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Palma De Mallorca

PALMA DE MALLORCA. or simply Palma, the capital of the Spanish province of the Balearic Islands, the residence of a captaingeneral, an episcopal see, and a flourishing seaport, situated 135 m. S.S.E. of Barcelona, on the south-west coast of Majorca, at the head of the fine Bay of Palma, which stretches inland for about 10 m. between Capes CalaFiguera and Regana. Pop. (1900), 63,937i including a colony of Jews converted to Christianity (Chuclas). Palma is the meeting place of all the highways in the island, and the terminus of the railway to Inca, Manacor, and Alcudia. The ramparts, which enclose the city on all sides except towards the port (where they were demolished in 1872), have a circuit of a little more than 4 m. Though begun in 1562, they were not finished till 1836. Palma underwent considerable change in the 19th century, and the fine old-world Moorish character of the place suffered accordingly. The more conspicuous buildings are the cathedral, the exchange, the royal palace, now occupied by the captain-general, and the law courts, the episcopal palace, a handsome late Renaissance building (1616), the general hospital (1456), the town-house (end of the 16th century), the picture gallery, and the college. The church of San Francisco is interesting for the tomb of Raimon Lull, a native of Palma. The cathedral was erected and dedicated to the Virgin by King James I. of Aragon as he sailed to the conquest of Majorca; but, though founded in 1230, it was not finished till 1601. The older and more interesting portions are the royal chapel (r232), with the marble sarcophagus of James II. (d. 131 1) which was erected here in 1770; and the south front with the elaborately-sculptured doorway known as df/ wuVjrfor (1389). The exchange (lonja), a Gothic building begun in 1426, excited the admiration of the emperor Charles V. Palma has a seminary founded in 1700, a collection of archives dating from the 14th century, a school and museum of fine arts, a nautical school and an institute founded in 1836 to replace the old university (1503).

The harbour, formed by a mole constructed to a length of 387 yds. in the 14th century and afterwards extended to more than 650 yds., has been greatly improved since 1S75 by dredging and a further addition to the mole of 136 yds. Previously it was not accessible to vessels drawing more than 18 ft. Palma has frequent and regular communication by steamer with Barcelona, Valencia and Alicante, Puertopi, about 2 m. southwest of the city, was once a good harl)our, but is now fit only for small craft. Palma has a thriving trade in grain, wine, oil, almonds, fruit, vegctaljles, silk, foodstuffs and Uvestock. There are manufactures of alcohol, hqueurs, chocolate, starch, sugar, preserves, flour, soap, leather, earthenware, glass, matches, paper, linen, woollen goods and rugs.

Palma probably owes, if not its existence, at least its name (symboHzed on the Roman coins by a palm branch), to Metellus Balearicus, who in 123 B.C. settled three thousand Roman and Spanish colonists on the island. The bishopric dates from the 14th century. About i m. south-west of Palma is the castle of Bcllver or Belbez, the ancient residence of the kings of Majorca. Miramar, the beautiful country seat of the archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria, is 12 m. north of Palma.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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