Palma de Majorca, Balearic Islands » City Info » History

Palma has a very interesting history which has led it to be the prosperous city it is today.

Palma de Mallorca was established as a Roman camp upon the remains of a Talaiotic settlement. During the fall of Roman Empire, this unstable city went through several Vandal sackings. After the Roman period, it was first under the rule of the Byzantines and then the Moors. Lastly, the city was conquered by James I of Aragon On December 31, 1229.

James I of Aragon renamed the city as Palma de Mallorca. Also, it was the capital of the Kingdom of Mallorca. A municipality was founded which was governed by the University of the City and the Kingdom of Mallorca.

Palma was the joint capital of the Kingdom of Mallorca and Perpignan after the death of James I of Aragon. The son of James I of Aragon, James II of Mallorca constructed plenty of statues and monuments in the city. The construction of Bellver Castle, the churches of St. Francesc and St. Domingo and reformation of the Palace of Almudaina were completed during his period. James II also started the construction of the Cathedral of Mallorca.

The beginning of 16th century brought instability to the city. The commercial activities were reduced because of the Rebellion of the Brotherhoods, with frequent attacks from Turkish and Berber pirates. This instability lasted till the end of the 17th century. During this severe period, the city was divided into two sides namely Canamunts and Canavalls, with an impact on social and economical status of the city.

In 1714, after the fall of Barcelona, the Spanish succession war ended and it was also the end of the Crown of Aragon. The city was then separated from the government of the island and it was established as Palma de Mallorca, which became its official name.

In the 18th century, the interdiction of commerce with Spanish colonies in America and the port were removed by Charles III of Spain and the commercial activities of the Palma de Mallorca again started to flourish. At the beginning of 19th century, the city became a safe place for the people who exiled themselves from the Napoleonic occupation of Catalonia and Valencia. In 1833, Palma became the capital of the new province of the Balearic Islands. In the 19th century, the city experienced economic growth with the expansion of new maritime lines and an increase in the population.

The mass tourism trade, which started since 1950, caused Palma and the rest of the island to go through some drastic changes. It became the top destination for tourists and new workers from mainland Spain. This tourism wave carried with it economic growth and high employment.

In 1983 the Balearic Islands became one of Spain's autonomous regions, with Palma de Mallorca its capital. Now Palma is a popular tourist destination. Every year, thousands of tourists visit Palma. The islanders now enjoy the highest standard of living in Spain with a very relaxed atmosphere.