PORT MAHON, or MAlloN, a city and seaport in the Mediterranean, on the east coast of the Spanish island of Minorca (see BALEARIC ISLANDS), lies on a height near the head of an inlet of the sea miles long by from 400 to 1200 yards wide, which, though of less importance than formerly, is still an admirable harbour of refuge. The city presents a fine appearance from the sea, and is solidly built of excellent stone, but contains few features of in-terest. Afany of the houses bear the stamp of the English occupation, which has also left curious traces in the life of the people. Shoemaking is the principal trade, and shoes and the building stone already mentioned are the only important exports. The population was 21,976 in 1860, and 15,842 in 1877. At Cala Figuera (a cove to the south-east of the town) is a cotton-factory ; the King's Island (I. del Rey, so called as the landing-place of Alphonso III. of Aragon in 1287) contains a hospital built by the admiral of the English squadron in 1722 ; farther south-east on the shore lies the village of Villa Carlos or George Town (1746 inhabitants in 1877), with ruins of extensive English barracks ; and at the mouth of the port, on the same side, are the remains of Fort San Felipe, which was originally erected by Charles V. and twice became the scene of the capitulation of British troops. Opposite San Felipe is the easily-defended peninsula of La Mola (256 feet high), which is occupied by extensive Spanish fortifi-cations now in course of completion. Mahon is one of the principal quarantine stations of Spain ; the hospital, erected between 1798 and 1803, stands on a long tongue of land, separated from La Mola by Cala Taulera.
Mahon is the ancient Portus Magonis, which under the Romans !vas a municipinm pfttrt. Flavium Aragontanton), probably includ-ing under its authority the whole island. As the name suggests, it had previously been a Carthaginian settlement. The Moors had for some time been in possession when they were expelled by Don Jayme of Aragon in 1232. Barbarossa of Algiers besieged and cap-tured the city in 1535 ; and in 1558 it was sacked by a corsair called Piali. The English, who under James Stanhope, afterwards Earl Stanhope, seized the island in 1708, made Mahon a flourishing city, and in 1718 declared it a free port. In the year 1756 it fell into the hands of the French, through the failure of the unfortunate Admiral Byng to relieve the garrison of St Philip's (San Felipe). Restored to the English in 1762, it was in 1782 heroically but un-successfully defended by General Mnrray. In 1802 it was finally ceded to Spain by the treaty of Amiens.