History of Palma De Mallorca

Mother Earth Travel > Spain > Palma De Mallorca > History

If we travel back to prehistoric times in Mallorca, there are numerous remains from a primitive population that lived in the Bronze Age. The talaiots or funeral monuments, of which the visitor can see more than one example during his trips round the island, are testimony to this. Later a range of civilizations established colonies on the island of Mallorca: Iberians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians.

The Balearics were also under Roman rule but, in spite of the fact that they founded small towns such as Alcudia ' in the North of the island ' there are not many Roman momentos here. After these colonials the Vandals arrived, then the Phoenicians and finally in the 9th century the Islamic muslims, who took power of the archipelago and took orders from the 'Califato' of Córdoba first and then the kingdom of Denia. This went on until the governor of Amortadha declared them independent. The Arab occupation lasted nearly 5 centuries. However, in terms of monuments they didn't leave any significant remains, apart from the Castell del Rei, near to Pollenca, a part of the walls of Alcudia and the the arab baths of Palma, that date from the 10th century and in which you can appreciate the existence of a sophisticated urban life. But the most significant Arab legacy is in the customs that have been preserved throughout the years, such as the concept of habitat, the art of embroidery, the technology and the pictures imprinted on the ceramics or the forgery, as well as in the place names such as Binissalem.

The Arab domination finished with the conquest of Jaime I, the Conqueror, which was a key part of the island's history. In the city of Palma this monarch founded the Christian kingdom of Mallorca. This kingdom resulted in successive battles, with the occupation of the island by the troops of Alfonso III of Aragón, fighting against Jaime II of Mallorca. The kingdom of Mallorca was united with the kingdom of Aragón first and then with the Spanish monarchy with the accession to the throne of Fernando of Aragón and Isabel of Castilla, the popular Reyes Católicos.

From that moment onwards the history of the Balearics is mixed with that of Spain, with the internal events being the battles that effected the peasants and the middles classes in the 15th century, the spread of diseases such as cholera, the plague and yellow fever or the pirate raids. As far as the 20th century is concerned it is worth mentioning that Mallorca, which has always been a first rate military base, fell into line with the Movement and Franco.

Any historical tour should include some reference to the famous people that have left their footprints on Mallorca and contributed to the reputation of the island as a bohemian haunt, such as the famous composer Chopin or the poet Rubén Darío, among others. But above all it should include art, some of the oldest examples of which we have already mentioned. In this sense it is necessary to name the many churches and public monuments in the Gothic style, among these those that stand out are the Cathedral and La Lonja in Palma. As for the Renaissance, and in particularly the architectural style known as plateresque, the most interesting example of this is the portico of San Jerónimo, which is also found in the capital of Palma.

In the olden days Mallorca was also known for its muslim ceramics from Inca, especially the large plates varnished on one side and blue in colour. To see these magnificent works of art, and many others, visitors should not miss a trip to Musem of Mallorca located in the Casco Antiguo of Palma. In terms of painting the altarpieces of the 14th and 15th centuries stand out, these are majestic works that show minute detail.