The Isla del Rey is a tiny island in the middle of Mahon Harbour which owes it’s name to the fact that it was the first land of Menorca to be reached by King Alfonso III when he arrived to conquer Menorca after many years of Muslim domination.
The harbor of Mahon gained considerable importance in the VIII Century with the increase in shipping from various European countries, having experienced several dominations from both British and French.
It was during one of these British dominations that the construction took place of the building that has lasted through to the present day.
The Hospital was founded in 1711, during the first British domination, but it was in 1722 when the island was expropriated for the purpose of providing hospital facilities for the sick and injured of the British Navy.
In the following years it was to be occupied by British, French and Spanish.
In 1802 the island was returned once and for all to the Spanish Crown who continued to use the hospital building.
It has been of service to a number of other Navies including American and Dutch and during World War II it was also used by the Italian Navy.
The building continued to be active until 1964 when a new military hospital was built in Mahon and the Isla de Rey was abandoned.
Since 2004 the “Associacio amics de l’Illa del l’Hospital” and later called “Foundacion Hospital de la Isla del Rey” protects the island and all it contains.
In 1888 the remains of a Paleocristian Basilica were discovered which dates back to the VI Century. The Royal Decree of 1243/79 of 20th April declared it a National Historical and Archeological Monument although these days there are only some stones remaining. This is clear evidence of very early human occupation of the island.