Historians locate the first traces of human life in Mallorca two thousand years before Christ.
As a proof of that, in some areas of the island, there are navetas and talaiots with a good conservation status, which are remains of an important Megalithic culture. You can find them in the Talaiotic settlements of Capocorb and Ses Païsses in the municipalities of Llucmajor/Cala Pi and Artà, respectively.
Some historians point out that the name “Balearic” comes from “ballerin”, a Greek word meaning “slinging”. Mallorcan slingers are well-known for their excellent aiming skills and for using the sling as their only defensive measures during their continual battles, since they had to defend their territory against the consecutive invasions that the island suffered throughout history.
After defeating the Carthaginians, the Roman Empire dominated the island in 123 before Christ. The Roman domination was very fruitful, as they built paths and villages and brought the Roman culture and the Christianity into the island.
In the 10th century, Mallorca became Muslim under the command of the Caliphate of Córdoba. Their domination, which was also fruitful in terms of intelligent agricultural exploitation, prevailed for three centuries. During this period of time, not only did the agriculture grow, but also the trade prospered enormously thanks to the geostrategic location of Mallorca between Africa and the Islamic Spain.
In 1229, the Catalan king James I arrived in the island with his troops and beat the Muslims. After his victory, he imposed a new order. He distributed the territory among his faithful knights, granted powers to the Jews by converting them to Christianity and making them pay taxes, and boosted the trade. Among the most famous architectural building works of his reign it is important to mention the stunning Cathedral of Palma, an extraordinary example of the Christian influence on the city’s seafront. It is a real demonstration of political and economic power.
After his death, his son James II inherited the Reign of Mallorca, which comprised the counties of Rosselló and Cerdanya, the domain of Montpellier, the viscounty of Carladès (Auvergne), the barony of Omerlades and Mallorca.
The islands kept prospering under the Catalan domination for many years. However, as time went on, it all began to be neglected, new restrictive trade rules were imposed and the economy started to decline. In the 16th century, Mallorca went through a few civil disturbances, the execution of Jews in the hands of the Inquisition and the threats of the Ottoman Turks. It didn’t get better in the 17th century: the trade didn’t improve and the plague killed thousands of people.
In the 18th century, the official language in Mallorca, Catalan, was replaced by Spanish. Hunger, droughts and epidemics made the living conditions on the island very tough.
In the 20th century, with the arrival of the mass tourism in the 50s, the island experienced an amazing economic growth and nowadays it has become the leading tourist destination in the Mediterranean. In 1983, the Balearic Islands became an autonomous region with specific self-government rules thanks to a statute agreed with the Spanish Government.
The evocation of the millenary history is one of the multiple tourist sides of Mallorca, from its Megalithic culture and the Punic remains to the modernist and rationalist architectural examples of the 20th century. There are many places able to fascinate visitors. Those who are interested in learning more about the prehistoric history of Mallorca can easily visit some prehistoric Talaiotic settlements, such as Capocorb Vell, in Llucmajor, Ses Païsses (1300 BC) in Artà, and also S’Hospitalet Vell (1800 a BC).
Nevertheless, if you are more interested in the Roman culture, the Roman city of Pollentia in Alcúdia is a perfect place to turn back time and remember that period. Other historical places of interest are: the Arab Baths in Palma, the Alfàbia Gardens, the Santueri Castle, the Alaró Castle, the King’s Castle, the Bellver Castle, the Capdepera Castle, the Cabrera Castle, the fortified Tower of Canyamel, etc.
Eight centuries of Christianity and Christian culture left as a result a significant and interesting heritage. The Monastery Route is a good example, a tour that visits places for retreat and prayer, such as the Monastery of Lluc, the Sanctuary of Monti-Sion, the Sanctuary of Cura, the Sanctuary of Sant Salvador, the Sanctuary of Puig de Maria, the hermitage of Valldemossa, the hermitage of La Victòria, etc.
Official reserve accommodation
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Mallorca Hotel Business Federation - NIF V07221435 - Aragón 215 3ª planta - (07008) Palma de Mallorca - Illes Balears - Spain.
Recorded in the Executive Office Deposit Statute of Professional Associations of the Balearic Islands, dated September 1977.