GIBRALTAR forged new links with Spain’s Andalucia after its museum director gave a speech on the 1811 Battle of Barrrosa where British troops tried to break the French siege of Cadiz.

Gibraltar museum’s Clive Finlayson delivered the lecture to a packed audience at the Centro de Interpretacion del Vino y Sal in Chiclana, a town near the provincial capital.

Minister for Heritage John Cortes was unable to co-host the event because of his parliamentary duties, said he was ‘delighted that the links with Chiclana are being renewed.

The session comes as hopes of signing an EU treaty between Spain and UK sparked up again with the new coalition government in Madrid.

Professor Finlayson talked about the role played by English troops, some which arrived at the scene from Gibraltar to try to break Napoleon’s blockade of the city.

Anglo-Portuguese forces defeated two French divisions and captured a regimental eagle.

But the Barrosa Battle ultimately failed to break the siege after General Manuel de la Pena refused to support the attack with Spanish troops.

Finlayson joined the dots with the British capture of Gibraltar in 1704 and two sieges of Gibraltar in 1727 and 1779-83.

He used the events to show how ‘historical contingency’ contributed to the battle and the Napoleonic Wars as a whole.

Finally, he connected the dots to the early days of the 20th Century.

The Asociación Pro Fundación Batalla de La Barrosa organised the event which the Mayor of Chiclana, José María Román Guerrero attended in person.

Now Cortes said he wants to work to forge closer links with Chiclana de la Frontera in the future.

“We have a lot in common, not just elements of a shared military history but also a shared history of science and exploration, as well as a very direct connection in the study of bird migration in the region,” the minister said.

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