Palma de Mallorca’s rich and complex history

Palma’s stunning cathedral is now open to the public Credit: EWN

Palma de Mallorca, the capital city of the Balearic Islands, boasts a rich and vibrant history.

From humble beginnings as a Roman settlement to its current status as a buzzing cosmopolitan centre, Palma offers a fascinating journey through time.

The island’s earliest inhabitants arrived around 1300 BC, leaving behind archaeological remains. However, Palma’s documented history begins with the Roman conquest in 123 BC. They established a military camp on the site of a pre-existing Talayotic settlement, laying the foundation for the city we see today.

Fall of the Roman Empire

Following the fall of the Roman Empire, Palma endured centuries of raids and transitions. Vandals, Byzantines, and finally, the Moors left their mark on the city’s architecture and culture. The Moors renamed the city Medina Mayurqa and transformed it into a major trading centre.

The Kingdom of Mallorca

In 1229, James I of Aragon, also known as James the Conqueror, reconquered the island for Christianity. This marked a pivotal moment in Palma’s history. The city was renamed Palma and became the capital of the newly formed Kingdom of Mallorca. Grand Gothic buildings like the Palma Cathedral and Bellver Castle were constructed during this period, reflecting the city’s growing importance.

The 18th and 19th centuries brought further change. The decline of the Kingdom of Mallorca and the rise of the Spanish monarchy saw Palma integrated into a larger national identity.  However, the city kept its unique character. 

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Written by

Trelawney Bresic

Trelawney is a journalist and screenwriter. She began her career at the Euro Weekly News twenty years ago and is passionate about honest and compelling journalism. If you have a news story, don't hestitate to get in touch at