Granada wants Duke of Wellington’s estate back

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THE town of Illora, Granada, has begun procedures to reclaim a property belonging to the Duke of Wellington which they say may have been acquired illegally.

The 955-hectare Dehesa Baja property belongs to Arthur Valerian Wellesley, 95, the eighth and current Duke of Wellington and a close friend of the Queen.

It is known locally as the ‘Gibraltar of Granada’. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall stayed at the estate during their visit to Spain in March this year.

The town hall claims that the land was ‘occupied’ by the Duke of Wellington although they were not within the package of lands in Granada granted by the Spanish Government to the first Duke of Wellington in 1813 in recognition for his role helping beat the French invasion in the War of Independence.

Illora has threatened to claim back the land several times, and has now gone to a lawyer specializing in these matters. They base their claim on a book written in 1850 about Spain’s territories, which mentions that Dehesa Baja has been returned to Illora on at least three occasions.

Between then and the farming reforms of the Second Republic in the 1930s, and the later changes carried out by the Junta de Andalucia in the 1980s, several local farmers attempted unsuccessfully to take over the land, which from 1486 to 1813 belonged to the Crown.

The town hall claims that it should be able to reclaim the land and use it for production, instead of it being mainly used for hunting as it is now.

 

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