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The Balearic Islands are a Spanish archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The climate on these islands is subtropical. The archipelago consists of four large islands, namely Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza, and Formentera, and numerous smaller islands. The Balearic Islands are an autonomous province of Spain, with the administrative center of Palma de Mallorca (“The History of Balearic Islands”).
History of the Balearic Islands
The Balearic Islands are believed to be settled by humans in around 5000 BC and served as a trading port for Phoenicians. In 654 BC, Ibiza City was founded by Carthaginians. Then, these islands continued to serve as trading ports, first for the Romans, who were later ousted by the Visigoths, and then for the Muslims. In 1229, the Christian Reconquista took Palma de Mallorca, and, by 1287, all the islands were under its control (“The History of Balearic Islands”).
The Balearic Islands underwent difficult times in the 15th century. They were isolated from the mainland, and the people suffered famines and pirate raids. After the Spanish War of Succession, in 1715, the islands were occupied by the Bourbon monarchy. Menorca was given to the British, where they ruled until 1802. Then, the French occupied the islands, but soon the Spanish reclaimed them (“Balearic Islands: History”).
The Balearic Culture
The Balearic Islands have a lot of historical monuments which were built there during its long and versatile history. Thus, there are many medieval fortresses, gothic buildings, and renaissance places that are spread all over the islands. Apart from the architecture, a lot of different exhibitions, festivals, theater spectacles, and other activities that represent the local culture take place throughout the year (“Majorca, Art, and Culture by the Sea”).
The Balearic Cuisine
The Balearic cuisine is part of Catalan cuisine, as it shares many dishes and ingredients with Valencia and Catalonia. The traditional Balearic cuisine consists mostly of cereal, vegetables, and legumes, and it is also low in fats. Traditional Balearic dishes are seafood, estimates, vegetable stews, coques, Maó cheese, sobrassada, tombet, and wine (“Top Foods to Try in the Balearic Islands”).
An Interesting Fact
One of the Balearic Islands, namely Menorca, is the homeland of mayonnaise. Mayonnaise was created in the town of Mahon (pronounced ‘mayon’) in the middle of the 18th century during the French occupation. Menorcans preserved the original recipe of mayonnaise consisting of garlic, olive oil, and eggs and currently use it (Fry).
“Balearic Islands: History.” All about Spain, 2017, Web.
Fry, Lucy. “10 Things You Might not Know about Menorca.” The Telegraph, 2016, Web.
“Majorca, Art and Culture by the Sea.” Tourism in Spain, 2017, Web.
“The History of Balearic Islands.” Lonely Planet, 2016, Web.
“Top Foods to Try in the Balearic Islands.” Expatica, 2016, Web.