Richard Kane and the Cami de’n Kane

An Unsung British Hero

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Bust of Richard Kane in Westminster Cathedral

The British have a tendency to ignore their heroes, even superheroes are known to be forgotten with the passage of time.

In Menorca the people speak with warmth and respect forRichard Kane, who governed the island for the British in the 18th century. He is remembered as a ruler who had great humanity and a natural sense of justice. They have even erected a memorial to him.

In the summer of 1712, Queen Anne signed orders for the Duke of Argyll to capture the Spanish island of Minorca and turn it into an English colony.

Argyll remained titular governor for the nextthree years, but the work was really carried out by Richard Kane, the lieutenant governor.

He arrived 10 November 1712 and remained on the island, with two short intervals, until his death twenty four years later.

In 1712 Richard Kane was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Minorca by Queen Anne. Although his major role on the Island was military he cared passionately about the Menorcan people and about their welfare.

Kane was constantly battling against the interference of the Roman Catholic Church He was also always short of funds.

Kane reformed the legal system, drew up a new constitution, built a road connecting the old Spanish capital,Ciudadela, with Mahon, the new capital, and improved trade by making Mahon a free port. He introduced new agricultural methods and imported breeds of cattle and the cereals to feed them.

He was formally appointed Governor of Minorca in 1733 and given the rank of brigadier general in 1735. He was not knighted. Richard Kanedied in Mahon on 31 December 1736 after almost twenty five years of devoted service on the island. He was buried in the chapel of St. Philip's Castle which was later bombed by the Spanish. A bust by J. M. Ruysback in Westminster Abbey, has a Latin inscription whichlists his many achievements.

Richard Kane biggest achievement still stands to this day. He was the man who had the first road built joining Mahon to Ciutadella. This was a modern road by the standards of the time and now forms the basis of Me-1 road one almost certainly travels along as you arrive on the Island.

The Me-1 is still known as Es Cami de’n Kane (Kane’s Road). This act, although primarily for moving troops from one end of the island to the other made it possible for farmers to go to market to sell their produce. There is still a memorial to him at the side of the road at the junction of the Me-1 and the road to Fornells.

This cistern in Es Mercadal measures 20m by 40m and is 9m high.It was built between1736 and 1740. Richard Kane, the then British Governor, noticed the connection between water shortage and frequent diseases and financedthe construction of this cistern out of his own pocket.It is still open today.

Leave Richard Kane and his road to fame