MAJORCA (Mallorca), the largest of the group of Spanish islands in the Mediterranean Sea known as the Balearic Islands (q.v.). Pop. (1900), 248,191; area, 430 sq. m. Majorca has the shape of a trapezoid, with the angles directed to the cardinal points; and its diagonal, from Cape Grozer in the west to Cape Pera in the east, is about 60 m. On the north-west the coast is precipitous, but on the other sides it is low and sloping. On the north-east there are several considerable bays, of which the chief are those of Alcudia and Pollensa; while on the southwest is the still more important bay of Palma. No fewer than twelve ports or harbours are enumerated round the island, of which may be mentioned Andraitx and Seller. In the northwest Majorca is traversed by a chain of mountains running parallel with the coast, and attaining its highest elevation in Silla de Torrellas (5154 ft.). Towards the south and east the surface is comparatively level, though broken by isolated peaks of considerable height. The northern mountains afford great protection to the tfst of the island from the violent gales to which it would otherwise be exposed, and render the climate remarkably mild and pleasant. The scenery of Majorca has all the picturesqueness of outline that usually belongs to a limestone formation. Some of the valleys, such as those of Valdemosa and Seller, with their luxuriant vegetation, are delightful resorts. There are quarries of marble of various grains and colours those near Santafiy, in the district of Manacor, being especially celebrated; while lead, iron and cinnabar have also been obtained. Coal of a jet-like character is found at Benisalem, where it was first worked in 1836; at Selva, where it has been mined since 1851; near Santa Maria and elsewhere. It is used in the industrial establishments of Palma, and in the manufacture of lime, plaster and bricks near the mines. A considerable quantity is also exported to Barcelona.
The inhabitants are principally devoted to agriculture, and most of the arable land is cultivated. The mountains are terraced; and the old pine woods have in many places given way to the olive, the vine and the almond tree, to fields of wheat and flax, or to orchards of figs and oranges. For the last-mentioned fruits the valley of S611er is one of the most important districts, the produce being largely transmitted to France. The yield of oil is very considerable, and Inca is the centre of the oil disii t. The wines are light but excellent, especially the Muscadel ind Montona. During the summer there is often great scarcity at water; but, according to a system handed down by the Moors, the niins of autumn and winter are collected in enormous reservoirs, which contain sufficient water to last through the dry season; and on the payment of a certain rate, each landholder has his fields flooded at certain intervals. Mules are used i the agriculture and traffic of the island. The cattle are small, but the sheep are large and well fleeced. Pigs are reared for export to Barcelona, and there is abundance of poultry and small game. Brandy is made and exported in large quantities. Excellent woollen and linen cloths are woven; the silkworm is reared and its produce manufactured; and canvas, rope and cord are largely made, from both native and foreign materials.
The roads are excellent, the four principal being those from Alcudia, Manacor, Seller and Andraitx to the capital. Fortyeight miles of railway were open at the beginning of the 20th century. The main line runs from Palma to Manacor and Alcudia. The telegraphic system is fairly complete, and there is regular steam communication with Barcelona and Alicante. The principal towns include besides Palma (63,937), Felanitx (11,294) and Manacor (12,408), which are described in separate articles Andraitx (6516), Inca (7579), Llummayor (8859), Pollensa (8308), Santany (6692) and Seller (8026).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)