Minorca, Balearic island » City Info » History

Minorca (or Menorca) island has encountered many invasions, which have led to its rich history, representing many different cultures.

Minorca's strategic geographical location in the western Mediterranean is a staging point for different cultures from prehistoric times to more recent times. It is famous for its extensive collection of megalithic stone monuments that tell the story of a very early prehistoric human activity.

Minorca came under the control of the Romans by 121BC, and around 13BC, it became part of Tarraconensis imperial province. After the Roman era, the island experienced various ups and downs. Vandals occupied Minorca in the 5th century. After the Moors arrived, and around 903, it was under the control of the Caliphate of Cordoba. When the Christian forces regained Majorca, Minorca became an independent Islamic state. On January 17, 1287, Alfonso III re-conquered the island. This day is celebrated as Minorca's national day. It remained part of the Kingdom of Majorca until 1343. Though, in the 16th century, it was destroyed by Turkish naval attacks.

Minorca came under British possession in 1708 during the War of the Spanish Succession. During this period, the capital moved to Mahon from Ciutadella. They developed a naval base established in the town's harbour. Minorca was under British rule for one hundred years with some short periods of French and Spanish command. Mao became a free port and adopted a cosmopolitan culture due to the continuous arrival of foreign armies in the 19th and 20th centuries.

In the French Revolutionary Wars, Minorca became part of Spain by the Treaty of Amiens in 1802. When the other Balearic Islands supported the Nationalists, the island stayed loyal to the Republican Spanish government. After the victory of the Nationalists in 1939, the British navy peacefully transferred the power to Minorca.

Today, Minorca is one of the most popular tourist destinations and a place for Roman and Muslim remains, Paleochristian church structures, British architecture, and even buildings decorated with modernist details.