The Most Important Historical Facts about Mallorca
Mallorca has very eventful history, since prehistoric times through Phoenicians, Romans, Moors, Medieval Kings conquests… In this article we focus on moments with high historical significance, which have brought the island to its present cultural shape. Enjoy this tour through historical facts about Mallorca and let us know about your favourite event in the comments.
Establishment of prehistoric settlements
Marks of prehistoric settlements, which are date back to the time period 6000-4000 BC (Neolithic) can be found in few municipalities around the island. There is not much information about the first inhabitants of Mallorca, but after archeological discoveries we can admire f.e. the tombs and whole necropolis.
One of them is Son Real Necropolis near Can Picafort, which was rediscovered in mid-20th century. This Necropolis contains 143 tombs, where remains of approx 400 individuals have been found. It is one of the most important archeological spots in Balearic Islands. Archeologists found also remains of tools, weapons – iron sword, artefacts of ritual use and some pottery. The Son Real Necropolis is located on the very scenic coast route between Can Picafort and Santa Margalida, which is an amazing idea for a day out, if you are staying in the area.
Phoenicians & Second Punic War
Since around 8th century BC Mallorca was territory of Phoenicians. This civilization originally based in Levant established colonies in Balearic Islands and across whole Mediterranean region. They also played significant role in European culture, everything thanks to developing of their alphabet. It was a mile stone and later become a ground for Greek alphabet, and the most important right now Latin script, which is now used in 131 countries around the world.
Good to know that the Phoenicians were creators of the largest sales network of luxury goods in the Middle East in ancient times and often called the first globalists, thanks to all their colonies. Everything was going well for them till the famous Punic Wars, when Romans conquered Carthage, most territories in West Mediterranean region and during II Punic War also Balearic Islands.
Phoenicians did not settled in Mallorca, but took Mallorcans as their mercenaries during the wars, where they were using their incredible slingers skills.
The foundation of Pollentia (Alcudia)
In the list of facts about Mallorca we can not forget about the Roman occupation. During their rule Romans founded two towns on Mallorca – Pollentia and Palma. Pollentia was the first one, located between two big Bays on the north – Pollenca Bay and Alcudia Bay, for strategical reasons. It was also a beggining of urbanization of Mallorca by consul Quintus Caecilius Metellus Balearicus.
Today you can admire ruins of residential part, theater, forum and more. It is very special and important place, because it is the only one roman city, which you can visit in Mallorca. Also the most important archeological spot in Balearic Islands.
The foundation of Palmeria (Palma de Mallorca)
Another very strategical place founded by Romans was Palmeria (today – Palma de Mallorca). First of all it was a Roman camp and with urbanization growing became the biggest town of the island. Romans were very focused on rural side of Mallorca (wine, olives, salt). They implement new farming methods and brought much prosperity in those sectors. Thanks to Roman organization and prosperity Palmeria became the most important trade center in Balearic.
Moorish Conquest of Mallorca
In 902 Arabs took over the Mallorca and involved it to the Emirate of Cordoba. They improved irrigation systems on the island and focused on local industries. They also built the first version of Almudaina Palace, which is now one of the main sighseeing points in Palma. City changed its name to Medina Mayurqa and became the Mediterranean center of culture. Mallorca was under rule of few Moorish dynaties till year 1229. If you would like to discover more Moorish influences we recommend to visit Arab Quarter in Palma.
Invasion of King James I
Our next event is one of the most important among historical facts about Mallorca. In 1229 King James I of Aragon conquered Balearic Islands and Muslin era cames to the end. King called also The Conqueror lead the expedition to take over the Balearics when he was JUST 21 years old! First landed in Santa Ponca on September 8/9 with his army (15 000 infantry and knights!) got to the Medina Mayurqa on 31 December 1229. His prority was bringing Christianity back to the spotlight and building of the new churches, as many as possible. To this list we can also add the most famous building of Mallorca – Catherdral La Seu. Its first convertion from muslim temple to catholic church, began under the watch of King James I.
If you would like to experience this epic moment as one of the characters in historical fiction story, we recommed the book of Peter Kerr – Song of the eight winds: Reconquista.
For those travellers, who will stay in north of Mallorca and would like to visit Palma, our experts prepared special article:
If you want to organize your trip to Palma from Alcudia during your holidays on Mallorca we have prepared some solid info to help you make the best decision...
Attacks of The Barbary corsairs
During your sightseeing in Mallorca you will for sure see a lot of remains of watchtowers on the coast. Those towers are remainders of the Barbary pirates attacts on the island, which were very common between XV-XVIII century. Towers were helping to protect the island and inhabitants against the pirates. All thanks to the guards and very good organized (fire and smoke) signal system.
War of Spanish Succession - 2 July 1715
The last from choosen facts about Mallorca was the result of the fight for the Spanish crown between Austrian Habsburgs and French Bourbon dynasties. Talking about capitulation of Mallorca on 2.07.1715 to Bourbon dynasty. After that on behalf of the first Bourbon King of Spain – Philip V – in Nueva Planta decrees Mallorca became part of the Spanish province of Baleares. It is almost the same as present structure.
Tourism in Mallorca
Since 1950 Mallorca is one of the main travel destinations in Europe. Opening the island for foreign visitors converted its character from rural and industrial to touristic. Mass tourism in 1960-70 really develop its infastructure, many hotels and resorts were built, new buildings and attractions evolved. Now each year more than 10 milion tourists visit the island!
Hope you enjoyed our short lesson about history of Mallorca. If you have any questions or want to add more significant moments to our list, please leave us a comment below.
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