Balearic Islands, the number one destination for sun, fun, cycling, hiking, beaches…the list goes on. Tourists flock from around the world to experience something magical each year. Having lived here for 5 years I often find myself discussing recent booms and busts of the Balearic properties market, the inevitable changes the Island has seen plus the progress of the 3 other Balearics Islands, but realised I wasn’t read up on where it all began. I have picked up on some history from the many fiestas celebrated throughout the year and love that some of the fiestas re-inact historic and monumental moments for Mallorca. However, I decided to give myself a history lesson on Mallorca and here are the top 5 things I really didn’t know
Over 5000 years ago there was evidence of the first human settlement, back in 3000BC. Some parts of this original settlement can still be seen in a museum in Palma, a visit will be arranged!
‘Ballein’ means ‘to throw a sling’ in Greek. ‘Balearides’ was the name given the Ancient inhabitants of the islands. Sound familiar? These Ancient inhabitants had been known to have a distinctly fierce method of fighting which involved a sling, hence the name ‘Baleriac’ transpired. I cant wait to share this at my next dinner party!
During the 5th Century, the Romans arrived and conquered the Balearic Islands, renaming the 2 largest islands Balearis Major (now Mallorca, Major because it was bigger) and Balearis Minor (yes, you guessed it – Menorca, our little sister) The official language became Latin and the first important cities were founded: Pollentia, which is now Alcudia and Palmeria, meaning ‘palm of victory’, in the south, which is Palma. They planned and constructed the new city through a network of streets, markets and theatres, administrative and religious buildings and surrounding it all with a city wall – parts of which can still be seen today.
2. It is only just over 40 years that Spain has moved away from the dictatorship of Franco, which kept the country and economy oppressed. Hard to believe when you look at Spain now! The Balearic Islands now enjoy their own government, parliament and judicial system – all based in Palma, the capital of the Balearics.
3. Mallorca (Balearic Islands) or sometimes spelt as Majorca is just over 3 and a half thousand km2 which makes it over 2 times bigger than Greater London but with only a tenth of the population. This does not come as a huge surprise to me, working in the Real Estate industry I see some of the most spacious and beautiful Balearic properties regularly and understand the population size in comparison to space on the Island. I think when compared to London (my home for over 10 years previously) though it really highlights how lucky we are to have all this space!