The old Isla Plana, off the coast of Alicante and Santa Pola, has long been an insular enclave valued both for its geographical position and for the wealth of fish in its surrounding waters. However, it remained uninhabited until the last third of the 18th century, when an ambitious project for a military stronghold and civil colonization of the island was promoted, in accordance with the reformist philosophy of the Spanish Enlightenment in the time of King Carlos III. , halfway between utopia and reality. That project would be known as Nueva Tabarca, in memory of the origin of its first settlers. Two characters were key in its configuration and development: the former captain general of Valencia and later president of the Council of Castilla, the Count of Aranda, and the military engineer, Infantry Colonel Fernando Méndez de Rao Sotomayor.