Minorca
Overview
 
Min Orca or Menorca is one of the Balearic Islands
Balearic Islands
The Balearic Islands are an archipelago of Spain in the western Mediterranean Sea, near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula.The four largest islands are: Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera. The archipelago forms an autonomous community and a province of Spain with Palma as the capital...

 located in the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 belonging to Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. It takes its name from being smaller than the nearby island of Majorca.

Minorca has a population of approximately 94,383 (2010). It is located 39°47' to 40°00'N, 3°52' to 4°24'E. Its highest point, called El Toro
El Toro (Menorca)
El Toro in Catalan or Monte Toro in Spanish is the tallest hill of the island of Minorca with of altitude.The mountain is home to a rather famous church which remains silent for most of the year, as well as a cafe which serves light snacks, lunches, and cold drinks which are great for a Spanish...

 or Monte Toro, is 358 m/1174 ft above sea level
Above mean sea level
The term above mean sea level refers to the elevation or altitude of any object, relative to the average sea level datum. AMSL is used extensively in radio by engineers to determine the coverage area a station will be able to reach...

.
The island is known for its collection of megalithic stone monuments: navetes
Naveta
A naveta is a megalithic chamber tomb unique to the Balearic island of Minorca. It dates to the early Bronze Age.It has two vertical and two corbelled walls giving it the form of an upturned boat which is where the name comes from....

, taules
Taula
A taula is a T-shaped stone monument found on the Balearic island of Minorca. Taulas can be up to 3.7 metres high and consist of a vertical pillar with a horizontal stone lying on it...

 and talaiot
Talaiot
The talaiots, or talayots, are Bronze Age megaliths on the islands of Minorca and Majorca forming part of the Talaiotic Culture or Talaiotic Period. They date from the late second millennium and early first millennium BC. There are at least 274 of them, in, near, or related to Talaiotic settlements...

s
, which speak of a very early prehistoric human activity.
Encyclopedia
Min Orca or Menorca is one of the Balearic Islands
Balearic Islands
The Balearic Islands are an archipelago of Spain in the western Mediterranean Sea, near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula.The four largest islands are: Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera. The archipelago forms an autonomous community and a province of Spain with Palma as the capital...

 located in the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 belonging to Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. It takes its name from being smaller than the nearby island of Majorca.

Minorca has a population of approximately 94,383 (2010). It is located 39°47' to 40°00'N, 3°52' to 4°24'E. Its highest point, called El Toro
El Toro (Menorca)
El Toro in Catalan or Monte Toro in Spanish is the tallest hill of the island of Minorca with of altitude.The mountain is home to a rather famous church which remains silent for most of the year, as well as a cafe which serves light snacks, lunches, and cold drinks which are great for a Spanish...

 or Monte Toro, is 358 m/1174 ft above sea level
Above mean sea level
The term above mean sea level refers to the elevation or altitude of any object, relative to the average sea level datum. AMSL is used extensively in radio by engineers to determine the coverage area a station will be able to reach...

.

History

The island is known for its collection of megalithic stone monuments: navetes
Naveta
A naveta is a megalithic chamber tomb unique to the Balearic island of Minorca. It dates to the early Bronze Age.It has two vertical and two corbelled walls giving it the form of an upturned boat which is where the name comes from....

, taules
Taula
A taula is a T-shaped stone monument found on the Balearic island of Minorca. Taulas can be up to 3.7 metres high and consist of a vertical pillar with a horizontal stone lying on it...

 and talaiot
Talaiot
The talaiots, or talayots, are Bronze Age megaliths on the islands of Minorca and Majorca forming part of the Talaiotic Culture or Talaiotic Period. They date from the late second millennium and early first millennium BC. There are at least 274 of them, in, near, or related to Talaiotic settlements...

s
, which speak of a very early prehistoric human activity. Some of the earliest culture on Minorca was influenced by other Mediterranean cultures, including the Minoan
Minoan civilization
The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that arose on the island of Crete and flourished from approximately the 27th century BC to the 15th century BC. It was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of the British archaeologist Arthur Evans...

s of ancient Crete
Ancient Crete
The term Ancient Crete refers to the civilization that existed on the island of Crete, just south of Greece, in the Mediterranean Sea. From around 3000–1100 B.C., inhabitants known as Minoans controlled the island of Crete and ruled the island autonomously...

. For example the use of inverted plastered timber columns at Knossos
Knossos
Knossos , also known as Labyrinth, or Knossos Palace, is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and probably the ceremonial and political centre of the Minoan civilization and culture. The palace appears as a maze of workrooms, living spaces, and store rooms close to a central square...

 is thought to have influenced early peoples of Minorca in imitating this practice.

The end of the Punic wars
Punic Wars
The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and Carthage from 264 B.C.E. to 146 B.C.E. At the time, they were probably the largest wars that had ever taken place...

 saw an increase in piracy in the western Mediterranean. The Roman
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 occupation of Hispania
Hispania
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....

 had meant a growth of maritime trade between the Iberian
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 and Italian peninsula
Italian Peninsula
The Italian Peninsula or Apennine Peninsula is one of the three large peninsulas of Southern Europe , spanning from the Po Valley in the north to the central Mediterranean Sea in the south. The peninsula's shape gives it the nickname Lo Stivale...

s. Pirates took advantage of the strategic location of the Balearic Islands to raid Roman commerce, using both Minorca and Majorca as bases. In reaction to this, the Romans invaded Minorca
Invasion of Minorca
The island of Minorca in the Mediterranean Sea has been invaded on numerous occasions. The first recorded invasion occurred in 252 BC, when the Carthaginians arrived. The name of the island's chief city, Mahón , appears to derive from their language, Punic...

. By 121 BC both islands were fully under Roman control, later being incorporated into the province of Hispania Citerior
Hispania Citerior
During the Roman Republic, Hispania Citerior was a region of Hispania roughly occupying the northeastern coast and the Ebro Valley of what is now Spain. Hispania Ulterior was located west of Hispania Citerior—that is, farther away from Rome.-External links:*...

.

In 13 BC Roman emperor Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 reorganized the provincial system and the Balearic Islands became part of the Tarraconensis imperial province. The ancient town of Mago was transformed from a Carthaginian town to a Roman town.

Jews of Minorca

The island had a large Jewish population. The Letter on the Conversion of the Jews by a fifth century bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 named Severus tells of the conversion
Religious conversion
Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religion that differs from the convert's previous religion. Changing from one denomination to another within the same religion is usually described as reaffiliation rather than conversion.People convert to a different religion for various reasons,...

 of the island's Jewish
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 community in AD 418. A number of Jews, including Theodore, a rich representative Jew who stood high in the estimation of his coreligionists and of Christians alike, underwent baptism. The act of conversion brought about, in fact, within a previously peaceful coexisting community by means of the expulsion of the ruling Jewish elite into the bleak hinterlands, the burning of synagogues, and the gradual reinstatement of certain Jewish families after the coerced acceptance of Christianity and its supremacy and rule in order to allow survival for those who had not already perished. Many Jews remained within the Jewish faith while outwardly professing Christian faith. Some of these Jews form part of the Xueta
Xueta
The Xuetes , were a social group on the island of Majorca, descendants of Majorcan Jews who either converted to Christianity or were forced to keep their religion hidden...

 community.

When Minorca became an English possession in 1713, the English willingly proffered an asylum to thousands of Jews from African cities. A synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

 was soon erected in Mahon.

Vandals and Moors

The Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

 easily conquered the island in the 5th century. The Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 recovered it in 534. Following the Moorish
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

 conquest of peninsular Spain, Minorca was annexed to the Caliphate of Córdoba
Caliphate of Córdoba
The Caliphate of Córdoba ruled the Iberian peninsula and part of North Africa, from the city of Córdoba, from 929 to 1031. This period was characterized by remarkable success in trade and culture; many of the masterpieces of Islamic Iberia were constructed in this period, including the famous...

 in 903 and given the Arabicized name of Manûrqa
Manûrqa
Manûrqa was the Arabicized name given to the island of Minorca by the Muslims from its annexation to the Caliphate of Cordoba by 'Isâm al-Khawlânî in 903 until the rule of the last Muslim ra'îs, Abû 'Umar ibn Sa'îd in 1287. The only urban centre of the island was Madînat al Jazîra or al Manûrqa...

, with many Moors emigrating to the island. In 1231, after Christian forces reconquered Majorca, Minorca chose to become an independent Islamic state, albeit one tributary to King James I of Aragon
James I of Aragon
James I the Conqueror was the King of Aragon, Count of Barcelona, and Lord of Montpellier from 1213 to 1276...

. The island was ruled first by Abû 'Uthmân Sa'îd Hakam al Qurashi (1234–1282), and following his death by his son, Abû 'Umar ibn Sa'îd
Abû 'Umar ibn Sa'îd
Abû ‘Umar ibn Sa’îd was son of Abû 'Uthmân Sa'îd ibn Hakam al Qurashi and last ra’îs of Manûrqa .In his first year in government, King Peter III of Aragon and his fleet stopped by Manurqa on their way to the city of Constantine...

 (1282–1287). An Aragonese invasion, led by Alfonso III
Alfonso III of Aragon
Alfonso III , called the Liberal or the Free , was the King of Aragon and Count of Barcelona from 1285...

, came on 17 January 1287; its anniversary is now celebrated as Minorca's national day. Some of the Muslim inhabitants of the island were enslaved and sold in the slave markets of Ibiza
Ibiza
Ibiza or Eivissa is a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea 79 km off the coast of the city of Valencia in Spain. It is the third largest of the Balearic Islands, an autonomous community of Spain. With Formentera, it is one of the two Pine Islands or Pityuses. Its largest cities are Ibiza...

, Valencia
Valencia (city in Spain)
Valencia or València is the capital and most populous city of the autonomous community of Valencia and the third largest city in Spain, with a population of 809,267 in 2010. It is the 15th-most populous municipality in the European Union...

 and Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

, while others became Christians.

Until 1344 the island was part of the Kingdom of Majorca
Kingdom of Majorca
The Kingdom of Majorca was founded by James I of Aragon, also known as James The Conqueror. After the death of his first-born son Alfonso, a will was written in 1262 which created the kingdom in order to cede it to his son James...

, also an Aragonese vassal state, which was itself annexed to Aragon, and subsequently to the Unified Kingdom of Spain. During the 16th century, Turkish
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 naval attacks destroyed Maó
Mao
, is a Japanese remake of the Korean suspense drama series titled Ma Wang which aired on KBS 2TV in 2007. The drama stars Satoshi Ohno of Arashi and Toma Ikuta, both under the talent agency Johnny & Associates.-Synopsis:...

, and the then capital, Ciutadella
Ciutadella
Ciutadella de Menorca or simply Ciutadella is a town and a municipality in the western end of Minorca, one of the Balearic Islands . The name means "citadel". It is one of the two main cities in the island, along with Maó.-History:...

, before Turkish settlement took place on some of the island.

British century

Invaded by Britain's Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 in 1708 during the War of the Spanish Succession
War of the Spanish Succession
The War of the Spanish Succession was fought among several European powers, including a divided Spain, over the possible unification of the Kingdoms of Spain and France under one Bourbon monarch. As France and Spain were among the most powerful states of Europe, such a unification would have...

, Minorca became temporarily a British possession. Great Britain took possession in 1713 under the terms of the Article XI of the Treaty of Utrecht
Treaty of Utrecht
The Treaty of Utrecht, which established the Peace of Utrecht, comprises a series of individual peace treaties, rather than a single document, signed by the belligerents in the War of Spanish Succession, in the Dutch city of Utrecht in March and April 1713...

. Under the governorship of General Richard Kane
Richard Kane
Brigadier General Richard Kane was a British Army General.-Origins:Born to Thomas O'Cahan and his wife, Margaret Dobbin, at his mother's home in Duneane, County Antrim, Ireland, in December 1662...

, this period saw the island's capital moved to Port Mahon
Mahon
Mahón is a municipality and the capital city of the Balearic Island of Minorca , located in the eastern part of the island. Mahon has the second deepest natural harbor in the world: 5 km long and up to 900m. wide...

, and a naval base
Naval base
A naval base is a military base, where warships and naval ships are deployed when they have no mission at sea or want to restock. Usually ships may also perform some minor repairs. Some naval bases are temporary homes to aircraft that usually stay on the ships but are undergoing maintenance while...

 established in that town's harbour.

During the Seven Years' War
Seven Years' War
The Seven Years' War was a global military war between 1756 and 1763, involving most of the great powers of the time and affecting Europe, North America, Central America, the West African coast, India, and the Philippines...

, however, Spain regained the island in 1756 after the battle of Minorca. British resistance persisted at Port Mahon, but the garrison was forced to capitulate under honourable terms, including free passage back to Britain, on 29 June of that same year. Thanks to the Treaty of Paris (1763)
Treaty of Paris (1763)
The Treaty of Paris, often called the Peace of Paris, or the Treaty of 1763, was signed on 10 February 1763, by the kingdoms of Great Britain, France and Spain, with Portugal in agreement. It ended the French and Indian War/Seven Years' War...

, however, the British returned to the island again following Britain's victory in the Seven Years War
Great Britain in the Seven Years War
The Kingdom of Great Britain was one of the major participants in the Seven Years' War which lasted between 1756 and 1763. Britain emerged from the war as the world's leading colonial power having gained a number of new territories at the Treaty of Paris in 1763 and established itself as the...

. During the American War of Independence, the British were defeated for a second time, in this instance by a combination of French and Spanish forces, which regained the island after a long siege of St. Philip's Castle
St. Philip's Castle
St. Philip's Castle was a fortress guarding the entrance to the port of Mahón...

 in Port Mahon on 5 February 1782. The British ceded the island back to Spain the next year in the Treaty of Versailles. Minorca was invaded by the British once again in 1798, during the French Revolutionary Wars
French Revolutionary Wars
The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of major conflicts, from 1792 until 1802, fought between the French Revolutionary government and several European states...

, but it was finally and permanently repossessed by Spain by the terms of the Treaty of Amiens
Treaty of Amiens
The Treaty of Amiens temporarily ended hostilities between the French Republic and the United Kingdom during the French Revolutionary Wars. It was signed in the city of Amiens on 25 March 1802 , by Joseph Bonaparte and the Marquess Cornwallis as a "Definitive Treaty of Peace"...

 in 1802. The British influence can still be seen in local architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

 with elements such as sash windows.

As the rest of the Balearic Islands
Balearic Islands
The Balearic Islands are an archipelago of Spain in the western Mediterranean Sea, near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula.The four largest islands are: Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera. The archipelago forms an autonomous community and a province of Spain with Palma as the capital...

, Minorca was not occupied by the French during the Peninsular War
Peninsular War
The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

, as it was successfully protected by the British Navy, this time allied to Spain.

Modern era

During the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

, Minorca stayed loyal to the Republican Spanish Government
Second Spanish Republic
The Second Spanish Republic was the government of Spain between April 14 1931, and its destruction by a military rebellion, led by General Francisco Franco....

, while the rest of the Balearic Islands supported the Nationalists. It did not see combat, except for aerial bombing by the Italians of Corpo Truppe Volontarie
Corpo Truppe Volontarie
The Corps of Volunteer Troops was an Italian expeditionary force which was sent to Spain to support General Francisco Franco and the Spanish Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War...

 Air Force. Many Minorcans were also killed when taking part in a failed invasion of Majorca. Also some Majorcans and a priest were executed in Minorca during Pedro Marqués Barber era (July–December 1936). After the Nationalist victory in 1939, the British Navy assisted in a peaceful transfer of power in Minorca and the evacuation of some political refugees aboard .

In October 1993, Minorca was designated by UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 as a biosphere reserve
Biosphere reserve
The Man and the Biosphere Programme of UNESCO was established in 1971 to promote interdisciplinary approaches to management, research and education in ecosystem conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.-Development:...

. In July 2005, the island's application to become the 25th member of the International Island Games Association
International Island Games Association
The International Island Games Association is an organisation the sole purpose of which is to organise the Island Games, a friendly biennial athletic competition between teams from several European islands and other small territories. The IGA liaises with the member island associations and with...

 was approved.

Climate

Culture

The location of Minorca in the middle of the western Mediterranean was a staging point for the different cultures since prehistoric times. This Balearic Island has a mix of colonial and local architecture.

The fiestas take place throughout the summer in different towns around the island, and have their origins in the early 14th century. The international opera week and international organ festival in Mahon and, the summer music festival and Capella Davidica concerts in Ciutadella are the main events of the island.

Minorca’s cuisine is dominated by the Mediterranean diet which is known to be very healthful. Whilst many of the locals have adopted modern attitudes they still uphold certain old traditions like chivalry, courtesy and, of course, hospitality.

Traditional celebrations

Minorca is especially well known for its traditional summer fiestas, which intrigue many visitors. The 'Festes de Sant Joan' is held annually in Ciutadella. The festes lasts for three days. On the first day, a man bears a well-groomed sheep upon his shoulders and parades around the local streets. In the late evening, main streets are closed and bonfires held upon them.

On the second day, locally bred black horses are the star of the show. Dressed up for the occasion with ribbons and rosettes. The riders, or caixers, ride the horses through the streets and encourage them, along with a tumultuous crowd of people, to rear up on their hind legs. The brave can be found running underneath them as they do so.

The third day sees intense competition between the riders in a harmless form of jousting that involves spearing a suspended ring with a lance at considerable speed. The festes is brought to a close with a firework display.

Language

The two official languages are Catalan and Spanish. Natives to the island speak the variety of Catalan
Catalan language
Catalan is a Romance language, the national and only official language of Andorra and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian , as well as in the city of Alghero, on the Italian island...

 called Menorquí, and they typically speak Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 fluently as a second language
Second language
A second language or L2 is any language learned after the first language or mother tongue. Some languages, often called auxiliary languages, are used primarily as second languages or lingua francas ....

; many immigrants are monolingual in Spanish.

Between Menorquí and standard Catalan proper, as with most Balearic dialects, the most distinctive difference is the different word used for the article "the", where Menorquí uses "es" for masculine and "sa" for feminine. Menorquí thus shares the source of its article with many Sardinian varieties (masc. sing. su, fem sing. sa), rather than the standard Catalan "el" and "la", common to other Romance languages (e.g. Spanish el, la, Italian il, la), corresponding to a form which was historically used along the Costa Brava
Costa Brava
The Costa Brava is a coastal region of northeastern Catalonia, Spain, in the comarques of Alt Empordà, Baix Empordà and Selva, in the province of Girona. Costa is the Catalan and Spanish word for 'coast', and Brava means 'rugged' or 'wild'...

 of Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

, from where it is supposed that the islands were repopulated after being conquered from the Moors
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

. Menorquí also has a few English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 loan words dating back to the British occupation such as "grevi", "xumaquer", "boinder" and "xoc" taken from "gravy", "shoemaker", "bow window" and "chalk", respectively.

Food and drink

Lingering British influence is seen in the Minorcans' taste for gin
Gin
Gin is a spirit which derives its predominant flavour from juniper berries . Although several different styles of gin have existed since its origins, it is broadly differentiated into two basic legal categories...

, which during local festes honoring towns' patron saint
Patron saint
A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

s is mixed with bitter lemon to make a golden liquid known as a Pomada. One common factor amongst in Minorca is a steady, and often extreme, imbibement of Pomada throughout the whole day. Also famous is Formatge de Maó
Mahón cheese
Mahón cheese is a soft to hard white cheese made from cow's milk, named after the natural port of Mahón on the island of Minorca off the Mediterranean coast of Spain...

, a cheese typical of the island.

Mayonnaise
Mayonnaise
Mayonnaise, , often abbreviated as mayo, is a sauce. It is a stable emulsion of oil, egg yolk and either vinegar or lemon juice, with many options for embellishment with other herbs and spices. Lecithin in the egg yolk is the emulsifier. Mayonnaise varies in color but is often white, cream, or pale...

 was brought back to France from Mahon, Minorca, after Louis-François-Armand du Plessis de Richelieu's victory over the British at the city's port in 1756.

One of the typical gastronomic products of Minorca are sweets known as flaons
Flaons
Flaons are a type of pastry made in different locations of the Eastern Iberian Peninsula, like Morella, Ibiza, Formentera, Minorca and Olot, Spain...

.

Flowers

Minorca is rich in wild flowers typical of the Mediterranean with a number of endemic species and many orchids. Most are in flower early in the year in late March, April and May.

Insects

30 species of butterflies have been recorded on Minorca and most are on the wing from March to late September. The species that occur include the Cleopatra
Gonepteryx cleopatra
Gonepteryx cleopatra is a medium sized butterfly of the family Pieridae that is native to the Mediterranean region ....

, Lang's Short Tailed Blue
Leptotes pirithous
Leptotes pirithous is a butterfly of the family Lycaenidae. It is found from southern Europe to the Himalayas and in most of Africa. Its common names are Lang's Short-tailed Blue and Common Zebra Blue...

 and the spectacular Two-tailed Pasha.


Despite not having many large wetlands dragonflies abound on Minorca. Seventeen species have been recorded including the magnificent Emperor Dragonfly.
  • list of butterflies of Minorca
  • list of dragonflies of Minorca

Reptiles and amphibians

Menorca does not have many species of reptiles or amphibians. There are three species of amphibia; Green Toad
Green Toad
Green Toad can refer to multiple species of toad:*Bufo coniferus Evergreen Toad*Bufo debilis, North American Green Toad*Bufo melanochlorus, Dark Green Toad*Bufo pseudoraddei, Swat Green Toad*Bufo retiformis, Sonoran Green Toad...

 (Bufo viridis), Marsh Frog
Marsh Frog
The Marsh Frog is the largest frog native to Europe and belongs to the family of true frogs. It is very similar in appearance to the closely related Edible Frog and Pool Frog...

 and Stripeless tree frog (Hyla meridionalis).
The common lizard seen all over the island is the Italian Wall Lizard
Italian Wall Lizard
The Italian wall lizard or Ruin lizard is a species of lizard in the Lacertidae family. P. sicula is native to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Italy, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia and Switzerland, but has also been introduced to Spain, Turkey, and the United States. P...

 (Podarcis siculus) although the Moroccan Rock Lizard
Moroccan Rock Lizard
The Moroccan Rock Lizard is a species of lizard in the Lacertidae family. Its classification is uncertain and it has been placed in the genera Teira, Podarcis, Lacerta or Scelarcis. It is found in Algeria and Morocco and has been introduced to the island of Menorca in Spain...

 (Scelaris perspicillata) also occurs. The Balearic endemic Lilford's Wall Lizard
Lilford's Wall Lizard
The Lilford's Wall Lizard is a species of lizard in the Lacertidae family.It is endemic to the Balearic Islands, Spain.Its natural habitats are temperate Mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation, rocky areas, and rocky shores...

 (Podarcis lilfordi) can be found on many of the offshore islands. Two species of Gecko
Gecko
Geckos are lizards belonging to the infraorder Gekkota, found in warm climates throughout the world. They range from 1.6 cm to 60 cm....

 can be found on Minorca, the Moorish
Moorish gecko
Tarentola mauritanica is a species of gecko native to the Western Mediterranean region of Europe and North Africa and widely introduced to North America and Asia. It is commonly observed on walls in urban environments, mainly in warm coastal areas, though it can spread inland - especially in Spain...

 (Tarentola mauritanica) and the Turkish (Hemidactylus turcicus) also called the Mediterranean House Gecko.
Four species of snake occur: the Viperine Snake (Natrix maura); Grass Snake
Grass Snake
The grass snake , sometimes called the ringed snake or water snake is a European non-venomous snake. It is often found near water and feeds almost exclusively on amphibians.-Etymology:...

; False Smooth Snake
False Smooth Snake
The false smooth snake is a species of snake in the Colubridae family.-Geographic range:It is found in Algeria, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, and Western Sahara.-Habitat:...

 (Macroprotodon cucullatus) and the Ladder Snake
Ladder Snake
The Ladder Snake is a species of snake in the Colubridae family.It is found in Peninsular Spain and Minorca, Portugal, southern France and possibly the Region of Liguria and Italy....

 (Rhinechis scalaris).

Hermann's Tortoise (Testudo hermanni) is quite common and can be found all over the island. Two terrapin species are also found, the native European pond terrapin
European pond terrapin
The European pond turtle , Emys orbicularis is a long-living freshwater species of turtle.-Geographic range:It is found in southern and central Europe, West Asia and North Africa...

 (Emys orbicularis) and the introduced American red-eared slider
Red-eared slider
The red-eared slider is a semiaquatic turtle belonging to the family Emydidae. It is a subspecies of pond slider. It is the most popular pet turtle in the United States and also popular in the rest of the world...

(Trachemys scripta).

Birds

The birdlife of Minorca is very well known. Menorca is a well watched island which is on the migration route of many species and good number of passage migrants can be seen in spring. Residents include Audouin's Gull
Audouin's Gull
The Audouin's Gull is a large gull restricted to the Mediterranean and the western coast of Saharan Africa. It breeds on small islands colonially or alone, laying 2-3 eggs on a ground nest...

, Blue Rock Thrush
Blue Rock Thrush
The Blue Rock Thrush is a species of chat. This thrush-like Old World flycatcher was formerly placed in the family Turdidae....

, and Thekla Lark
Thekla Lark
The Thekla Lark, Galerida theklae, breeds in Iberia, northern Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal to Somalia. It is a sedentary species....

. Booted eagle
Booted Eagle
The Booted Eagle is a medium-sized bird of prey. It is about in length and has a wingspan of . Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae....

 and Red Kite
Red Kite
The Red Kite is a medium-large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as eagles, buzzards, and harriers. The species is currently endemic to the Western Palearctic region in Europe and northwest Africa, though formerly also occurred just...

 are easy to see as is Egyptian Vulture
Egyptian Vulture
The Egyptian Vulture is a small Old World vulture, found widely distributed from southwestern Europe and northern Africa to southern Asia. It is the only living member of the genus Neophron. It has sometimes also been known as the White Scavenger Vulture or Pharaoh's Chicken...

 in the right habitat. In summer you get Bee-eaters and Minorca has major colonies of Cory's Shearwater
Cory's Shearwater
The Cory's Shearwater is a large shearwater in the seabird family Procellariidae.This species breeds on islands and cliffs in the Mediterranean, with the odd outpost on the Atlantic coast of Iberia. The nest is on open ground or among rocks or less often in a burrow where one white egg is laid,...

 and Balearic Shearwater
Balearic Shearwater
The Balearic Shearwater is a medium-sized shearwater in the seabird family Procellariidae. It was long regarded a subspecies of the Manx Shearwater; see there for more on the Puffinus puffinus superspecies; following an initial split it was held to be a subspecies of the "Mediterranean Shearwater"...

.

Mammals

Minorca does not have any large mammals, apart from humans. There are some small mammals including Rabbits, Rats, Mice, Pine Marten
Pine Marten
The European Pine Marten , known most commonly as the pine marten in Anglophone Europe, and less commonly also known as Pineten, baum marten, or sweet marten, is an animal native to Northern Europe belonging to the mustelid family, which also includes mink, otter, badger, wolverine and weasel. It...

 and the North African sub-species of Hedgehog
Hedgehog
A hedgehog is any of the spiny mammals of the subfamily Erinaceinae and the order Erinaceomorpha. There are 17 species of hedgehog in five genera, found through parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, and New Zealand . There are no hedgehogs native to Australia, and no living species native to the Americas...

.

Municipalities

The major towns are Maó
Mao
, is a Japanese remake of the Korean suspense drama series titled Ma Wang which aired on KBS 2TV in 2007. The drama stars Satoshi Ohno of Arashi and Toma Ikuta, both under the talent agency Johnny & Associates.-Synopsis:...

 and Ciutadella
Ciutadella
Ciutadella de Menorca or simply Ciutadella is a town and a municipality in the western end of Minorca, one of the Balearic Islands . The name means "citadel". It is one of the two main cities in the island, along with Maó.-History:...

. The island is administratively divided into eight municipalities (from west to east):
  • Ciutadella de Menorca - previously the capital of Minorca
  • Ferreries
    Ferreries
    Ferreries is a municipality on the island of Minorca, in the Spanish autonomous community of the Balearic Islands. Its name is derived from the Catalan word ferrer , which in turn, comes from Latin word ferrum.- External links :* *...

  • Es Mercadal
    Es Mercadal
    Es Mercadal is a town and municipality in northern Minorca in the Spanish Balearic Islands.- Etymology :The name "Es Mercadal" derives from the Latin language mercatum, meaning "market"...

     - Virtual tour through Es Mercadal
    • Fornells
      Fornells
      Fornells may refer to:* Fornells, Minorca* Fornells, Catalonia...

      , which belongs to the municipality of Es Mercadal. Famous for its lobster stew
      Lobster stew
      Lobster stew is a Minorcan dish. The lobster is added to a sofrito, onion, tomato, garlic and parsley and boiled, and is eaten with thin slices of bread...

      . - Virtual tour through Fornells
  • Es Migjorn Gran
    Es Migjorn Gran
    Es Migjorn Gran is a small municipality in southern Minorca in the Spanish Balearic Islands.It is the hometown of Joan Riudavets, the oldest Spanish citizen on record....

     (or Es Mitjorn Gran) - hometown of Joan Riudavets
    Joan Riudavets
    Joan Riudavets Moll was a Spanish supercentenarian and at the time of his death, was believed to be the oldest verified person ever in the history of Spain. However, subsequent research by the International Database on Longevity has revealed that there were two anonymous women who were older than...

    .
  • Alaior
    Alaior
    Alaior is a municipality on the island of Minorca, in the Balearic Islands, Spain. It is situated 12 km from the capital, Maó...

    • Cala En Porter
      Cala En Porter
      Cala En Porter is a village in the Alaior municipality of Minorca. It is located on the island's south coast....

       - a tourist and residential area
  • Maó
    Mao
    , is a Japanese remake of the Korean suspense drama series titled Ma Wang which aired on KBS 2TV in 2007. The drama stars Satoshi Ohno of Arashi and Toma Ikuta, both under the talent agency Johnny & Associates.-Synopsis:...

     (Catalán Maó, Spanish Mahón) - became the capital during the British domination thanks to its strategic natural harbour.
    • Llucmassanes a small hamlet
      Hamlet (place)
      A hamlet is usually a rural settlement which is too small to be considered a village, though sometimes the word is used for a different sort of community. Historically, when a hamlet became large enough to justify building a church, it was then classified as a village...

       which belongs to the municipality of Maó.
    • Sant Climent which belongs to the municipality of Maó.
  • Es Castell
    Es Castell
    Es Castell is a small municipality in eastern Minorca in the Balearic Islands, Spain. The town was founded in 1771 by British Col. Patrick Mackellar and was originally called Georgetown in honour of King George III, however it takes its current name from the large fort nearby, known to the British...

      Founded by the British and originally named as Georgetown.
  • Sant Lluís
    Sant Lluís
    Sant Lluís is a municipality on the tip of south-east Minorca in the Spanish Balearic Islands.- External links :...

     Founded by the French.


The areas and populations of the municipalities (according to the Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Spain) are:
Municipality Area in
square kms.
Census Population
1 November 2001
Estimated Population
1 January 2010
Ciutadella de Menorca 186.3 23,103 29,247
Ferreries
Ferreries
Ferreries is a municipality on the island of Minorca, in the Spanish autonomous community of the Balearic Islands. Its name is derived from the Catalan word ferrer , which in turn, comes from Latin word ferrum.- External links :* *...

66.1 4,048 4,620
Es Mercadal
Es Mercadal
Es Mercadal is a town and municipality in northern Minorca in the Spanish Balearic Islands.- Etymology :The name "Es Mercadal" derives from the Latin language mercatum, meaning "market"...

138.3 3,089 5,398
Es Migjorn Gran
Es Migjorn Gran
Es Migjorn Gran is a small municipality in southern Minorca in the Spanish Balearic Islands.It is the hometown of Joan Riudavets, the oldest Spanish citizen on record....

31.4 1,167 1,539
Alaior
Alaior
Alaior is a municipality on the island of Minorca, in the Balearic Islands, Spain. It is situated 12 km from the capital, Maó...

109.9 7,108 9,399
Maó
Mao
, is a Japanese remake of the Korean suspense drama series titled Ma Wang which aired on KBS 2TV in 2007. The drama stars Satoshi Ohno of Arashi and Toma Ikuta, both under the talent agency Johnny & Associates.-Synopsis:...

117.2 23,315 29,050
Es Castell
Es Castell
Es Castell is a small municipality in eastern Minorca in the Balearic Islands, Spain. The town was founded in 1771 by British Col. Patrick Mackellar and was originally called Georgetown in honour of King George III, however it takes its current name from the large fort nearby, known to the British...

11.7 6,424 7,926
Sant Lluís
Sant Lluís
Sant Lluís is a municipality on the tip of south-east Minorca in the Spanish Balearic Islands.- External links :...

34.8 3,270 7,204
Totals 695.7 71,524 94,383

See also

  • Gymnesian Islands
    Gymnesian Islands
    The collective name of the Gymnesian Islands or Gymnesic Islands distinguishes the two largest Balearic islands , from the Pine Islands .- Etymology :The word Gymnesian means "naked"...

  • Manûrqa
    Manûrqa
    Manûrqa was the Arabicized name given to the island of Minorca by the Muslims from its annexation to the Caliphate of Cordoba by 'Isâm al-Khawlânî in 903 until the rule of the last Muslim ra'îs, Abû 'Umar ibn Sa'îd in 1287. The only urban centre of the island was Madînat al Jazîra or al Manûrqa...

  • Roman Catholic Diocese of Menorca
  • List of butterflies of Menorca
  • List of dragonflies of Menorca

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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