Balearic Islands

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Coordinates: 39 ° 30 '  N , 3 ° 0'  E

Islas Baleares  ( Spanish )
Illes Balears  ( Catalan )
Balearic Islands
coat of arms
flag coat of arms
Kanarische Inseln Portugal Andorra Frankreich Vereinigtes Königreich Marokko Algerien Galicien Asturien Kantabrien Baskenland Navarra La Rioja Aragonien Kastilien und León Katalonien Madrid Kastilien-La Mancha Valencianische Gemeinschaft Balearische Inseln Extremadura Andalusien Murcia Kastilien und León Ceuta Melillamap
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Basic data
Country : SpainSpain Spain
Capital : Palma
Area : 4,992  km²
Residents : 1,149,460  (January 1, 2019)
Population density : 230.3 inhabitants / km²
Expansion: North – South: approx. 77.4 km
West – East: approx. 96.1 km
Time zone : UTC +1
ISO 3166-2 : ES-IB
Website :
Politics and administration
Official language : Spanish
and Catalan
Autonomy since: March 1, 1983
President : Francina Armengol ( PSOE-PSIB )
Representation in the
Cortes Generales :
Congress : 8 seats
Senate : 5 directly, 2 indirectly elected seats
Structure : 3 semi-autonomous areas,
67 parishes

The Balearic Islands ( Catalan Illes Balears , Spanish Islas Baleares ) or Balearic Islands are an archipelago in the western Mediterranean and an autonomous community of Spain .

In addition to the gymnastic islands of Mallorca , Menorca and Cabrera , the autonomous community also includes the Pityuses with Ibiza and Formentera .

In addition to these five inhabited islands, the Autonomous Community of the Balearic Islands also includes 146 uninhabited islands. They include the under nature conservation standing rocky islands Dragonera and Pantaleu . The largest island is Mallorca with 3,603,716 square kilometers.

The name of the archipelago is derived from the ancient Greek βάλλειν bállein "throw", which means the slingshots Els Foners Balears , Greek Baliarides , of the islands who were hired out as mercenaries in the theaters of war in antiquity.


The mountainous archipelago of the Balearic Islands (highest mountain: Puig Major , 1445 meters) is about 90 to 200 km east or southeast of the Iberian Peninsula in the western Mediterranean. The three large main islands Ibiza , Mallorca and Menorca are lined up for almost 300 kilometers along a southwest-northeast axis. The Balearic Sea , which is more than 2000 meters deep, stretches between the archipelago and the Catalan mainland , whereas the strait between Ibiza and Cabo de la Nao ( Valencia ) is not much deeper than 1000 meters.

island location image flag
Mallorca Localització de Mallorca.png Mallorca.jpg Flag of Mallorca.svg
Menorca Localització de Menorca.png Menorca.jpg Bandera de Menorca.svg
Ibiza Localització d'Eivissa.png Ibiza.jpg Ibiza flag.svg
Formentera Localització de Formentera.png Ibiza.jpg Bandera de Formentera.svg
Cabrera Localització de Cabrera.png Archipiélago de Cabrera.jpg Flag of Mallorca.svg


From a geological point of view, the Balearic Islands are the eastern extension of the Betic Cordillera . You can therefore be assigned to the Iberian small plate. The local geology of the Balearic Islands is strongly influenced by the alpine mountain formation . In the Oligocene - about 30 million years ago - the Betic Orogen experienced its main uplift phase. Subsequently, from the turn of the Oligocene- Miocene , the Balearic Islands were torn off from the Iberian plate by expansion tectonics , and today's geographical situation emerged. The rift valley between the northwestern edge of the island chain and the Spanish mainland is known as the Valencia Trough (Spanish: Surco de Valencia ). It is the geological equivalent of the Balearic Sea . On Menorca, Devonian and Carboniferous rocks are the oldest rocks of the Balearic Islands, which were already folded during the Variscan mountain range .



The native population of the Balearic Islands is believed to have immigrated from the Iberian Peninsula or what is now southern France or was crossed by ship; the first traces of human settlements date from the 4th millennium BC. The first human find comes from Iberian steppe nomads and is dated to around 2400 BC. Dated. Individual culture phases, including the talayotic , have now been well researched.


In ancient times, the islands were called Balearides or Gymnesiae , including the islands of Mallorca (Balearis major) and Menorca (Balearis minor). They were first dependent on the Phoenicians . The inhabitants (Balearici) distinguished themselves as warriors through their skill in hurling with lead bullets pointed at two ends and served in large numbers in the Carthaginian and later in the Roman armies .

The inhabitants aroused the wrath of the Romans by pirating undertakings ; the consul Quintus Caecilius Metellus , later "Balearicus", conquered it in 123 BC. And settled there Romanized southern Spaniards who founded the cities of Palma and Polentia on Mallorca.

In 425 AD the Vandals under Gunderich took possession of the islands; after the destruction of the Vandal Empire , they were part of the Byzantine province of Spania .

middle Ages

Since the middle of the 8th century, the Franconian Empire exercised a kind of protectorate over the islands, which had largely become politically independent again, and at the beginning of the 10th century they were incorporated into the Caliphate of Cordoba .

Mallorca and Ibiza were conquered in 1229 and 1235 respectively under Jacob I of Aragón ( Jaume I in Catalan ), Menorca under his descendant Alfons III. The Balearic Islands, like Catalonia , now belonged to the Aragon Crown . At times they formed, together with parts of Catalonia, an independent state ruled by a branch line of the Aragonese royal family, the Kingdom of Mallorca . In 1344 Peter IV of Aragón conquered the kingdom of Mallorca. Now the islands were reunited with the ancestral lands of the dynasty. With the union of the crowns of Aragon and Castile , they eventually became part of the Spanish monarchy.

18th century

In 1708 Maó was conquered by the British. The Peace of Utrecht (1713), which ended the War of the Spanish Succession , gave Menorca to the British Empire. This had to return the island to Spain in the Treaty of Versailles (1783), but it remained under British occupation until 1802.

19th and 20th centuries

In 1833 the Spanish province of the Balearic Islands was founded. Towards the end of the 19th century, there were beginnings of a regional independence movement, which, however, could not consolidate. Autonomy status was proposed for the province as early as 1931, but it was not granted until 1983, after the end of the Franco dictatorship. On March 1, 1983, the Statute of Autonomy for the Balearic Islands came into force. On the occasion of this event, March 1st was declared a public holiday as Dia de les Illes Balears .

21st century

In the course of the euro crisis , the autonomous regions of Spain have been in the public focus in Spain and in other countries of the euro zone , the EU and the IMF since around 2011 . In 2012, the Catalonia region announced that it wanted to become more independent from Spain. Like the Balearic Islands, the Catalonia region is relatively wealthy and yet relatively highly indebted. On October 19, 2012, it was announced that the Balearic Islands had applied to the central government in Madrid for an aid loan from their aid fund (Fondo de Liquidez Autonómica) in the amount of 355 million euros. Before the Balearic Islands, six of the 17 regions had already asked for help, namely Catalonia , Andalusia , Valencia , Castile-La Mancha , the Canary Islands and Murcia . Soon after, Asturias was the eighth country to do so . The aid fund for financially weak regions comprises a total of 18 billion euros. More than 90 percent of the funds would be used up with the requests for assistance so far.



The population amounts to 1,149,460 people (as of 2019), which corresponds to a little more than 2.3% of the total Spanish population. Around 79% of them, 869,067 inhabitants, are by far the largest island of Mallorca. The Balearic Islands are quite densely populated by Spanish standards. The population density of 230.3 inhabitants per square kilometer is more than twice as high as the national average (83 inh. / Km²) and also considerable compared to the European Union (119 inh. / Km²). In addition, there are around ten million tourists who visit the Balearic Islands every year. The majority of them, around nine million, travel exclusively to the island of Mallorca. 167,751 foreigners are resident in the Balearic Islands, which corresponds to 16.8% of the total population.

Population development of the province

German population shares

According to the population survey from 2006, 26,293 Germans with residence in the Balearic Islands were officially registered (for comparison: 17,637 British). They make up around 16% of all foreigners living in the Balearic Islands and around 31% of immigrants from Europe. Taking into account the seasonally inhabited second homes, it is even assumed that more than 60,000 Germans actually live permanently or temporarily in the Balearic Islands, around 80% of them in Mallorca.


The official languages ​​of the Balearic Islands are Spanish (castellano) and Catalan (català) according to Article 3 of the Statute of Autonomy . At the same time, there is a prohibition of discrimination with regard to the use of one of these languages ​​and a subsidy requirement to create the conditions for learning and using both languages. In addition, there are island-specific dialects of Catalan such as Mallorcan , Menorcan and Ibizan , which are sometimes summarized under the name Balearic .

The last survey by the regional government on language usage was a sample survey in 2003, which was aimed at people aged 15 and over. When asked about the mother tongue, 47.7% said Spanish, 42.6% Catalan, 1.8% both and 7.9% of respondents said neither. Furthermore, 93.1% of the respondents stated that they understood Catalan, 74.6% spoke it, 79.6% read it and 46.9% could write it.


The Balearic Islands have 394 schools, 263 of which are publicly owned. 112 schools are contract schools and 20 schools are purely private schools. Around 150,000 students were taught in the 2002/03 school year. There are also 17 adult education centers in the Balearic Islands.

In addition to the National University for Distance Learning (UNED), the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB) in particular offers a wide range of training in natural sciences and humanities. In the 2002/2003 academic year, 14,323 students were enrolled in 15 different subject areas at the UIB. The Hotel Management School of the Balearic Islands has also been located on the UIB site in Palma since 1995 .




Location of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean
Topographic map with Algerian coast

The Balearic Islands are partially autonomous as one of the 17 autonomous communities (comunidades autónomas) of Spain. As a common institution, the Balearic Islands have a parliament, a government (Govern) and a president of the autonomous community. The administration of the individual islands is the responsibility of the respective island councils (consells insulars) . The four large inhabited islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Formentera) have their own island council, Formentera only since 2007. Cabrera with only 20 inhabitants belongs administratively to the municipality of Palma on the largest island of Mallorca. The lower administrative level is formed by the 67 municipalities with their administrative seat (municipis) , each of which has a municipal council.

The main competencies of the Autonomous Community are education and health. She also has responsibilities u. a. in the areas of environmental protection, tourism, social affairs, industry, trade and energy supply, their competencies can be found in Articles 30 to 38 of the Statute of Autonomy. According to Art. 33 there is also the possibility of forming a separate police force (Policía Autonómica), which has not yet been implemented.

Political institutions

houses of Parliament

The parliament represents the people of the Balearic Islands, exercises the legislative power, adopts the budget, elects the president and controls the government. In addition, the parliament elects a speaker from among its members. The elections are secret and follow the principle of proportional representation. The electoral term is four years. The first elections to the Parliament of the Balearic Islands took place on May 8, 1983. The winner at that time was the Partido Popular (PP).


The president de les Illes Balears is elected by Parliament from among its members and then appointed by the King (Art. 54 of the Statute of Autonomy). The President appoints and dismisses the members of the government, directs and coordinates government policy and is the highest representative of the autonomous community to the outside world, as the representative of the Spanish state in the Balearic Islands.

Francina Armengol ( PSOE-PSIB ) has been President of the Autonomous Community since July 2, 2015 . It is based on a joint coalition of PSOE-PSIB, Podemos and MÉS.


In accordance with the Statute of Autonomy, the executive branch of the Balearic Islands is formed by the Govern de les Illes Balears , who is a collegial body made up of the President, possibly a Vice-President and the councilors or ministerial consellers . The work processes and organizational structures within the government are regulated by the Parliament Act. The Govern draws up the budget and, in order to carry out his administrative tasks, has the authority to issue norms, i.e. statutory ordinances, and administrative acts, which are published in the Butlletí Oficial de les Illes Baleares .

Island Councils

The consells insulars of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera are supposed to protect and represent the independence of the respective islands and their special interests. A catalog of tasks was laid down in Art. 70 and 71 of the Statute of Autonomy and in this respect guarantees them a number of administrative responsibilities with regard to the local community. Formentera consists of only one municipality and there the consell insular is also the municipal council.

The construction sector in particular falls within the competence of consells insulars . You are responsible for land use, urban and road construction. The highways, which were financed by the central government in Madrid, are an exception to the road construction. Further tasks of the island councils are the waste disposal, the protection of minors, the operation of old people's homes and the administration of the Spanish TÜV .

Largest communities

Reservoirs in Mallorca
Port in Menorca
Cala Mandia in Mallorca
Bay of the sea in Ibiza
local community Spanish name Residents
(January 1, 2019)
Palma Palma de Mallorca 416.065 Mallorca
Calvià Calviá 50,559 Mallorca
Eivissa Ibiza 49,783 Ibiza
Manacor Manacor 43,808 Mallorca
Llucmajor Lluchmayor 36,914 Mallorca
Marratxí Marrachí 37.193 Mallorca
Santa Eulària des Riu Santa Eulalia del Río 38.015 Ibiza
Inca Inca 33,319 Mallorca
Ciutadella Ciudadela 29,840 Menorca
Maó Mahón 29,040 Menorca
Sant Josep de sa Talaia San Jose 27,413 Ibiza
Sant Antoni de Portmany San Antonio Abad 26,306 Ibiza
Alcúdia Alcudia 20,241 Mallorca
Felanitx Felanich 17,780 Mallorca
Pollença Pollensa 16,283 Mallorca
He shall He shall 13,705 Mallorca
Santanyí Santañy 12,237 Mallorca
Sa Pobla La Puebla 13,475 Mallorca
Son Servera Son Cervera 11,568 Mallorca
Andratx Andraitx 11,271 Mallorca
Capdepera Capdepera 11,868 Mallorca


The expansion of the tourism industry was accompanied by a strong increase in the economic power of the Balearic Islands. The per capita income of the inhabitants of the Balearic Islands is one of the highest in Spain and is around 110% of the national average. Compared with the gross domestic product of the EU expressed in purchasing power standards reached the region in 2015, an index of 93 (EU-28: 100).

The unemployment rate in 2005 was 7.2%. As in the rest of Spain, it rose sharply during the financial crisis from 2007 onwards. In 2017 the unemployment rate was 12.4%.

By far the largest share of added value was generated by the service sector, according to statistics from 2005, at around 81%, with the tourism sector accounting for 48% (EUR 11.420 million). This is the highest rate of any Autonomous Community in Spain. Around 76.5% of local businesses and 73.4% of the working population were in the service sector. The main employment factor is tourism with a total accommodation capacity of over 410,000 places. In 2007, 13.27 million tourists visited the Balearic Islands, 5.5% more than in the previous year. 29.4% (3.9 million) of the tourists came from Germany. Overall, the number of tourists has increased by 95.1% since 1993 (6.8 million). About 39.5% of the island's employees received their income directly from tourism in the high season and 31.5% in the low season.

The construction industry in particular has benefited from the increase in tourism. Along with the strong population growth due to immigration from other parts of Spain, the demand for residential buildings increased significantly. There are now over half a million residential units in the Balearic Islands. The share of the construction industry in total value added was around 10.4% in 2005, and the share of companies active in this area was 16.3%.

From around 2002 to 2007 there was a real estate bubble in the Balearic Islands (as in all of Spain) .

The industrial sector was predominantly characterized by small and medium-sized companies that mainly manufacture consumer goods such as shoes, costume jewelry, leather goods and textiles, not least for export. A considerable part of the industrial exports went to the machine and metal goods product lines. In 2005, the industrial sector accounted for around 7.5% of the total value added in the Balearic Islands, with 6.2% of the number of companies in the companies operating here. The share of the agricultural sector in the gross domestic product was 1.1% with 0.9% of the resident companies.

power supply

See also


  • Claude-Marie Carrère: Balearic Islands . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages (LexMA). Volume 1, Artemis & Winkler, Munich / Zurich 1980, ISBN 3-7608-8901-8 , Sp. 1376-1379.
  • Maria de la Pau Janer (Ed.): Language, literature and culture of the Balearic Islands / Llengua, literatura i cultura de les Illes Balears . (Files of the 2nd joint colloquium of German-speaking Lusitan Studies and Catalan Studies: 2, Catalan Part; Vol. 1 / Catalan Studies; Vol. 3) DEE Domus Ed. Europaea, Frankfurt am Main 1994, ISBN 3-927884-38-3

Web links

Commons : Balearic Islands  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Balearic Islands  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Cifras oficiales de población resultantes de la revisión del Padrón municipal a 1 de enero . Population statistics from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (population update).
  2. ^ Wilhelm Gemoll : Greek-German school and hand dictionary . Munich / Vienna 1965.
  3. Frank Westenfelder: The lightly armed. Underrated specialists., accessed on January 29, 2013 .
  4. AB Watts, M. Torné: Subsidence history, crustal structure, and thermal evolution of the Valencia Trough: A young extensional basin in the western Mediterranean. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. Vol. 97, No. B13, 1992, pp. 20021-20041, doi: 10.1029 / 92JB00583
  5. ^ Daniel M. Fernandes et al .: The spread of steppe and Iranian-related ancestry in the islands of the western Mediterranean. Nature , February 4, 2020 (English, abstract).;
  7. Kölner Stadtanzeiger October 19, 2012: Mallorca asks for millions in aid
  8. Govern de les Illes Balears - Direcció General de Política Lingüística, Enquesta Sociolingüística 2003. (PDF) (Catalan) . Retrieved January 20, 2015 .
  9. Cifras oficiales de población resultantes de la revisión del Padrón municipal a 1 de enero . Population statistics from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (population update).
  10. Eurostat. Retrieved April 15, 2018 .
  11. Michal MLADÝ: GENERAL AND REGIONAL STATISTICS POPULATION AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS ( Memento from September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), 1/2006 (PDF 266kB)
  12. Unemployment rate, by NUTS 2 regions. Retrieved November 5, 2018 .
  13. a b c d e The Balearic Islands , supplement to the “Mallorca Zeitung”, June 2008, Hora Nova SA, page 36
  14. "Mallorca Magazin - Special Berlin", June 2008, page 6 (information from the statistical yearbook)
  15. ^ Richard Haimann: Investments: Vacation properties have fallen dramatically in price . In: THE WORLD . July 9, 2009 ( [accessed April 11, 2020]).