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The Balearic Islands ( , also , ; ca, Illes Balears ; es, Islas Baleares ) are an
archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as ...

archipelago
of islands in
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
in the western
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
, near the eastern coast of the
Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese language, Aragonese and Occitan language, Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** * french: Péninsule Ibérique * mwl, Península Eibérica * eu, Iberiar penintsula also known as Iberia, is a peni ...

Iberian Peninsula
. The four largest islands are
Mallorca Mallorca, or Majorca, is the largest island in the Balearic Islands The Balearic Islands ( , also , ; ca, Illes Balears ; es, Islas Baleares ) are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, ...

Mallorca
,
Menorca Menorca or Minorca (from la, Insula Minor, , smaller island, later ''Minorica'') is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to Spain. Its name derives from its size, contrasting it with nearby Mallorca. Its large ...

Menorca
,
Ibiza Ibiza ( ca, Eivissa, #Names, see below) is a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea off the eastern coast of Spain. It is from the city of Valencia. It is the third largest of the Balearic Islands, an autonomous communities of Spain, autono ...

Ibiza
, and
Formentera Formentera (, ) is the smallest and more southerly island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on ...

Formentera
. Many minor islands and islets are close to the larger islands, including Cabrera,
Dragonera Sa Dragonera () is an uninhabited islet An islet is a very small island. Most definitions are not precise, but some suggest that an islet has little or no vegetation, and cannot support human habitation. They may be made of rock, sand, and/or ...

Dragonera
, and S'Espalmador. The islands have a
Mediterranean climate A Mediterranean climate or dry summer climate is characterized by dry summers and mild, wet winters. The climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degre ...
, and the four major islands are all popular tourist destinations. Ibiza, in particular, is known as an international party destination, attracting many of the world's most popular
DJs A disc jockey, more commonly abbreviated as DJ, is a person who plays recorded music for an audience. Most common types of DJs include Radio personality, radio DJs, club DJs (who work at a nightclub or music festival), mobile DJs (who are hired ...
to its
nightclub A nightclub (music club, discothèque, disco club, or simply ''club'') is an entertainment venue during night Night (also described as night time, night-time, or nighttime, unconventionally spelled as ''nite'') is the period of ambie ...
s. The islands' culture and cuisine are similar to those of the rest of Spain but have their own distinctive features. The archipelago forms an
autonomous community In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is a first-level political divisions of Spain, political and administrative division, created in accordance with the Spanish Constitution of 1978, Spanish constitution of 1978, with the ...

autonomous community
and a
province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...

province
of Spain, with
Palma de Mallorca Palma (; ; officially known as ''Palma de Mallorca'' 1983–88, 2006–08, 2012–16) is the capital and largest city of the Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of the Balearic Islands in Spain. It is situated on the south coas ...

Palma de Mallorca
as the capital. The 2007
Statute of Autonomy Nominally, a Statute of Autonomy ( es, Estatuto de Autonomía, ca, Estatut d'Autonomia, gl, Estatuto de Autonomía, ast, Estatutu d' Autonomía, eu, Autonomia Estatutua) is a law hierarchically located under the constitution A constitutio ...
declares the Balearic Islands as one ''
nationality Nationality is a legal identification of a person in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between nation ...
'' of Spain. The co-official
languages A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communicatio ...

languages
in the Balearic Islands are
Catalan Catalan may refer to: Catalonia From, or related to Catalonia: * Catalan language, a Romance language * Catalans, an ethnic group formed by the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia * Països Catalans, territories where Catalan is spoken * C ...
and
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
.


Etymology

The official name of the Balearic Islands in
Catalan Catalan may refer to: Catalonia From, or related to Catalonia: * Catalan language, a Romance language * Catalans, an ethnic group formed by the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia * Països Catalans, territories where Catalan is spoken * C ...
is ''Illes Balears'', while in Spanish, they are known as the ''Islas Baleares''. The term "Balearic" derives from
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
(/''Gymnesiae'' and /''Balliareis''). In
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
, it is ''Baleares''. Of the various theories on the origins of the two ancient Greek and Latin names for the islands—''Gymnasiae'' and ''Baleares''—classical sources provide two. According to the Lycophron's ''Alexandra'' verses, the islands were called /''Gymnesiae'' (/''gymnos'', meaning
naked Nudity is the state of being in which a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, ...

naked
in Greek) because its inhabitants were often nude, probably because of the year-round benevolent climate. The Greek and Roman writers generally derive the name of the people from their skill as slingers (/''baleareis'', from /''ballo'': ancient Greek meaning "to launch"), although
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes do not properly align with each other when looking at an object. The eye that is focused on an object can alternate. The condition may be pre ...

Strabo
regards the name as of Phoenician origin. He observed it was the Phoenician equivalent for lightly armoured soldiers the Greeks would have called /''gymnetas''.Strab. xiv. p. 654; Plin. l. c "The Rhodians, like the Baleares, were celebrated slingers"
Sil. Ital. iii. 364, 365: "Jam cui Tlepolemus sator, et cui Lindus origo, Funda bella ferens Balearis et alite plumbo."
The root ''bal'' does point to a Phoenician origin; perhaps the islands were sacred to the god
Baal Baal (), properly Baal,; phn, , baʿl; hbo, , baʿal, ). was a title and honorific An honorific is a title that conveys esteem, courtesy, or respect for position or rank when used in addressing or referring to a person. Sometimes, the term " ...

Baal
and the resemblance to the Greek root ΒΑΛ (in /''ballo'') is accidental. Indeed, it was usual Greek practice to assimilate local names into their own language. But the common Greek name of the islands is not /''Baleareis'', but /''Gymnesiai''. The former was the name used by the natives, as well as by the Carthaginians and Romans, while the latter probably derives from the light equipment of the Balearic troops /''gymnetae''.


Geology

The Balearic Islands are on a raised platform called the Balearic Promontory, and were formed by uplift. They are cut by a network of northwest to southeast faults.


Geography and hydrography

The main islands of the autonomous community are Majorca (''Mallorca''), Menorca/Minorca (''Menorca''), Ibiza (''Eivissa/Ibiza''), and Formentera, all popular tourist destinations. Amongst the minor islands is Cabrera, the location of the
Cabrera Archipelago Maritime-Terrestrial National Park The Cabrera Archipelago Maritime-Terrestrial National Park ( ca, Parc Nacional Maritimoterrestre de l'Arxipèlag de Cabrera, es, Parque Nacional Marítimo-Terrestre del Archipiélago de Cabrera) is a national park that includes the whole of the Cab ...
. The islands can be further grouped, with Majorca, Menorca, and Cabrera as the
Gymnesian Islands The Gymnesians ( ca, Illes Gimnèsies , es, Gimnesias ), or Gymnesic Islands ( ca, Illes Gimnèsiques), is a collective name given to the two largest (and easternmost) Balearic islands, Mallorca Mallorca (, ) or Majorca ( ) is the largest i ...
(''Illes Gimnèsies''), and Ibiza and Formentera as the
Pityusic Islands (islands) , image_name = , image_caption = , image_size = , map_image = Localització de les Pitiüses respecte les Illes Balears.svg , local_name = , native_name_link = Spanish/Catalan language , nickname ...
(''Illes Pitiüses'' officially in Catalan), also referred to as the Pityuses (or sometimes informally in English as the Pine Islands). Many minor islands or islets are close to the biggest islands, such as Es Conills, Es Vedrà, Sa Conillera, Dragonera, S'Espalmador, S'Espardell, Ses Bledes, Santa Eulària, Plana, Foradada, Tagomago, Na Redona, Colom, L'Aire, etc. The Balearic Front is a sea density regime north of the Balearic Islands on the shelf slope of the Balearic Islands, which is responsible for some of the surface-flow characteristics of the
Balearic Sea Image:Mar Balear delineada.jpg, Limits of the Balearic Sea The Balearic Sea (endonym, endotoponym: ''Mar Balear'' in Catalan language, Catalan and Spanish language, Spanish) is a body of water in the Mediterranean Sea near the Balearic Islands. T ...
.


Climate

Located in the middle of the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
, the Balearic Islands unsurprisingly have typical
Mediterranean climate A Mediterranean climate or dry summer climate is characterized by dry summers and mild, wet winters. The climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degre ...
s. The below-listed climatic data of the capital Palma are typical for the archipelago, with minor differences to other stations in Majorca, Ibiza, and Menorca.


History


Ancient history

Little is recorded on the earliest inhabitants of the islands, though many legends exist. The story, preserved by
Lycophron Lycophron (; grc-gre, Λυκόφρων ὁ Χαλκιδεύς; born about 330–325 BC) was a Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander th ...
, that certain shipwrecked were cast nude on the islands, was evidently invented to account for the name Gymnesiae ( grc, Γυμνήσιαι). In addition,
Diodorus Siculus Diodorus Siculus, or Diodorus of Sicily ( grc-gre, Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης ;  1st century BC), was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern ...
writes that the Greeks called the islands Gymnesiae because the inhabitants were naked (γυμνοί) during the summer time. Also, a tradition holds that the islands were colonised by
Rhodes Rhodes (; el, Ρόδος, translit=Ródos ) is the largest of the Dodecanese The Dodecanese (, ; el, Δωδεκάνησα, ''Dodekánisa'' , literally "twelve islands") are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek#REDIRECT Greek Gre ...

Rhodes
after the
Trojan War In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans (Homer), Achaeans (Greeks) after Paris (mythology), Paris of Troy took Helen of Troy, Helen from her husband Menelaus, king of Sparta. The war is one of the ...
. The islands had a very mixed population, of whose habits several strange stories are told. In some stories, the people were said to go naked or were clad only in sheepskins—whence the name of the islands (an instance of
folk etymology Folk etymology (also known as popular etymology, analogical reformation, reanalysis, morphological reanalysis or etymological reinterpretation) is a change in a word or phrase resulting from the replacement of an unfamiliar form by a more familia ...
)—until the
Phoenicians Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3.0 ...

Phoenicians
clothed them with broad-bordered tunics. In other stories, they were naked only in the heat of summer. Other legends allow that the inhabitants lived in hollow rocks and artificial caves, that they were remarkable for their love of women and would give three or four men as the ransom for one woman, that they had no gold or silver coin, and forbade the importation of the precious metals, so that those of them who served as mercenaries took their pay in wine and women instead of money. Their marriage and funeral customs, peculiar to Roman observers, are related by
Diodorus Siculus Diodorus Siculus, or Diodorus of Sicily ( grc-gre, Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης ;  1st century BC), was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern ...
(v. 18 book 6 chapter 5). In ancient times, the islanders of the
Gymnesian Islands The Gymnesians ( ca, Illes Gimnèsies , es, Gimnesias ), or Gymnesic Islands ( ca, Illes Gimnèsiques), is a collective name given to the two largest (and easternmost) Balearic islands, Mallorca Mallorca (, ) or Majorca ( ) is the largest i ...
(''Illes Gimnèsies'') constructed s, and were famous for their skill with the sling. As slingers, they served as mercenaries, first under the
Carthaginians The Punics, Carthaginians or Western Phoenicians, were a group of peoples in the Western Mediterranean who traced their origins to the Phoenicians. In modern scholarship, the term 'Punic' – the Latin equivalent of the Greek-derived term 'Phoen ...
, and afterwards under the
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...
. They went into battle ungirt, with only a small
buckler Buckler front and back A buckler (French ''bouclier'' 'shield', from Old French ''bocle, boucle'' ' boss') is a small shield, up to 45 cm (up to 18 in) in diameter, gripped in the fist with a central handle behind the boss. While being u ...
, and a javelin burnt at the end, and in some cases tipped with a small iron point; but their effective weapons were their slings, of which each man carried three, wound round his head (Strabo p. 168; Eustath.), or, as seen in other sources, one round the head, one round the body, and one in the hand. (Diodorus) The three slings were of different lengths, for stones of different sizes; the largest they hurled with as much force as if it were flung from a catapult; and they seldom missed their mark. To this exercise they were trained from infancy, in order to earn their livelihood as mercenary soldiers. It is said that the mothers allowed their children to eat bread only when they had struck it off a post with the sling. The Phoenicians took possession of the islands in very early times; a remarkable trace of their colonisation is preserved in the town of Mago ( in
Menorca Menorca or Minorca (from la, Insula Minor, , smaller island, later ''Minorica'') is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to Spain. Its name derives from its size, contrasting it with nearby Mallorca. Its large ...

Menorca
). After the fall of
Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern side of the in what is now . Carthage was the most important trading hub of the Ancient Mediterranean and one of the most affluent cities of the . The city developed from a n colony ...

Carthage
in 146 BC, the islands seem to have been virtually independent. Notwithstanding their celebrity in war, the people were generally very quiet and inoffensive. The Romans, however, easily found a pretext for charging them with complicity with the Mediterranean pirates, and they were conquered by Q. Caecilius Metellus, thence surnamed Balearicus, in 123 BC. Metellus settled 3,000 Roman and Spanish colonists on the larger island, and founded the cities of
Palma Palma or La Palma means Arecaceae, palm in a number of languages and may also refer to: Geography Africa *Palma, Mozambique, city **Palma District *La Palma, one of the Canary Islands, Spain **La Palma (DO), a ''Denominación de Origen'' for wines ...

Palma
and
Pollentia 250px, Church of San Vittore at Pollenzo. Pollentia, known today as Pollenzo ( pms, Polèns), was an ancient city on the left bank of the Tanaro River, Tanaro. It is now a ''frazione'' (parish) of Bra (CN), Bra in the Province of Cuneo, Piedmont ...
. The islands belonged, under the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
, to the conventus of
Carthago Nova Cartagena (; la, Carthago Nova) is a Spain, Spanish city and a major Cartagena Naval Base, naval station located in the Region of Murcia, by the Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean coast, south-eastern Spain. As of January 2018, it has a populatio ...
(modern Cartagena), in the
province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...
of
Hispania Tarraconensis Hispania Tarraconensis was one of three Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Roman Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Roman R ...
, of which province they formed the fourth district, under the government of a praefectus pro legato. An inscription of the time of
Nero Nero ( ; full name: Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 15 December AD 37 – 9 June AD 68) was the fifth emperor of Rome. He was Adoption in Ancient Rome, adopted by the Roman emperor Claudius at the age of 13 and s ...

Nero
mentions the PRAEF. PRAE LEGATO INSULAR. BALIARUM. (Orelli, No. 732, who, with Muratori, reads ''pro'' for ''prae.'') They were afterwards made a separate province, called
Hispania BalearicaHispania Balearica was a Roman province encompassing the Balearic Islands off the east coast of modern Spain. Formerly a part of Hispania Tarraconensis, Balearica gained its autonomy due to its geographic separation and economic independence from the ...
, probably in the division of the empire under
Constantine Constantine most often refers to: * Constantine the Great Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was a Roman emperor from 306 to 337. Born in Naissus, Dacia Mediterra ...

Constantine
. The two largest islands (the Balearic Islands, in their historical sense) had numerous excellent harbours, though rocky at their mouth, and requiring care in entering them (Strabo, Eustath.;
Port Mahon File:PorticcioloCedas.jpg, The Porticciolo del Cedas port in Barcola near Trieste, a small local port A port is a maritime law, maritime facility which may comprise one or more Wharf, wharves where ships may dock to load and discharge ...
is one of the finest harbours in the world). Both were extremely fertile in all produce, except wine and olive oil. They were celebrated for their cattle, especially for the mules of the lesser island; they had an immense number of rabbits, and were free from all venomous reptiles. Amongst the snails valued by the Romans as a diet was a species from the Balearic isles called ''cavaticae'' because they were bred in caves. Their chief mineral product was the red earth, called ''sinope'', which was used by painters. Their resin and pitch are mentioned by
Dioscorides Pedanius Dioscorides ( grc-gre, Πεδάνιος Διοσκουρίδης, ; 40–90 AD) was a Greek physician, pharmacologist, botanist, and author of '' De materia medica'' (, On Medical Material) —a 5-volume Greek encyclopedia about herbal m ...

Dioscorides
. The population of the two islands is stated by Diodorus at 30,000. The part of the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...

Mediterranean
east of Spain, around the Balearic Isles, was called ''Mare Balearicum'', or ''Sinus Balearicus''.


Medieval period


Late Roman and early Islamic eras

The
Vandals The Vandals were a Germanic peoples, Germanic people who first inhabited what is now southern Poland. They established Vandal Kingdom, Vandal kingdoms on the Iberian Peninsula, Mediterranean islands, and North Africa in the fifth century. The ...
under
Genseric Gaiseric ( – 25 January 477), also known as Geiseric or Genseric ( la, Gaisericus, Geisericus; reconstructed Vandalic language, Vandalic: ) was King of the Vandals and Alans (428–477), ruling a Vandal Kingdom, kingdom he established, and was ...

Genseric
conquered the Islands sometime between 461 and 468 during their war on the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
. However, in late 533 or early 534, following the
Battle of Ad Decimum The Battle of Ad Decimum took place on September 13, 533 between the armies of the Vandals, commanded by King Gelimer, and the Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the co ...
, the troops of
Belisarius Flavius Belisarius ( el, Φλάβιος Βελισάριος; c. 500The exact date of his birth is unknown. – 565) was a military commander of the Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, o ...
reestablished control of the islands for the Romans. Imperial power receded precipitately in the western Mediterranean after the fall of
Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern side of the in what is now . Carthage was the most important trading hub of the Ancient Mediterranean and one of the most affluent cities of the . The city developed from a n colony ...

Carthage
and the
Exarchate of Africa The Exarchate of Africa was a division of the Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and ...

Exarchate of Africa
to the
Umayyad Caliphate The Umayyad Caliphate (661–750 CE; , ; ar, ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْأُمَوِيَّة, al-Khilāfah al-ʾUmawīyah) was the second of the four major caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under ...
in 698, and in 707 the islands submitted to the terms of an Umayyad fleet, which allowed the residents to maintain their traditions and religion as well as a high degree of autonomy. Now nominally both Byzantine and Umayyad, the ''de facto'' independent islands occupied a strategic and profitable grey area between the competing religions and kingdoms of the western Mediterranean. The prosperous islands were thoroughly sacked by the
Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: * Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Sweden and Finland * Swedish alphabet, the official alphabet used by the Swedish langua ...

Swedish
Viking Vikings—"pirate", non, víkingr is the modern name given to seafaring people primarily from Scandinavia Scandinavia; : ''Skadesi-suolu''/''Skađsuâl''. ( ) is a in , with strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties. In ...

Viking
King Björn Ironside and his brother
HasteinHastein (Old Norse: ''Hásteinn'') (also recorded as ''Anstign'', ''Haesten'', ''Hæsten'', ''Hæstenn'' or ''Hæsting'' and alias ''Alsting''Jones, Aled (2003). ''Transactions of the Royal Historical Society: Sixth Series'' Cambridge University Pres ...
during their Mediterranean raid of 859–862. In 902, the heavy use of the islands as a pirate base provoked the
Emirate of Córdoba An emirate is a territory ruled by an emir, a title used by monarchs or high officeholders in the Muslim world. There are three emirates that are independent states (Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Qatar); and the unrecognized Islamic Emirate ...
, nominally the island's overlords, to invade and incorporate the islands into their state. However, the Cordoban emirate disintegrated in civil war and partition in the early eleventh century, breaking into smaller states called ''
taifa The ''taifas'' (singular ''taifa'', from ar, طائفة ''ṭā'ifa'', plural طوائف ''ṭawā'if'', a party, band or faction) were the independent Muslim Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (; ar, ا ...
''. Mujahid al-Siqlabi, the ruler of the Taifa of Dénia, sent a fleet and seized control of the islands in 1015, using it as the base for subsequent expeditions to
Sardinia Sardinia ( ; it, Sardegna ; sc, Sardigna or ) is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , ...

Sardinia
and
Pisa Pisa ( , or ) is a city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a Administrative division, local administrative division of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function The provides essential public ser ...

Pisa
. In 1050, the island's governor Abd Allah ibn Aglab rebelled and established the independent Taifa of Mallorca.


The Crusade against the Balearics

For centuries, the Balearic sailors and pirates had been masters of the western Mediterranean. But the expanding influence of the Italian
maritime republics The maritime republics ( it, repubbliche marinare), also called merchant republics ( it, repubbliche mercantili), of the Mediterranean Basin were Thalassocracy, thalassocratic city-states in Italy in the Middle Ages, Italy and Dalmatia during th ...
and the shift of power on the Iberian peninsula from the Muslim states to the Christian states left the islands vulnerable. A crusade was launched in 1113. Led by Ugo da Parlascio Ebriaco and
Archbishop In many Christian Denominations Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' an ...
Pietro Moriconi of the
Republic of Pisa The Republic of Pisa ( it, Repubblica di Pisa) was an independent state centered on the Tuscan Tuscan may refer to: Places * A person from, or something of, from, or related to Tuscany, a region of Italy * Tuscan Archipelago Currency * Tuscan p ...
, the expedition included 420 ships, a large army and a personal envoy from
Pope Paschal II Pope Paschal II ( la, Paschalis II; 1050  1055 – 21 January 1118), born Ranierius, was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1. ...

Pope Paschal II
. In addition to the Pisans (who had been promised suzerainty over the islands by the Pope), the expedition included forces from the Italian cities of
Florence Florence ( ; it, Firenze ) is a city in Central-Northern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Al ...

Florence
,
Lucca Lucca ( , ) is a city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a of , roughly equivalent to a or . Importance and function The provides essential public services: of births and deaths, , and maintenance of local roads and public works. ...

Lucca
,
Pistoia Pistoia (, is a city and ''comune'' in the Italy, Italian region of Tuscany, the capital of a province of Pistoia, province of the same name, located about west and north of Florence and is crossed by the Ombrone Pistoiese, a tributary of t ...
,
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
,
Siena Siena ( , ; in English sometimes spelled Sienna; lat, Sena Iulia) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The S ...

Siena
, and
Volterra Volterra (; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Rep ...

Volterra
, from
Sardinia Sardinia ( ; it, Sardegna ; sc, Sardigna or ) is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , ...

Sardinia
and
Corsica Corsica (, Upper , Southern , ; french: link=no, Corse ; lij, link=no, Còrsega) is an island in the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north ...

Corsica
, Catalan forces under Ramon Berenguer, Hug II of Empúries, and Ramon Folc II of Cardona came from Spain and n forces under William V of Montpellier,
Aimery II of NarbonneAimery II (also called Aimeric II) (died 17 July 1134) was the Viscount of Narbonne from around 1106 until his death. He was the eldest son of Aimery I of Narbonne and Mahalt (also Mahault or Mafalda), daughter of Robert Guiscard and Sichelgaita an ...
, and Raymond I of Baux came from France. The expedition also received strong support from
Constantine I of LogudoroConstantine IAlso ''Costantino'', ''Gosantine'', ''Goantine'', or ''Gantine''. (c. 1064 – 1128) was the giudice of Logudoro. He was co-ruling by 1082 and sole ruler by 1113. His reign is usually said to have begun about 1112. He was the son of ...
and his base of Porto Torres. The crusade sacked Palma in 1115 and generally reduced the islands, ending its period as a great sea power, but then withdrew. Within a year, the now shattered islands were conquered by the Berber people, Berber Almoravid dynasty, whose aggressive, militant approach to religion mirrored that of the crusaders and departed from the island's history as a tolerant haven under Cordoba and the ''taifa''. The Almoravids were conquered and deposed in North Africa and on the Iberian Peninsula by the rival Almohad Caliphate, Almohad Dynasty of Marrakech in 1147. Muhammad ibn Ganiya, the Almoravid claimant, fled to Palma and established his capital there. His dynasty, the Banu Ghaniya, sought allies in their effort to recover their kingdom from the Almohads, leading them to grant Genoa and Pisa their first commercial concessions on the islands. In 1184, an expedition was sent to recapture Ifriqiya (the coastal areas of what is today Tunisia, eastern Algeria, and western Libya) but ended in defeat. Fearing reprisals, the inhabitants of the Balearics rebelled against the Almoravids and accepted Almohad suzerainty in 1187.


Reconquista

On the last day of 1229, King James I of Aragon captured Palma after a three-month siege. The rest of Mallorca quickly followed. Menorca fell in 1232 and Ibiza in 1235. In 1236, James traded most of the islands to Peter I, Count of Urgell for Urgell, which he incorporated into his kingdom. Peter ruled from Palma, but after his death without issue in 1258, the islands reverted by the terms of the deal to the Crown of Aragon. James died in 1276, having partitioned his domains between his sons in his will. The will created a new Kingdom of Mallorca from the Balearic islands and the mainland counties of Roussillon or Montpellier, which was left to his son James II of Majorca, James II. However, the terms of the will specified that the new kingdom be a vassal state to the Crown of Aragon, which was left to his older brother Peter III of Aragon, Peter. Chafing under the vassalage, James joined forces with the Pope Martin IV and Philip III of France against his brother in the Aragonese Crusade, leading to a 10-year Aragonese occupation before the islands were restored in the 1295 Treaty of Anagni. The tension between the kingdoms continued through the generations until James' grandson James III of Mallorca, James III was killed by the invading army of Peter's grandson Peter IV of Aragon, Peter IV at the 1349 Battle of Llucmajor. The Balearic Islands were then incorporated directly into the Crown of Aragon.


Modern period

In 1469, Ferdinand II of Aragon (List of Aragonese monarchs, king of Aragon) and Isabella I of Castile (queen of Crown of Castile, Castile) were married. After their deaths, their respective territories (until then governed separately) were governed jointly, in the person of their grandson, the Emperor Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. This can be considered the foundation of the modern Spanish state, albeit a decentralised one wherein the various component territories within the united crowns retained their particular historic laws and privileges. The Balearic Islands were frequently Ottoman raid on the Balearic Islands (1501), attacked by Ottomans and Barbary pirates from North Africa;
Formentera Formentera (, ) is the smallest and more southerly island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on ...

Formentera
was even temporarily abandoned by its population. In 1514, 1515 and 1521, the coasts of the Balearic Islands and the Spanish mainland were raided by Ottoman Navy, Turkish privateers under the command of the Ottoman Empire, Ottoman admiral, Hayreddin Barbarossa. The Balearic Islands were Ottoman invasion of the Balearic Islands (1558), ravaged in 1558 by Ottoman corsair Turgut Reis, and 4,000 people were taken into Barbary slave trade, slavery. The island of
Menorca Menorca or Minorca (from la, Insula Minor, , smaller island, later ''Minorica'') is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to Spain. Its name derives from its size, contrasting it with nearby Mallorca. Its large ...

Menorca
was a Kingdom of Great Britain, British Dependent area, dependency for most of the 18th century as a result of the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. This treaty—signed by the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Portugal as well as the Kingdom of Spain, to end the conflict caused by the War of the Spanish Succession—gave Gibraltar and Menorca to the Kingdom of Great Britain,
Sardinia Sardinia ( ; it, Sardegna ; sc, Sardigna or ) is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , ...

Sardinia
to Austria (both territories had been part of the Crown of Aragon for more than four centuries), and Sicily to the House of Savoy. In addition, Flanders and other European territories of the Spanish Crown were given to Austria. The island Siege of Fort St. Philip (1756), fell to French forces, under Armand de Vignerot du Plessis in June 1756 and was occupied by them for the duration of the Seven Years' War. The British re-occupied the island after the war but, with their military forces diverted away by the American War of Independence, it fell to a Franco-Spanish force after a Invasion of Menorca, 1781, seven-month siege (1781–82). Spain retained it under the Treaty of Paris (1783), Treaty of Paris in 1783. However, during the French Revolutionary Wars, when Spain became an ally of France, it came under French rule. Menorca was finally returned to Spain by the Treaty of Amiens during the French Revolutionary Wars, following Capture of Menorca (1798), the last British occupation, which lasted from 1798 to 1802. The continued presence of British naval forces, however, meant that the Balearic Islands were never occupied by the French during the Napoleonic Wars.


Culture


Cuisine

The cuisine of the islands can be grouped as part of wider Catalan cuisine, Catalan, Spanish cuisine, Spanish or Mediterranean cuisine, Mediterranean cuisines. It features much pastry, cheese, wine, pork and seafood. Sobrassada is a local pork sausage. Lobster stew from
Menorca Menorca or Minorca (from la, Insula Minor, , smaller island, later ''Minorica'') is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to Spain. Its name derives from its size, contrasting it with nearby Mallorca. Its large ...

Menorca
, is one of their most well-sought after dishes, attracting even King Juan Carlos I to the islands. Mayonnaise is said to originate from the Menorcan city of Maó, which also produces Maó cheese, its own cheese. Local pastries include Ensaimada, Flaó and Coca (pastry), Coca.


Languages

Both Catalan and Spanish are official languages in the islands. Catalan is designated as a "llengua pròpia", literally "own language" in its statute of autonomy. The Balearic dialect features several differences from standard Catalan. Practically all residents of the Balearic Islands speak Spanish fluently. In 2003 74.6% of the Islands' residents also knew how to speak Catalan and 93.1% could understand it. Other languages, such as English, German language, German, French and Italian language, Italian, are often spoken by locals, especially those who work in the tourism industry.


Demographics

Circa 2017 there were 1,115,999 residents of the Balearics; 16.7% of the islands' population were foreign (non-Spanish). At that time the islands had 23,919 Moroccans, 19,209 Germans, 16,877 Italians, and 14,981 British registered in town halls. The next-largest foreign groups were the Romanians; the Bulgarians; the Argentines, numbering at 6,584; the French; the Colombians; and the Ecuadoreans, numbering at 5,437. Circa 2016 the islands had 1,107,220 total residents; the figures of Germans and British respectively were 20,451 and 16,134. Between 2016 and 2017 people from other parts of Spain moved to the Balearics, while the foreign population declined by 2,000. In 2007 there were 29,189 Germans, 19,803 British, 17,935 Moroccans, 13,100 Ecuadoreans, 11,933 Italians, and 11,129 Argentines. The numbers of Germans, British, and South Americans declined between 2007 and 2017 while the largest-increasing populations were the Moroccans, Italians, and Romanians. Roman Catholicism is, by far, the largest religion in Balearic Islands. In 2012, the proportion of Balearicians that identify themselves as Roman Catholic was 68.7%.


Administration

Each one of the three main islands is administered, along with its surrounding minor islands and islets, by an insular council (''consell insular'' in Catalan) of the same name. These four insular councils are the first level of subdivision in the autonomous community (and province) of the Baleares. Before administrative reform in 1977, Ibiza and Formentera formed a single insular council, covering the whole of the Pitiusic Islands. The insular council of Mallorca is further subdivided into six comarques; three other comarques cover the same territory as the three remaining insular councils. These nine comarques are then subdivided into municipalities (''municipis''), with the exception of Formentera, which is at the same time an insular council, a comarca, and a municipality. Note that the maritime and terrestrial natural reserves in the Balearic Islands are not owned by the municipalities, even if they fall within their territory, but are owned and managed by the respective insular councils. Those municipalities are further subdivided into civil parishes (''parròquies''), that are slightly larger than the traditional religious parishes. On Ibiza and Formentera parishes are further divided into administrative villages (named ''véndes'' in Catalan); each ''vénda'' is grouping several nearby hamlets (''casaments'') and their immediate surroundings. These ''casaments'' are traditionally formed by grouping together several cubic houses to form a defensive block with windows open to the east (against heat), sharing their collective precious water resources, whose residents decide and plan common collective works. However, these last levels of subdivisions do not have their own local administration: they are mostly natural economical units for agriculture (and consequently referenced in local norms for constructions and urbanisation as well) and the reference space for families (they may be appended to the names of people and their properties) and are still used in statistics. Historically, these structures had been used for defensive purpose as well, and were more tied to the local Catholic church and parishes (notably after the ''Reconquista'').


Economy

The Gross domestic product (GDP) of the autonomous community was 32.5 billion euros in 2018, accounting for 2.7% of Spanish economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 29,700 euros or 98% of the EU27 average in the same year.


Transport


Water transport

There are approximately 79 ferries between Mallorca and other destinations every week, most of them to mainland Spain. *Baleària **to the Balearic Islands from Dénia, Valencia and Barcelona *Trasmediterránea ** Mainland-Baleares: regular lines, in both directions, from: ***Barcelona to
Palma de Mallorca Palma (; ; officially known as ''Palma de Mallorca'' 1983–88, 2006–08, 2012–16) is the capital and largest city of the Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of the Balearic Islands in Spain. It is situated on the south coas ...

Palma de Mallorca
, Ibiza Town, Ibiza and Mahón. ***Valencia (city in Spain), Valencia to Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza and Mahón. ***Gandia to Palma de Mallorca and Ibiza.


Sport

The islands' most prominent football club is RCD Mallorca from
Palma Palma or La Palma means Arecaceae, palm in a number of languages and may also refer to: Geography Africa *Palma, Mozambique, city **Palma District *La Palma, one of the Canary Islands, Spain **La Palma (DO), a ''Denominación de Origen'' for wines ...

Palma
, currently playing in the second-tier LaLiga 2 after relegation in 2020. Founded in 1916, it is the oldest club in the islands, and won its only Copa del Rey title in 2003 Copa del Rey Final, 2003 and was the runner-up in the 1999 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final, 1999 European Cup Winners' Cup. Tennis player Rafael Nadal, winner of 20 Grand Slam (tennis), Grand Slam single titles, and former world no. 1 tennis player Carlos Moyá are both from Majorca. Rafael Nadal's uncle, Miguel Ángel Nadal, is a former Spanish international footballer. Other famous sportsmen include basketball player Rudy Fernández (basketball), Rudy Fernández and motorcycle road racers Jorge Lorenzo, who won the 2010 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season, 2010, 2012 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season, 2012 and 2015 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season, 2015 MotoGP World Championships, and Joan Mir, who won the 2020 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season, 2020 MotoGP World Championship. Whale watching is also expected for expanding future tourism of the islands. Ibiza also recently became one of the world's top yachting hubs attracting a wide among of charter yachts and the world's second most expensive marina in th
world


See also

* Battle of Majorca *
Formentera Formentera (, ) is the smallest and more southerly island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on ...

Formentera
*
Ibiza Ibiza ( ca, Eivissa, #Names, see below) is a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea off the eastern coast of Spain. It is from the city of Valencia. It is the third largest of the Balearic Islands, an autonomous communities of Spain, autono ...

Ibiza
* Ibiza (town) (''Vila d'Eivissa'' or ''Vila'') * List of butterflies of Menorca * List of dragonflies of Menorca * List of municipalities in Balearic Islands * List of Presidents of the Balearic Islands Parliament *
Mallorca Mallorca, or Majorca, is the largest island in the Balearic Islands The Balearic Islands ( , also , ; ca, Illes Balears ; es, Islas Baleares ) are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, ...

Mallorca
*
Menorca Menorca or Minorca (from la, Insula Minor, , smaller island, later ''Minorica'') is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to Spain. Its name derives from its size, contrasting it with nearby Mallorca. Its large ...

Menorca
*
Palma de Mallorca Palma (; ; officially known as ''Palma de Mallorca'' 1983–88, 2006–08, 2012–16) is the capital and largest city of the Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of the Balearic Islands in Spain. It is situated on the south coas ...

Palma de Mallorca
* President of the Balearic Islands, List of Presidents of the Balearic Islands


Notes and references


References

* * ''Guide to yacht clubs and marinas in Spain: Costa Blanca, Costa del Azahar, Islas Baleares'' (Madrid: Ministry of Transportation, Tourism and Communications, General Office of the Secretary of Tourism, General Office of Tourism Companies and Activities, 1987)


External links

* * * {{Authority control Balearic Islands, Archipelagoes of Spain Autonomous communities of Spain Balearic Sea Geography of Southwestern Europe NUTS 2 statistical regions of the European Union Regions of Europe with multiple official languages Catalan Countries