Balearic Islands, Spanish Islas Baleares, Catalan Illes Balears, archipelago in the western Mediterranean, at the same time Spanish autonomous region and province (Baleares), 4,992 km 2 in size, (2020) 1.2 million residents; The capital is Palma de Mallorca.
The group consists of Mallorca, Menorca, Cabrera, Ibiza and Formentera (the last two and some smaller islands are also summarized as pityuses) as well as many small rocky islands.
Geologically and tectonically, the archipelago is the continuation of the Betic Cordillera. However, the islands are predominantly hilly in character; 85% of their area is less than 200 m above sea level. The highest point is the Puig Major (1,445 m above sea level) on Mallorca. The climate is Mediterranean. The maximum annual rainfall (350-580 mm) falls in late autumn.
The residents speak a Catalan dialect. In the lower elevations, citrus fruits and tomatoes (irrigation) as well as fruit trees (almonds, apricots) and wine are grown, in the middle altitudes olives, carob and oats. Pig fattening is carried out in the holm oak forests and the maquis of the mountainous region. The main branch of the economy is tourism with over 10 million foreign visitors a year (mainly Germans and British).
The Balearic Islands were probably settled from the Iberian Peninsula in the late Neolithic (Copper Age; 3rd millennium BC). Remains from this time (and partly from the early Bronze Age) are the Navetas (Catalan “little boat”), megalithic grave and cult structures, named after their ship-shaped shape. The oldest metal finds (flat axes and ring neck collars made of copper and bronze) date from the same time as the megalithic buildings on the islands. A separate culture (Balearic culture) developed in the late Bronze Age; typical for this are the talayots (Arabic for “guardians”, hence the name talayot culture), tower-like stone buildings, of which there are over 1,000 on Mallorca and more than 300 on Menorca; the nuraghi there correspond to them in Sardinia. Taulas (tables), Up to 4 m high stone blocks with a horizontal stone slab are so far only known from Menorca. The prehistoric Balearic culture extended into the Iron Age (3rd century BC), in some cases into the Roman period.
The Balearic Islands were visited early on by Phoenician and Greek sailors; they stood until 201 BC. Under Carthaginian rule and were 123 BC. Conquered by the Romans under consul Q. Caecilius Metellus (Balearicus), who also founded Palma and Pollentia (ruins near Alcúdia). During the migration period, the Balearic Islands were ruled one after the other by Vandals, Visigoths, Eastern Romans and Franks, and finally in 903 (after attempts at conquest in the 8th and 9th centuries) by the Arabs. Jacob I. of Catalonia-Aragon recaptured the islands in 1229-35 (with the exception of Menorca, which remained Arabic until 1287) and left them to a younger son in 1262 as part of the independent kingdom of Mallorca, which also included Cerdaña, Roussillon and Montpellier, his capital was Perpignan; It was not until 1348 that Peter IV reunited with the Crown of Aragon. Menorca was British from 1708–56, 1763–82, and 1798–1802. After the Franco dictatorship, the Balearic Islands were given a statute of autonomy as part of the democratization process, which came into force in March 1983.
Menorca, easternmost island of the Balearic Islands, Spain, 695 km 2, 82,900 residents. The north-east and east of the island is covered by a hilly country that reaches 357 m above sea level in the table mountain of El Toro.A low plateau is in front of this hill country to the west and south-west. Only the coasts in the north and east are more subdivided by rias and bays. – Compared to the rest of the Balearic Islands, the climate is characterized by the particularly strong, cool “Tramontana” (wind from the north-north-west and north-north-east), which is particularly strong in winter and spring, and is less mild. The annual mean rainfall is between 200 mm in the north and around 800 mm in the south, with a three-month summer dry season. The mean January temperature is 10–11 ° C, the mean August temperature 24–25 ° C. – Macchie and Garigue cover most of the island, forest only occurs to a small extent in the north-eastern hill country. – The main branch of the economy is agriculture (cultivation of wheat, barley, potatoes, vegetables and fodder beet; also viticulture); Irrigation agriculture in the area around the cities of Maó (Mahón) and Ciutadella de Menorca; Cattle farming. Tourism (beaches). – To the History of the Balearic Islands.
Barcelona [ barsə l ɔ na ], capital of Catalonia and second largest (2020) 1.7 million residents city of Spain.
Barcelona has two universities and is a major commercial and industrial center due to its convenient transport location. Noteworthy are the Gothic cathedral and the Gothic town hall, as well as the buildings designed by Antonio Gaudí (best known is the still unfinished church “La Sagrada Família”, which was started in 1884).
In 1992 Barcelona hosted the Summer Olympics.