• The Christian conquest and modern era (13th to 18th centuries) The Christian conquest and modern era (13th to 18th centuries)

    The Christian conquest of Mallorca in 1229, with the arrival of King Jaime I of Aragon (the Conqueror), led to the introduction of a European feudal system in the Moslem countryside and an end to the fragmented possession of farm holdings. Instead agricultural land became concentrated in the hands of the aristocracy, with the creation of rural estates called possessions. Once the island had been conquered, its land and properties were shared out among all the participants in the conquest: King J [...]

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CULTURAL LANDSCAPE

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An end to autarky (19th and 20th centuries

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The most noteworthy characteristic from the 18th century on was no doubt the end of Mallorca's traditional autarky, when the island began to form part of Spanish trade networks mainly to America. This led to technical improvements, the development of a manufacturing industry, and imports of food supplies. During a second phase, between the second half of the 19th century and first half of the 20th, there was the biggest boom in agricultural and industrial development. This was when the industrial economy first started to take over from the traditional agricultural sector. During a third phase, from the second half of the 20th century, tourism was introduced in a big way, the basis of the island's current growth, with the integration of the Balearics into the world economy.

In more contemporary times, the Tramuntana area has continued to have an essentially rural society. The seizure of Church property in the 19th century, with much of it passing to the State, brought about the emergence of owners of small-sized rural or urban properties. As a result mountain farming reached a peak in production, because changes in the system of ownership brought about an increase in production and a change in society, with a growth in small holdings that still exist in areas in the Sóller valley. Despite this, there were still big differences between different parts of the Tramuntana, and large estates – in the hands of the aristocracy – remained intact until the late 19th century. There continued to be a predominance of traditional crops. (That is, grain on the plain and olives in the mountains). At the same time, there was a growth in existing minority crops, like almonds, carob trees, figs, citrus fruit and vines, which gained in importance due to the intensification of trade with America.

In the 19th century, the number of island municipalities rose, following their emancipation brought about by the liberal laws of the 1930s. Fornalutx separated from Sóller and Deià separated from Valldemossa. In the same century, the traditional landscapes and features of Mallorca's mountains began to become known to outsiders, following visits by numerous Romantic travellers, attracted to Mallorca by its beauty and the conservation of its scenic and cultural values. One outstanding example is Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria. He first came to Mallorca in 1867 and, shortly afterwards, he settled on the island with homes in Deià and Valldemossa, buying ten different estates like Son Marroig, Miramar, Son Moragues and s'Estaca, many with superb views of the Mediterranean sea.

The Tramuntana area was visited by other travellers, artists and naturalists from Europe and the Iberian Peninsula, like Isidoro Antillon, George Sand, Frédéric Chopin, Joseph Tarongí, Santiago Rusiñol and Jerónimo de Berard, among many others. All of them highlighted the natural virtues of the landscapes they discovered and sometimes they portrayed a society and economic system anchored in tradition.

The 20th century also generated social, economic and spatial change in Mallorca, also noticeable in the Tramuntana area, although in this case the effects are not as clear as in other parts of the island. Tourism began in the early 20th century and mountain areas were one of the first main destinations. In the 1920s, combined with the promotion of tourism, hiking attracted tourists to the Tramuntana area. The Fomento de Turismo (Tourist Board) and Asociación para la Cultura de Mallorca (Association for Mallorcan Culture) were created, organizing outings to places like Lluc, Torrente de Pareis and Galatzó.

From 1960, there was a sudden emergence of mass tourism and very soon agriculture just came to occupy a marginal proportion of the economy compared with the service sector, with all the social and cultural changes that this entails. Even so, the towns and villages of the Tramuntana area at a distance from the sea and its beaches were not affected by the tourism phenomenon. This also had repercussions on the physical image of the Tramuntana area, which is generally well conserved, although there has been a growth in residential and recreational uses.