A brief recap of Menorca's History
Menorca and its History
It seems almost incredible, that such a small island could bear an History so dense and full of historical events. Thanks to its strategic position in the Mediterranen, Menorca has always been coveted as military base, a monitoring outpost or just a refuge. All the civilizations that have come through the island have left a legacy that still shows today.
Prehistoric Menorca - Pretalayotic and Talayotic Eras
Archaeological witnesses place the human presence on Menorca since the Bronze Age (2000 b.C.) even though the most famous and popular archaeological remains, date back to the 1400b.C., to what is known here as the Talayotic Era. Its most famous monuments, scattered on the island and still visible, were the talayots, taulas and navetas.
Phoenicians, Carthanginians, Romans and Muslims
It is well known that one of the firts civilizations to inhabit Meorca were the Phoenician, who named the island “Isle of Nura” (Isle of Fire). Then came the Greeks and their "Meloussa" , which meant "country of cattles".
In 205 b.C. Menorca was conquered by the Carthaginians, whose General Magón gave its name to the actual capital Mahon.
In 123 b.C. came the Romans, and for the first time in its History, Mennorca became a privileged outpost on the Mediterranean.The Romans called the island “Minórica”, and founded the first three cities: Mago (Mahón), Jamma (Ciutadella) and Sanisera (Sanitja).
After the decline of the Roman Empire, Menorca as the rest of Balearics was occupied by Byzantines and Vandals until the X Century, when the Muslims conquered the region with the Cordoba Emirate and the Taifa Reign of Denia.
Muslims remained on the island for four Centuries, during which their capital was Jamma (Ciutadella). The most representative muslim legacy, still appreciated today is, without doubt, the passion for horses. Actually the horses of Menorca are a blend between the arabic, the menorcan and the andalusian horses.
Menorca and the Reign of Mallorca and Aragon
King Alphons III conquered Menorca in 1287, adding it to the Reing of Mallorca. In 1434, after the defeat of the last King of Mallorca in Llucmajor, Menorca became part of the Reign of Aragon, as all other Balearics.
This was one of the worst period of Menorca's history, as during the XVI century the pirates incursions were unceasing. In 1535 Barbarossa devastated Mahon, killing more than 1000 citizens and captivating all others. Ciutadella lived an even worst fate when in 1558 was completely destroyed by the sackings of the Turks.
In 1708 began the British domination of the island, ratified by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, after the war for the Succession to the Throne of Spain. This domination, excluding a few years of French dominion, lasted almost a Century, and for this reason there are a lot of english details on the island's palaces and fortresses buildt during that period. During this period the Governor Kane proclaimed Mahon as the capital of the island.
Just in 1802, thanks to the Amiens Treaty, Menorca returned to be a part of Spain.
From XIX Century until today
During the XIX Centuy Menorca began to develop the industrialisation of naval construction and of the footwear sector.
Durin the Spanish Civil War, Meeorca stayed on the Republican side until 1939, when Nationalist Troops entered the island, but generally speaking, it didn't suffer much damages.
During the XX Century the footwear industry, the jewellery sector and tourism consolidate, changing considerably the island's way of life and its inhabitans.