English in 1708 during the War of the Spanish Succession, Menorca became, with the occasional break, an English possession. until it was finally ceded back to Spain under the Treaty of Amiens in 1802. The British influence can still be seen in some of the architecture with elements such as sash windows. known locally as boinders. Another English influence is gin. It was initially produced to satisfy the demands of British troops but eventually the local population took a taste to it, modifying the drink slightly with their own infusion of Mediterranean herbs. Today it is both popular as a drink and as a sign of their cultural identity. Xoriguer (meaning Kestrel) is the most popular brand.
Menorquí, a variant of Catalan, still retains a few English loan words from the occupation such as “grevi” (gravy – sauce), “xumaquer” (shoemaker), the aforesaid “boinder”, xoc” (chak) and “sarg” (bully) from sergeant, who no doubt used to throw their weight around. I was told by a Menorcan friend that when she was a little girl she used to play a game of cards with her grandmother, one of the rules of which involved having to count to ten in English in a Menorcan accent.