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Mallorcan History

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History and Background Information on Mallorca:

The name of this larger Balearic Island is often the source of slight confusion, appearing to have two different names (Mallorca and Majorca).  The British spell it’s name “Majorca”, but it’s correct Spanish spelling is “Mallorca”, this results from the Spanish pronunciation, this makes it logical for British to spell the name as it sounds, hence “Majorca”.

The Balearic Islands were initially inhabited by a population who appear to have reached the islands from the Iberian Peninsula around 4000 BC. The islands were later occupied by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals and Byzantines. Mallorca was conquered in 707 – 708 AD by the Moors of North Africa, then in 1229 AD the Catalans defeated the Moors and on December 31st King Jaume I of Aragon was hailed as 'El Conqueridor'.

Through 1936-1939 (the Spanish Civil War), Mallorca and Menorca supported opposing sides - Mallorca supporting the Nationalists, and Menorca the Loyalists.

Since World War II, most significantly the development on the island has been tourism and has become the main economic activity. In 1950, Mallorca only had 100 registered hotels and boarding houses. By 1972 this had risen to over 1500. The pace of development increased, the number of tourists rose, and the Balearics now have one of the highest incomes per capita in Spain.

The island of Mallorca is the most popular destination for British holidaymakers, according to recent figures it attracts over 7 million tourists from across the world per year. Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands, it has a population of over 600,000 and covers an area of just over 1,000 square miles it. The island has a coastline measuring 340 miles, to date the coast serves as it’s main attraction; but increasingly the interior of the island is opening up and attracting more visitors exploring its diversity of mountainous regions, characteristic towns and villages, plus local village markets.

Mass tourism has led to certain parts of the island becoming highly developed and densely populated. Moves are well established to alter the island's image, these include the refurbishment and restoration of the old town in Palma, imposing building restrictions on hotels across the island, converting agricultural buildings and manor houses into tourist accommodation, and maintaining the entire coastline open for public access by preventing any private ownership.

Due to problems Mallorca has making money from agriculture, the government encourages owners to turn their farmhouses into holiday accommodation, this has led to the creation of the “Association of Agro Tourism”, which was set up 10 years ago. Tight rules govern whether a property can be considered for ‘agro’ or ‘rural’ tourism, the main consideration is the property must have been involved in making a living from agriculture, whereas for Tourism Rural, it can be a converted manor house, other criteria relates to size.

Away from main resorts, it can sometimes feel like you are on a completely different island. The landscape is filled with citrus groves, almond trees, pine forests and mountain ranges. As well as being spectacularly beautiful, the interior is where the magic of authentic Mallorca can be found. 

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