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Category: Mallorca Life

Mallorca certainly knows how to have a party. Select any of the shortcuts to see more information or just scroll down if you want to read it all.

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Revetla de Sant Joan - Mallorca

Festa des Vermar, the grape harvest festival - Binissalem - Mallorca

Sant Antoni Abat - Mallorca

Festa de l'Àngel - Palma de Mallorca - Mallorca

Christmas holidays - Mallorca

Gegants i Capgrossos - Mallorca

Les Valentes Dones - Sóller - Mallorca

Sant Sebastià - Palma de Mallorca - Mallorca

Revetla de Sant Joan - Mallorca

On the eve of Midsummer Day, many towns in the Illes Balears celebrate its magical night. Fire is the main attraction, to dance around the bonfires to the beat of the music or to join the ritual of purification.
Several cities and towns in the Illes Balears celebrate the Nit de Sant Joan, including Palma, Calvià, Deià, Muro, Felanitx, Son Servera and Sant Joan, on Mallorca; Formentera, the city of Eivissa, Santa Eulàlia des Riu and Sant Joan de Labritja.

Bonfires are organised at the squares on the night of 23rd June, and music and dancing are also to be found, filling everyone at the gathering with glee. The magical hour is midnight, when it is time to take part in the ritual of purification by means of fire. According to tradition, something old or a piece of paper upon which we have written down everything we would like to change must be thrown into the bonfire. While it is burning in the flames, we jump three times in a row.

On 24th June St John the Baptist's Day is celebrated; he who was born in Judaea, was the nephew of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and who died beheaded in the year 27 at the request of Salome, the daughter of Herodias. The fact that it coincides with the summer solstice, with the longest day and the shortest night, has contributed to the magic acquired by this festival since time forgotten.

Horse Show in Ciutadella
But the event which most represents this festival doubtlessly takes place in Ciutadella, Minorca. The Sunday before St John's Day, a man roams the streets barefoot dressed in leather, representing the saint and inviting everyone to participate. On the 24th, the enormous square in Ciutadella fills with people to see the caixers, pagesos, the casat, the fadrí, the senyor and the capellà, accompanied by cavallers and the fabioler, who play the shawm. The caracoles of horses mounted by expert horsemen is a worthwhile show.
The Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró (in Palma) celebrates St John's Day with open house. Besides visiting the rooms, one can participate in activities and workshops. C/ Joan de Saridakis, 29. Tel.: +(34) 971 701 420. In Sant Joan (Mallorca) the Festa Sol que Balla is organised, with displays of agricultural machinery, farm produce, plants and an exhibition of tondre amb estisores (sheepshearing).

Festa des Vermar, the grape harvest festival - Binissalem - Mallorca

In September, the month of the grape harvest, Binissalem celebrates its most important festival, the Festa des Vermar, which for nine days transforms this wine growing town into a hive of activity flowing with fine wine.
This year it is celebrating it 38th edition, which makes it one of the oldest of its kind in Spain. Not in vain are we in one of the three most important wine-growing areas on the island, situated at the foot of the Sierra de Tramuntana. The municipality gives its name to the Binissalem-Mallorca Denomination of Origin, which the neighbouring regions also form part of.

The festival lasts for nine days and revolves around the fruit which has made this place famous for its wines, praised by the writer Jules Vernes already in the 19th Century. It begins with the welcoming of the grape harvesters at the Town Hall, accompanied by the xeremiers (traditional Mallorcan musicians). There is an extensive programme of activities and the town becomes a colourful and lively place, full of visitors. Speech-making and chess contests, street bands, open-air celebrations, floats, a wine tasting contest and the International Painting Competition are some of the activities suggested.

Open-air celebrations and wine in the square

Its origins are related to Sant Gall, the symbol of fertility and so, on the last Sunday in September, the grape harvesters take the young mosto or unfermented grape juice to be blessed and to make an offering to the Virgin of Robines. In the afternoon there is an open-air celebration in the square and all those present are invited to drink wine.

This square lies at the foot of the magnificent church built of marble and veined marble, with an impressive Norman bell tower. Visitors should stroll around the town, declared a Historical-Artistic Monument in 1983, and take time to view its stately houses, especially those along the streets Calle Pere Estruch and Calle San Vicente de Paúl.

This festival has its typical dish, Fideus de Vermar (Grape Harvest Noodles), a very old recipe made with lamb. In the past it was customary to choose the oldest sheep of the flock, which the shepherds had taken special care of for months. This dish has a very strong flavour, although it is also very tasty. It can also be prepared with rabbit. It is delicious, even more so if accompanied by a fine wine from Binissalem.

Tel: Binissalem Town Hall, +(34) 971 886 558; Fax: +(34) 971 886 532.
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Sant Antoni Abat - Mallorca

One of the most traditional celebrations in the Balearic Islands, the Saints Day or Fiesta de Sant Antoni, takes place every year on 17th January.
Deeply rooted in local customs, its origin dates back to the old agricultural way of life of the Island inhabitants, when they looked to the saint, patron saint of domesticated animals, to protect the animals that were so essential to them in their work in the fields.

Veneration of the saint continued, changing with the years, until it evolved into the festival we know today, without losing the essence of its origins - veneration of the saint and seeking his protection for the animals.
For many villages in Mallorca such as sa Pobla, Artà or Sant Joan, the Saint's Day is a local holiday. And, even in those villages where it is not, it is still very joyfully celebrated, with people thronging the streets and congregating around bonfires, dancing with the Devil or taking their animals and pets to their local church to be blessed by the kindly Sant Antoni.

The festival actually starts on the Eve of Sant Antoni, when huge bonfires are lit in the main streets and squares of the town and people dance around the flames. The fire is the real centre of the celebrations, symbolising the ancient ritual of purification and a renewal of life, the triumph of good over evil. Later that same night, everyone toasts bread and the local sausages such as llonganisses, botifarrons, or sobrassada over the embers. In Sa Pobla, the culinary treat of the fiesta is s'espinagada, a dish based on eels.

Throughout the night - a magical night for many - the music of the xeremiers, the local bagpipers, is unceasing. One of its main attractions is the traditional Dance of the Devils, symbolising the temptations by the devil that the saint had to overcome so often and so gloriously.

The following morning, Sant Antoni's Day, the festivities take on a slightly more serious tone. After the solemn mass in honour of the Saint, there is the Blessing of the Animals when all the village pets, canaries and goldfinches, dogs and cats, the farm animal, pigs, hens and donkeys, and '...all the beasties of the earth' wait anxiously for the protection of the Saint for one more year.

In many places the festivities continue with parades of floats depicting rural scenes and allusions to the life of the Saint.

Sant Antoni is a good saint
who has money, give it
so he'll protect your animal
be it of skin or feather.

Festa de l'Àngel - Palma de Mallorca - Mallorca

On the Sunday following Easter, many places in Mallorca celebrate the Festa de l'Àngel, a romería or pilgrimage excursion, the origins of which date back to the year 1407. The most significant of these takes place at Bellver Castle in Palma, where each year more than 20,000 people congregate in an atmosphere of festivity and fraternity.

It is known as the Festa de l'Àngel as it is identified with the festivity of Sant Àngel Custodi de Palma (St Joseph, the Protector), which originated in this city in 1407 and was their most solemn fiesta during the 15th and 16th Century. As well as a magnificent procession and the performance of a short play, they used to have a ceremony to bless the bread for the needy.

This is where the name pancaritat (blessing of the bread) comes from, as this fiesta is popularly called. From very early times, pancaritats have also been celebrated during the week following Easter at sanctuaries and chapels in Mallorca, where it is traditional for those taking part to make their way up on foot and share the last empanadas or pies which are made during these days.

For years, the Fiesta del Ángel was suspended, until in 1982 it was brought back by the Federation of Neighbourhood Associations of Palma, which converted it into one of the most emblematic fiestas of the city. Each year, thousands of people meet together at Bellver Castle to take part in this romería, where various entertainment activities are programmed to take place throughout the day.

Popular dances and local products

The acts start in the morning on Sunday, when a procession presided over by the Mayor of Palma leaves the Plaza de Cort to make its way up to Bellver Castle. It takes half an hour to walk up, with other participants joining in along the way, and they are welcomed at the castle by gigantesa (giant figures made of papier-mâché) and xeremiers (traditional musicians).

The large open space situated on the castle slopes, a lovely spot surrounded by pine woods and overlooking the bay of Palma, is the setting for the customary displays of Mallorcan dances, a parade by the Mounted Police of Palma, children's activities or the staging of the Passejada de l'Àngel (the procession of the Angel) by the group Llaüt de Carrer. At midday, the people spread out through the wood and share the food that they have brought along with them with their neighbours in a festive and fraternal atmosphere.

However, the day is long and the ball de bot (a typical Mallorcan country dance) may accelerate our digestion and stimulate our appetites once again. But that is no problem, as different entities set up stalls where we can buy pies, and sweet pastries called rubiols which are filled with jam or cabell de'àngel (a sweet pumpkin filling), and other typical Mallorcan products which provide us with energy until we get home again.

Throughout this day, there is restricted access to the wood and Bellver Castle for road vehicles, so it is advisable to use public transport.

There is a special bus service from the Plaça d'Espanya to Bellver street, every ten minutes.

Christmas holidays - Mallorca

Enjoy the holidays in the Balearic Islands mild climate

The Christmas holidays are coming to the Balearic Islands, bringing with them the traditional customs and new festivities that charm visitors. Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, each one with its own personality, offer celebrations which combine traditional customs and modern events. The lights and decoration on the islands streets and plazas are enticements to prolonging the day outdoors with a stroll after sunset in the mild Mediterranean winter.

From early December on, monumental nativity scenes are mounted in churches, town halls and shopping centres. The origins of this tradition can be traced back to thirteenth-century Italy and became widespread in the late eighteenth century. January 3rd is Formentera's patron saint's day, Sant Francesc Xavier, which coincides with pork slaughtering and the preparation of products to be consumed during the holidays and all through winter.

On December 24th, nit de Nadal, midnight mass is the protagonist of the day with the apocalyptic Cant de la Sibilla (a hymn sung by an angel) which dates back to the tenth century in Catalonia and brought over to the islands with Jaume's I conquest in 1229. This tradition has been maintained almost all over Mallorca since then and recovered in several churches on the other islands. In contrast to other areas, dinner is not a very important affair and traditionally hot chocolate with ensaïmadas or coques (sponge cakes) are served at home after mass.

Christmas Day is the most important family and religious holiday of the year and brings the close family around the table with sopa farcida (broth with meat-stuffed pasta shells), turkey, chicken or roast suckling pig as the main dishes. No Christmas dinner is complete without the Christmas coques, torró wafers or squares of torró. There are other culinary traditions as well, such as salsa de Nadal (a candied broth) in Ibiza or llet d'Ametla (almond milk) in the centre of Mallorca. In Menorca, Els Pastorells, the traditional Christmas pageant is performed every year. La segona festa de Nadal, Boxing Day, is traditionally a holiday with no religious significance, but of equal importance and family reunions continue with members who did not visit the day before.

Sports lovers can top off the year on December 31st by taking part in the many races held that day. At night, there is wide choice of restaurants, hotels and clubs to see the year out in or the twelve chimes of midnight can be followed in village and city squares to the accompaniment of music. In Palma, the day coincides with the Festa de l'Estendart, the commemoration of King Jaume I's entrance into the city, conquered in 1229, and acts and events take place in the morning.

Music pervades all these holidays with a special place for Mallorcan Christmas carols. In Ibiza, visitors can hear les caramelles, typical improvised folksongs, in many parishes during Midnight mass. New Year's Day is ushered in with concerts in many locations.

On January 5th, the eve of Epiphany, the cavalcade of the Three Wise Men becomes the protagonist almost all over the islands, a magical evening for children. The Wise Men arrive by land or by sea, laden with presents and the processions usually conclude with fireworks displays. Some of these cavalcades are hundreds of years old, such as Palma's, which dates back 200 years.

Gegants i Capgrossos - Mallorca

The Gegants i Capgrossos (giants and big-heads) form part of the festive tradition all over Spain, especially in Menorca and Mallorca, where these enormous figures play an important role in the popular festivals.

The history of these figures has not been without adversity. The earliest reference to the Gegants i Capgrossos dates back to 1630 and is located in Sóller. Apparently they were acquired by the town council, where they were used to liven up the Corpus Christi processions.

A century later, in 1734, the Palma City Council adopted the same idea when they bought the first four pairs of giants, which symbolised the different continents in the world. But the suspicion and opposition of the church hierarchy led to their disappearance shortly after.

New liberal changes emerged at the beginning of the 20th Century, and Palma recovered these figures. It was at that time that the gegants Tòfol and Francinaina were created, the legendary pair of pageses or country folk who today stand guard at the entrance of Palma City Hall in the Plaça de Cort.

Actually, the ones you can see today are not the real ones, but rather a reproduction made in the early 1970s. In 1936 this pair of gegants travelled to Barcelona to take part in the Universal Exhibition, but the outbreak of the Spanish civil war prevented their return and since then, nobody knows about their whereabouts.

Very traditional figures

All this history behind them makes them figures of great popular tradition in the islands. In fact, since 1998 a Trobada de Gegants (Giants Festival) has been held in Palma with the participation of giants and big-heads from all over the islands and elsewhere.

During the festivals, they are brought out into the streets and participate in the people's festivities from their enormous height and wearing their curious traditional dress. One pair which is always present is that formed by the xeremiers and the flabiolets who provide the music. The former play a type of bagpipes (xeremia) and the latter the flute.

There are various associations dedicated to the Gegants i Capgrossos in Menorca and Mallorca.

Les Valentes Dones - Sóller - Mallorca

The town of Sóller celebrates its most popular festival in May. This is the Fires i Festes de Maig, many days of festivities during which the role of the Valentes dones (Brave women) is recalled.

In the 16th Century, the coast of Mallorca underwent one of the worst moments in its history. In Sóller, at the foot of a valley of the majestic Sierra de Tramuntana, the raids by pirates were constant and the population lived in fear of being plundered again. According to legend, on the 11th May 1561 pirates arrived at the coast and entered the house of the sisters Catalina and Francisca Casesnoves. Far from being terrified, they took the bar which was used for barring the door and managed to kill the corsairs with it, contributing to the town's victory.

This bar is still preserved and takes part in the commemoration of the event: it is exhibited in the parades and presides over the acts of the programme, although the leading characters are the 'Valentes dones', represented each year by two girls from Sóller who are chosen by the 'Group of Moors, countrymen and countrywomen'.

Staging of the battle

The festival begins on Friday with the reading of the opening speech of the fiestas and the investiture of the 'Valentes dones'. On Saturday afternoon, a floral offering is made to the Virgin of Victory, which is taken from the Oratory to the Parish church, and on Sunday an interesting craft fair is held.

The day with the fullest programme is next Monday. In the morning a mass is conducted in the house where the Casesnoves sisters lived and in the afternoon the Firó de Sóller takes place, this being the most spectacular event. In it, 1,200 people stage the battle of 1561 acting as countrymen, countrywomen and pirates. Gunpowder also flows freely; 25,000 cartridges and 60 kg of black gunpowder for the blunderbusses are used.

The festival is celebrated from the 30th April to 9th May. You can get to Sóller by taking the C-711 road or through the tunnel which crosses the mountains. A good idea is to use the Sóller train, a wooden train which takes you through some beautiful scenery.

Sant Sebastià - Palma de Mallorca - Mallorca

20th January. The programme of activities spans almost the whole month of January and includes many events, such as its famous firework display on the saint's day.

The patronage of this saint is due to his protection against the plague. Sant Sebastià was a captain of Diocletian's escort who confessed to being a Christian and was condemned to die. His relic is supposed to have arrived in Palma by sea in 1523.

Although his saint's day is the 20th, the programme of activities spans practically the whole month of January, leading on from the Revetlla de Sant Antoni (St Anthony's Eve) on the 16th. On the night of the16th, bonfires are lit and torrades (barbecues) are held, while the demonios or devils dance through the streets.

They also have torrades on the eve of the saint's day, when many of the city's squares are transformed into stages where bands play live music, surrounded by a lively multitude of people dancing and listening to the music. Traditionally, a different style can be heard in each place, whether rock, flamenco, jazz or traditional music.

A cycling event or diada with fireworks

The following morning, on the day of Sant Sebastià, a solemn mass is held in the Cathedral. It is also customary to organise a cycling diada, as well as a spectacular firework display which is put on at night in the bay.

Every year, the Town Hall of Palma publishes a programme of activities for the Festes de Sant Sebastià.

Category: Mallorca Life

Sindicat 69, 10º
+34 971 728099
Fax: +34 971 728427

Passeig del Born, 15 1r
+34 971 724786
Fax: +34 971 718967

Unió, 2 1r
+34 971 714097
Fax: +34 971 727857

Unió, 2-1º Pta.18
+34 971 717 274
Fax: +34 971 710 898

Deià, 30
+34 971 354 387
Fax: +34 971 366 262

Isidor Macabich, 45 - 1r
+34 971 315428
Fax: +34 971 301972

Costa de Sant Domènec, 8
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Passeig de Mallorca, 36 àtic
07012 Palma de Mallorca
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Son Toells, 42-1º Ed.Paraíso (Sant Agustí)
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Sant Miquel, 68ª, 8è
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Plaça Joan XXIII, 6 ent.
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Avda. Jaume III, 4, 1º
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Ed. Llebeig, 4. Urb. Son Garrit
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Via Púnica, 2. Pral. B.
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Unió, 2, 3r.
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Unió, 2, 3r, pta.28
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c/ Estornell, 1
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Carrer des Corb Marí, 29
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Avda. Jaume III, 26, 1r
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Category: Mallorca Life

The History of Mallorca


Islamic rule

The Catalan Conquest

The Independent Kingdom of Mallorca

The restoration to the Aragon Crown

The crisis of the modern age

War of Succession and the loss of national liberties

The 19th century

The 20th century

The current period: the recovery of self-government



The first inhabitants arrived in the Balearics around 7,000 BC when they had mastered navigation techniques. They were hunter-gatherers who lived mainly on Myotragus, an antilope indiginous to Mallorca and Menorca, which became extinct from overhunting.

The first inhabitants changed progressively from hunters to food producers, which brought with it a social and cultural change and the beginning of the Pretalaiotic period spanning from 2,000 BC to 1,300 BC. At that moment in history Mallorca had a stable population which was evolving with very distinct changes. They went from living in caves to building “navetes”. They had previously buried their dead in caves, but they were now using hypogeus, megalithic burial sites, “naveta” constructions and artificial caves with several chambers. Pretalaiotic people were sedentary although they carried out a somewhat nomadic life. They settled in small peaceful family communities which lived from stockbreeding,a very rudimentary agriculture, hunting and gathering. A profound change in Balearic society occured 1,300 BC. It was the beginning of the Talaiotic period. The reasons for the change remain unclear. It has been attributed to the waves of invasions from the Mediterranean Sea, the evolution of the pretalaiotic society or to both factors. Society was organized hierarchically and militarily with a dominant social group, the tribe. The population lived in large settlements protected by large walls. A large number of weapons have been found in these sites.

Large constructions are very characteristic of this period. Talaiots are the most significant remains and the Talaiotic period is named after them. They have either a round or a square ground plan. They were large towers with a central chamber built with large stones. They were used as chambers where ceremonies, meetings, etc. took place and as defensive structures. Other buildings surrounded the talaiots. They were much simpler constructions where the Talaiotic people lived. Talaiots were normally located in strategic enclaves and would stand alone or in a group. The remains of Capocorb in Llucmajor, Antigor in ses Salines and Ses Païsses in Artà are outstanding, as well as other significant constructions of the period such as the cyclopic walls surrounding the settlements, the sanctuaries and the hypostile halls with their large stone pillars supporting large-tiled roofs.

The inhabitants of Mallorca were in contact with the most advanced civilizations of the Western Mediterranean, especially with the Phoenician colonies after the trade and colonizing expansion of Cartago beginning in the 5th century BC. They set trading posts along the coast (Illa de na Guardis in Ses Salines, etc).

In 123 BC the Romans led by Quintus Cecilus Metelus began the conquest of the Balearics. In the beginning, it was not an easy task due to the opposition of the islanders and their proweness with the sling. The campaign lasted two years and the Balearics became part of the Roman administration machine as part of the Tarraconense Region of Hispania.

Romanization, that is, the adoption of Roman culture and society was very important in Mallorca and it was a consequence of the enormous superiority of Roman culture and the significant arrival of Roman settlers to the island. Latin became the language of Mallorca and Roman law, administration, religion and culture were introduced in the island. Romanization brought with it city life and the foundation of two colonies Pollentia (present-day Alcúdia) and Palma, as well as two other cities, Guium and Tucis, and the federate city of Bocchoris (present-day Port de Pollença). From an economic point of view the island became a trade centre in the Western Mediterranean because of its strategic location, a crossroad in the main navigational routes. Agriculture and stockbreeding developed thanks to new techniques and the crops introduced by the Romans, specially wheat and wine production.

History of Mallorca - Islamic rule


Between 455 and 534 Mallorca belonged to the VandalKingdom, a Germanic tribe that formed a large maritime empire in the Western Mediterranean. In 425 they disembarked, raided and destroyed Pollentia, the administrative capital and the main city of Mallorca.

From 534 Mallorca was part of the Byzantine Empire. Justinian I (527-565), Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, began his expansion through the Mediterranean. The Byzantine General Apolinar conquered the Balearics and annexed them to the Empire. After the expulsion of the Byzantines from the Iberian Peninsula and Northern Africa, Mallorca became isolated and uninteresting for the remote Eastern Empire. Therefore, between 698 and 903, the Balearic Islands belonged to the Byzantine Empire, but in practice they enjoyed ample political and administrative independence. During those years, the small Mallorcan Christian communities were attacked by the Muslims and the Normands, who plunged the island into a profound crisis.

In 903 Mallorca was annexed to the Islamic world after a quick conquest that only encountered Christian resistance in the proximity of several castles, e.g. the Castle of Alaró, where they held out for eight years. The Balearics become the EasternIslands ofal-Andalus. The conquerors introduced the figure of the Favorite or Governor, who implemented reconstruction policies, favouring the immigration of Muslims from the mainland, rebuilding the countryside and the city, reorganizing trade, etc. Mallorca was under the rule of Cordova, which used Mallorca’s fleet and strategic location to raid the Christian Mediterranean to the North.

After an age of splendour the Emirate of al-Andalus plunged into a crisis and divided into the Taifa kingdoms, much weaker against the Christian attacks from the North, but with a high cultural and economic level. In this way, in 1015 Mallorca was under the rule of the Taifa of Dènia (present-day Valencia) until 1086, when taking advantage of the crisis of the Taifa of Dènia Mallorca achieved an unstable independence. It was marked by a lack of food which led the people to embrace piracy to survive. This caused a Pisan-Catalan crusade that raided and destroyed Medina Mayurca (present-day Palma) in 1115.

Between the 10th and the 13th centuries agriculture developed abundantly in Mallorca with the building of wells, fountains and channels. The countryside was divided into “Alqueries” or farms which were exploited by family units collectively. Artisans, traders, the ruling class and the administration lived in Medina Mayurca, the main town. Culture and art flourished and Mallorca became an exchange point between the East and the West, between the Muslim and the Christian worlds.

History of Mallorca - The Catalan Conquest

A key event took place in 1229. A change of cultures which were totally different from a social, economic and religious point of view. That is, the change from the Muslim world to Western Europe brought by the Catalan conquest of Mallorca. The population was forced to leave the island and those remaining were enslaved or in the best scenario forced to assimilate the new culture enforced by the Catalan conquerors. Mallorca definitely became part of the Christian world with the introduction of new institutions, a new language, a new religion and a new culture from Catalonia, which was the starting point of present-day Mallorca.

The Catalan-Aragonese crown, which was formed by Aragon and the CatalanCounties, began expanding through the Western Mediterranean in the 13th century. Therefore Mallorca became an essential political and economic base for the Catalan trade bourgeoisie both in the Western Mediterranean and the Eastern markets. Moreover, once the island had been occupied the corsair attacks against the Catalan vessels were no longer a problem. Another reason for occupying Mallorca was the spirit of crusade that dominated the period. On 5 September 1229 the Catalan fleet set course for Mallorca. The fleet headed to PollençaBay, where a pact had been made with a local chief. But the heavy Northwest winds forced the fleet to disembark in Santa Ponça on 9 and 10 September. From then on clashes between Christian and Muslim troops followed ending in the conquest of Mallorca on 31 December 1229. The city was raided and most of its inhabitants were either slain or enslaved.

The Muslims who managed to escape regrouped in the Tramuntana and Llevant mountains. The King had to return to Mallorca in 1231 to put an end to the last resistance in the Castles ofSantueri, Alaró and Pollença, which were built on rock.

Once the island was subjugated, it was reorganized into a new kingdom of the Aragon crown, the Kingdom of Mallorca. The island was divided into pieces of land, most of them belonging to the King. Noblemen were granted land according to their participation in the conquest of Mallorca. The Bishop of Barcelona, Nuno Sanç, Count of Rosselló, the Viscount of Bearn and the Count of Empúries were the main landowners, but religious orders and other institutions were also granted pieces of land. On a legal and institutional note, the King granted the “Carta de Franquesa”, which expressed the rights and privileges of the Christian settlers. The Catalan feudal system was relaxed to favour the arrival of new settlers.

The new society was formed by Christian settlers from the Catalan counties and a number of Muslim slaves and citizens who were allowed to live on the island and integrated progressively into the new dominating culture. There was also a Jewish minority. The settlers shaped a society which was an exact replica of the Catalan society with identical institutions, customs and social and economic structure. The Christian religion and the Catalan language were the flagships for the shaping of this new people. On 27 July 1276 King Jaume I died in València. He had divided his land between his sons and made Mallorca a new kingdom in the middle of the sea.

History of Mallorca - The Independent Kingdom of Mallorca

King Jaume I divided his kingdoms between his two sons, Pere and Jaume. King Jaume II inherited the Kingdom of Mallorca, Menorca, which was inhabited by Muslims but was under the rule of the Kingdom of Mallorca, and Eivissa. He also ruled over the Domain of Montpelier, the counties of Rosselló, Conflent and La Cerdanya and the Viscount of Carladès in present-day France.

It was a small scaterred kingdom which was hard to defend and was an obstacle for the two main European powers of the period. France wanted the lands on the mainland and for the Catalan Crown Mallorca was an obstacle for their Mediterranean expansion.

King Pere “el Gran” (the Great) was eager to invade his brother’s kingdom from the moment he came to the throne, but his sudden death made it impossible. Just before his death he had entrusted his son King Alfons “el Liberal” with the reunification of the crown territory. He faced little resistance to occupy Mallorca except in the heroic defence of the Castle of Alaró by En Cabrit and En Bassa, who were burned at the stake as tradition ruled.

But the politics of the period in the Mediterranean worked in favour of King Jaume II, who had taken refuge in his mainland territories. In 1295, after the death of King Alfons III, he conquered the islands andrecovered the territories of his small kingdom. In the second period of his reign Mallorca became prosperous both from an economic and a cultural point of view with the first steps towards building the Cathedral, Bellver Castle, the palaces of Almudaina, Valldemossa, Sineu and Manacor, the fortification of Alcúdia and Capdepera, etc. In 1300 King Jaume II ordered and regulated the construction of new towns and organized the increasing population of Mallorca.

King Jaume II died in 1311 and was succeed by King Sanç (1311-1324) who continued with the organization of the Kingdom of Mallorca. He created the Gran i General Consell, a body representing the island and an embryo of the current Consell de Mallorca, and the Sindicat Forà that dealt with the problems of the Part Forana (all the municipalities of Mallorca except Palma). From an economic point of view he boosted agriculture and trade.

He died without issue and he bequeathed the Kingdom to his nephew King Jaume III, who was underage. Therefore he was under the tutelage of his uncle. King Jaume III continued developing trade with the creation of the Consolat de Mar, a court that had power over trade affairs, recruiting a squadron and building watchtowers to defend the island against Saracen attacks. But his reign was a constant fight against France and Catalonia who were after his land. In 1343 King Pere IV “el Cermoniós” (the Ceremonious) invaded Mallorca and conquered it easily. King Jaime III undertook a desperate attemptto recover the island and recruited an army that disembarked in Pollença on 11 October 1349. The Mallorcan people turned their backs on him and the troops of King Pere IV defeated the last King of Mallorca in the Battle of Llucmajor on 25 October, where King Jaume III died on the battle ground and his son was imprisoned.

The two main economic activities of this period were agriculture and trade. Mallorca underwent an agricultural transformation. Irrigation crops were abandoned in favour of the three main Mediterranean products: oil, wine and cereals. Sheep raising became very important due mainly to wool production. Most of the land which had been previously populated by Muslims was given over to sheep raising. The manufacture centre was located in Ciutat de Mallorca. It was organize in guilds. The textile sector was the most influencing. Trade was concentrated in the city, where the products from the countryside and the city artisans were shipped out. Ciutat de Mallorca was also a distribution centre and a key port in the Mediterranean trade routes.

From a cultural point of view, the years of the Independent Kingdom of Mallorca were a period of splendour and consolidation of the new culture brought by King Jaume I. The universally renowned philosopher and writer Ramon Llull was the greatest exponent of Catalan language. Mallorca became one of the main Gothic art centres with the its impressive Cathedral, a key building of the Mediterranean Gothic style.

History of Mallorca - The restoration to the Aragon Crown

In the 14th and 15th centuries a new Mallorcan social identity came gradually into place. The “Part Forana” (countryside) played a significant role and took the whole burden of the economic crisis that gripped Europe during the Black Plague period. After the splendour of the PrerogativeKingdom, Mallorca plunged into a profound crisis at the end of the Middle Ages. This brought social conflict and a change in the social and economic structures of the island. The crisis became worse with the disappearance of the Mallorcan dinasty and the submission of the islands to the expansion policy of the Aragon Crown. Mallorca was exploited to extract money and men to wage the wars against Castille and Genova and the expansion campaigns in Italy and the Eastern Mediterranean. The Kingdom of Mallorca had little influence in the decisions of the Crown as was seen in the Casp compromise (1412), when a solution was sought to the succession problem arisen by the death without issue of King Martí. He was the last King of the Barcelona Dinasty and a Castilian Dinasty, The Trastamara, was chosen. No representative of the Balearics was present at the event.

This total lack of interest in the problems of the Balearics became worse when King Ferdinand II of Aragon (1479-1516) married Queen Isabel of Castile uniting the dynasties of the Crowns of Aragon and Castile. The greater economic, political and social influence of Castile moved the weight towards the mainland’s centre and the Atlantic Ocean. Mallorca became a small island with no political value.

The first reaction to the crisis took place in 1391 with the assault of the Jewish Quarter in Palma. The crisis of the minor artisans and farmers in the countryside was made worse by the bad policies of the ruling class of Palma and the Kingdom that only favoured the dominant class. But the latter diverted the unease of the population towards the Jewish merchant community, which was raided.

In time the conflict began taking shape. On the one hand, the majority of the society, which was formed by small and medium farmers and artisans, defended their freedom and rights granted by King Jaume I. On the other hand, the knights of Palma and the rich merchants defended their own interests siding with the central power and eager to impose the feudal system in Mallorcan society to obtain the profits for their own benefit.

Two events, two revolts or revolutions, led to the reaffirmation of the power of the knights, merchants and citizens and to the control of the land which had been in the hands of the farmers.

The Aixecament Forà (rural uprising) was a class fight between the privileged class, landowners and merchants, and the weaker class, farmers and artisans. It broke out in 1450 and blood was shed in Mallorca for two years. Small and medium farmers fought to defend what they owned under the leadership of Simó "Tort" Ballester against the knights, citizens and merchants representing Mallorcanoligarchy. The “Forans” were never against the Crown but against the oppression suffered by the countryside through the disastrous administration of the ruling class of Palma. The “Forans” wanted more representatives in the Gran i General Consell, the representative body of Mallorca. They also wanted a new distribution of the burdens imposed by the Crown and the cancellation of the indirect and census taxes. Palma was besieged three times during the uprising. The insurgent forces did not enter the city in any of sieges but they did achieve beneficial agreements. KingAlfons “el Magnànim” (the Magnanimous) intervened in the uprising sending a professional army from Italy, which was reinforced by citizens. They easily defeated the Forans.

Once the uprising was smothered in 1454,depression took hold and, because of it, towns remained weak and indebted. The situation which had led to the uprising became worse with many deaths and the collapse of the countryside. Furthermore, the land was in the hands of the citizens since many farmers were unable to face the debts and fines imposed onto them, changing from farmers to labourers.

History of Mallorca - The crisis of the modern age

A century later, in 1521, the same problems that had caused the rural uprising in 1450 and the situation that brought with it a crashing repression detonated another uprising in the countryside, Les Germanies. While the Spanish Hapsburg monarchy dominated Europe and colonized America, the Kingdom of Mallorca was a insignificant territory which supplied money and men to maintain the Empire.

The Agermanat movement was a protest by the farmers and artisans against the citizens, merchants and knights who exploited them. They wanted to distribute taxation in a fairer way.

The uprising of the Germanies had two different stages. In the first stage, which was moderate, the guilds of Palma led by Joan Crespí rose up. The farmers led by Joanot Colom were involved in the second more extreme stage.

The Agermanats, motivated by the Emperor’s refusal to negotiate, adopted a more radical position storming BellverCastle and killing everyone who had taken refuge inside. The only safe places for the counterinsurgent “Mascarats” in theisland were the SantueriCastle and the walled city of Alcúdia..

Joanot Colom removed Joan Crespí, who was imprisoned and killed, from leadership. Violence took over and the Agermanats attacked the town of Alcúdia and the SantueriCastle by land and sea but these strongholds were never surrendered to the enemy. Several “Mascarat” groups fighting against the Agermanats appeared. The uprising became a civil war until the arrival of the Crown’s Army in Alcúdia, where repression in Mallorca began.

Ciutat de Mallorca (presently Palma) became the last redoubt for 2,000 Agermanats. Joanot Colom, seeing that they could not hold onto the city, negotiated their surrender with the viceroy. On 17 March 1522 the royal troops entered Ciutat de Mallorca.

In accordance with the signed truce, Joanot Colom and other Agermanats went to the Emperor’s court in Valladolid where they offered Emperor Charles I the gold keys to the city. He rejected them. There were no negotiations and Joanot Colom paid with his life the offense of subversion.

The ensuing repression was enormous. They wanted it to be a lesson so that it would never happen again. The island was devastated. The population decreased by 30%, towns were in almost unpayable debt and new taxes were enforced to the defeated.

The 16th and 17th centuries were a period of crisis. Farmers became labourers in the large estates owned by the noblemen and the rich merchants of Palma, those who had suppressed the uprising. Seven Mallorcan families were granted a Castilian nobility title in the 17th century as an award for their loyalty to the Castilian Court. Life for small landowners and artisans became even harder.

History of Mallorca - War of Succession and the loss of national liberties

In 1700 Charles II died without issue. And so began the War of Succession between the two candidates for the Spanish throne,Philippe d'Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV of France and Archduke Charles, son of the Austrian Emperor. The Crown of Aragon supported Archduke Charles since they were distrustful of the French Borbonic centralism. This centralist policy was against the federal tradition of the Kingdoms of the Crown of Aragon, which had kept their own self-governing institutions since the Middle Ages. Mallorca also supported the Archduke and contributed with men and money to the Austriacist cause. But in 1713 the Treaty of Utrecht was signed by the two powers. The Treaty recognized Felipe V as King of Spain. Mallorca resisted even after the fall of Barcelona. In 1715 the last troops loyal to the Archduke surrendered in Ciutat de Mallorca.

The defeat was followed by the Nova Planta Decrees, which meant the loss of all Mallorcan institutions and self-government and the beginning of Castilian centralism with the imposition of culture and institutions. It was the end of the Kingdom of Mallorca. Government was centralized in the figure of the General Captain, who was the top political and military authority representing the King in every province. The Royal Audience, presided over by the General Captain, was the ruling political institution. It appointed the Aldermen in the new Town Councils. Ciutat de Mallorca relinquished its name in favour of Palma. Aldermen were appointed by proposal of the King. The administration hispanicized rapidly due to the arrival of Spanish civil servants. Spanish became compulsory in education, administration and official documents and so it began its introduction into the country.

In the 18th century agriculture was still the main sector of Mallorcan economy with two main traditional cultivations: cereals in the plain and olive trees in the mountains. But changes were happening already in this century. Different social classes consolidated within the farming class: wealthy farmers who rented the land from the landowning noblemen and with direct control of the land which they exploited by means of wage labourers. Small landowners who farmed small or medium properties, which were sometimes unable to feed a whole family, and therefore had to work as labourers. And finally, on the lowest level, the landless labourers, who were totally dependant on wages and were exploited by landowners.

Another change was brought by the expansion and diversification of crops which were allocated for trade. Small farmers came into contact with the market and used the money to invest in land productiveness.

Changes also took place in the manufacturing sector. The merchants of Palma escaped the rigid control of the guilds, which were already in crisis, by employing farmers part-time. This rural industry, which developed in the second half of the century, was based on textile industry and was an addition to agricultural activities.

The Enlightenment had its greatest exponent in the "Sociedad Económica Mallorquina de Amigos del País". It came into being as a response by the privileged class to create changes remove backwardness in Mallorca and promote industry, trade and agriculture. But its work was theoretical rather than practical.

The 19th century

The century begins with the War of Independence (1808-1814) against the Napoleonic Invasion. The Balearics did not suffer direct damage but the war had significant consequences to the islands. A large number of refugees arrived in the Balearics and the first conflicts between the liberals and the absolutists began with the introduction of the Cadiz Constitution of 1812.

The victory of the Liberals in 1833 meant the end of the ancient regime. An administration reform was put into place, new provinces were created, the centralist policies were reinforced with Spanish as an official language in a unitary state, the ancient regime institutions were abolished, private property was promoted and a parliamentary regime with census suffrage and separation of powers was consolidated.

Well into the century social discontent and the new working classes which supported more progressist parties led to the revolutionary six-year period (1868-1874). Its crucial moment was the first Republic between 1873 and 1874. Its failure meant the return of the monarchy with King Alfonso XII and the beginning of a long political period, “La Restauración” (the restoration), characterized by stability, the development of chieftainship and a political shift between the conservative and liberal parties. The Mallorcan Antoni Maura, who was President of the Government in several occasions, was one of the key figures of “La Restauración”.

Several changes took place in the Mallorcan countryside in the 19th century that resulted in the division of part of the land owned by the aristocracy and church and communal land into plots through confiscations and establishments. This led to an increase in family plots. New landowners, who cultivated their own land and thus were more motivated in increasing productivity, started diversifying their crops to achieve a larger benefit from their land. This agricultural improvement is one of the causes of an increase of population in Mallorca in the 19th century, which led to a significant emigration movement to South America. The first crop to expand was the vineyard, which extended throughout the island after the Philoxera plague in France devastated the French vineyard. This continued until the end of the century when France recovered from the plague and the Philoxera arrived in Mallorca plunging the sector and in turn the island into a profound crisis. Almond, fig and Carob tree cultivation were the next to expand.

A slight industralization took place in the shape of small workshops that would become factories powered by steam engines. Production focused on textiles, transformation of agricultural products and later footwear.

Culturally it was the time of the Renaixança, a literary and cultural movement that demanded the recovery of the identity signs of the Mallorcan nation with language as the greatest exponent.

History of Mallorca - The 20th century

“La Restauración” and its elements were kept in force during the reign of Alfonso XIII until political and economic crisis led to the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera (1923-1930), which was seen as the way to solve the country’s problems. The dictatorship was no solution to those problems, which were made even worse by the crisis of 1929. It was substituted by the 2nd Republic which tried to implement a political, social and economic reform that clashed with sectors that were resistant to change and ended with a coup staged by Fascist General Franco in 1936 and the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). It was a prelude of the 2nd World War. Mallorca, which had been a rightwing stronghold during the Republic, took Franco’s side.It was the beginning of a dark repressive period for those who dissented against the fascist principles.

Franco’s victory in 1939 meant the establishment of a dictatorship that ended when the dictator died in 1975. It brought with it the loss of civil liberties, the disappearance of political parties and trade unions, centralization of power and the attempt to erase any national or cultural identity other than the Castilian culture imposed from Madrid. But the economic development in the 1960s and the ensuing social change created a clandestine social and political movement in rejection of the dictatorship. This movement played a significant role in the establishment of democracy and the recovery of self-government for Mallorca.

The agricultural changes introduced in the 19th century consolidated with the separation of land into plots, new commercial crops, the expansion of a new trade network and railway transportation. Industry became mechanized despite its ups and downs. They were small industries that employed a cheap labour force and were connected to the outside market. The most important industries were textile, footwear, food and agriculture and metallurgy. The consolidation of a capitalist economy reflected in the creation of a large number of financial institutions. The arrival of tourism already in the 1920s and 1930s was very important because it brought with it the building of the first hotels and housing development planning.

Spanish Civil War and the long postwar period meant a total stop to these activities. Agricultural production was given to the state, hunger and rationing spread and farmers had to turn to the black market and smuggling. Industry was intervened and tourism disappeared. Postwar blockade and isolation made it impossible for the Mallorcan industry to recover. It lacked raw materials and its market was closed. At the end of the 1950s the economic blockade was lifted and a period of prosperity ensued thanks to the tourism boom in the 1960s. Agriculture was no longer the main sector. It turned progressively into an almost testimonial activity. Industry lost weight except for the sectors linked to mass tourism, which turned Mallorca into the richest region in Spain. Tourism employs most of the working population and is the driving force in Mallorca.

From the 1960s Mallorca received a heavy wave of immigrants from the mainland. These residents of Castilian origin were difficult to integrate in a moment when Franco’s policies imposed Spanish and Castilian culture and supressed the language and culture of Mallorca.

Culturally the Renaixença had consolidated in the first third of the century and it was a significant period with architectural renovation based on the introduction of modernism and a golden age in literature with authors Costa i Llobera, Joan Alcover, Miquel dels Sants Oliver, mossèn Antoni Maria Alcover and many other artists that recovered part of our cultural heritage. It was all shattered by Franco’s repression and the attempt to erase all traces of national identity. Only a few figures, such as Llorenç Villalonga and Francesc de Borja Moll, stood out from the cultural uniformity of the first decades of Franco’s regime. They published in Catalan despite the persecution of the Mallorcan language, which was not present in education, civil service and at official levels.

History of Mallorca - The current period - the recovery of self-government

The Dictator Francisco Franco died on 20 November 1975 and the transition to democracy began. The first democratic elections were celebrated in 1977. The constitution that would rule the political system was passed in 1978.

The democratic process coincided with the progressive recovery of certain levels of self-government for the Balearics. After agreements and demonstrations demanding self-government, on June 1978 a pre-self-governing status was achieved with the creation of the Consell General Interinsular presided over by Jeroni Albertí. It was the embryo of the future Balearic Government and the insular councils. The Statute of Autonomy came into effect on 1983. Gabriel Canyelles was elected Balearic Regional President and Jeroní Albertí was chosen President of the Consell Insular de Mallorca in the first regional elections on 8 May 1983.

At present, Jaume Matas from the PP is President of the Balearic Government and Maria Antònia Munar from Unió Mallorquina is President of the Consell de Mallorca.

The oil crisis in 1973 that hit the European economy took its toll on the tourism of Mallorca. The crisis was overcome in the early 1980s with a sharp growth of mass tourism and therefore of Mallorcan economy. Agriculture, stockbreeding and fishing are marginal activities in the Mallorcan production system. The diversified industry of the mid century has disappeared progressively because it has not been able to compete with the wages paid in the service sector. Construction is the only dynamic subsector, since it has adapted to the demands of tourism and the infrastructures needed for its development. Mallorca benefits from an economic monoculture based on mass tourism. Although it has transformed our region into one of the most dynamic in Europe, it involves a series of negative consequences which have come to light in the latter years. Negative consequences such as land speculation, impact on the environment, social unbalance, external pressures on our culture and land, exhaustion of resources such as water, land, etc. Problems which our society has tried to solve in the last few years with different political measures to overcome this threat to the future of Mallorca.

After the death of Franco, there was an attempt to normalize the autoctonous culture promoting Mallorcan signs of identity that were repressed during the dictatoship, especially language. New crops of writers add their work to Catalan literature, theatre, music and rock in Catalan are moving forward, a new wave of painters and galleries have appeared and universally renowned artists have moved to Mallorca. Joan Miró stood out among the latter.

Category: Mallorca Life


How much' Leaving a small tip is customary, although the amount is up to you.
Where' In bars, restaurants and hotels.
Percentage' From 5-10% of the cost of food or drink.


In the event of an emergency, phone 112 and the Balearic Emergencies Service will attend to you in four languages (English, Catalan, Spanish and German). This Service co-ordinates all calls for ambulances, fire brigade and security forces through this telephone number to provide a rapid and effective response in whatsoever emergency.

Family pets

Those who wish to visit the Balearic Islands with their pets must check beforehand to see whether pets are permitted in the accommodation establishments they have chosen and the requirements they must comply with to enter Spain with pets. Furthermore, breeds considered dangerous must travel with a certificate. In any case, the general and specific norms on the use of leashes, muzzles and other applicable laws must be observed. In general, pets are not allowed in bars, restaurants, markets and public transport, except guide dogs. For further information, please consult the Tourism Office.

Opening times

• Business hours: Normal business hours are from 09.30 to13.30 hrs. and from 17.00 to 20.00 hrs. However, supermarkets and department stores are generally open from 9.30 to 21.30 hrs. These shopping centres are also open on certain public holidays.

• Entertainment Centres: Bars, pubs and discos are generally open almost all week until 03.00 or 4.00 hrs. in the morning and, at weekends, until the early hours of the morning.

Public holidays

• 1st January
• 6th January
• Maundy Thursday • Good Friday
• Easter Monday
• 1st May: Labour Day
• 15th August: Lady Day
• 12th October: Virgen del Pilar, Patron Saint of Spain
• 1st November: All Saints Day
• 6th December: Spanish Constitution Day.
• 8th December: Immaculate Conception
• 24th December: Christmas Eve
• 25th December: Christmas Day
• 26th December: St. Stephen's Day

The number of bank holidays and fiestas is decided on each year, although this list may change slightly.
Furthermore, each place has its own patron saint day. Please consult the Tourism Office.


As in the rest of Spain, the official currency is the Euro.

There are coins of: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, and coins of 1 and 2 Euros.

There are notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 y 500.

NOTE! Any amount in excess of 6,011 euros that enters or leaves Spain must be declared.


Electricity is, in general, 220 V., although you could find 125 V. on occasion.


Petrol Stations sell Unleaded gas (95 or 98 octane) and Diesel. In addition, many service stations also have a supermarket, restaurant, newsagent, etc.


Isidor Macabich, 45 - 1r
+34 971 315428
Fax: +34 971 301972

Click here to see a list of other Consulates on the Island

Duty Free Allowances

Goods obtained in Mallorca will already include VAT and the applicable duty. No additional VAT or Customs duty will be payable on entry into the UK. There is no limit to the amount of excise goods (such as tobacco or alcohol) you can bring into the UK, provided these are carried by you and are for your own use - which includes gifts. If you bring in goods for resale, or for any payment, even payment in kind, they are regarded as being for a commercial purpose.
If you bring back large quantities of alcohol or tobacco, a customs officer may ask you about the purposes for which you hold the goods. This particularly applies if you have with you more than the following amounts:

  • 3200 cigarette
  • 400 cigarillos
  • 200 cigars
  • 3kg smoking tobacco
  • 10 litres of spirits
  • 20 litres of fortified wine
  • 90 litres of wine
  • 110 litres of beer.

The officer will take into account all the factors of the situation and your explanation. If you are unable or you refuse to provide a satisfactory explanation the officer may well conclude that those goods are for commercial purposes and not for your own use.

If the officer is satisfied the goods are being brought into the UK for a commercial purpose, and are not for own use, the goods will be liable to seizure and may not be returned.
For the latest information please visit:-

Category: Mallorca Life

Mallorca Nightlife

Casco Antiguo

In Palma's Casco antiguo, the historical center with its charming narrow lanes, you will find a large number of pubs and fashionable locals. Also one eats very well here, so this is maybe the ideal place to start your tour through Palma's night life.

Paseo Marítimo

Paseo Marítimo offers elegant and sophisticated places, discotheques and locals with live performances of jazz, swing and blues. Zona Darsena Can Barbara is preferred by young visitors who want to dance. At Paseo Mallorca, in the very center of town, there are numerous elegant places and cocktail bars.

Zona de la Playa

The area of the beaches, is great fun for the young ones with its countless discotheques where you can dance until dawn.

Plaza Gomila

The locals at Plaza Gomila showcase the island's traditional style and are heavily visited as well. Another great area to enjoy.

Category: Mallorca Life